The advantages of mobile response marketing have long been trumpeted, but the reality of its results have never quite caught up to the hype of its promise.
Five years ago, when we were just starting out, I remember people arguing (quite convincingly, I might add) that just as every advertisement at the time had the company’s URL displayed on it, so too would they eventually have a mobile response mechanism (text code, QR tag, whatever) displayed on the ad as well. It made perfect sense. The mobile phone was supposed to bridge the yawning gap between so-called “traditional media” (broadcast mediums such as print, TV, radio, out-of-home) and “new media”, allowing consumers to react and respond to traditional marketing in new and engaging ways, thereby making these media more interactive, responsive and measurable. As a marketer, why would you not do it – why not slap a mobile response mechanism onto every ad you have, even if just to see what happens?
I disagreed with the approach then, and five years and many, many campaigns later, I still disagree with it – except now, I have a lot more people on my side. The fact is that the mobile component to your ad cannot be an afterthought – it has to be integrated into the overall campaign right from the beginning, and integrated in intelligently. Do any less and you risk receiving fewer responses – or worse, providing a sub-par experience for those that did respond.
It is with this in mind that I developed the three P’s of Mobile Response Marketing – a simple set of considerations for clients to think through as they develop their mobile-enabled marketing campaigns. Individually, each of the three aspects below has a significant impact on both the number of responses a campaign will receive, as well as on the overall experience for a campaign participant, but to be truly successful you have to tackle all three in conjunction, for they are interrelated.
First and foremost marketers need to consider what it is they wish to provide a consumer who responds to their marketing with their mobile phone. Put more bluntly, what is it that I as a consumer will get when I scan your tag or text a keyword? Is it just a link to your website? Information on a topic of interest? A video that plays on my phone? A free sample?
Users need to be rewarded for their actions, and the better the promise, the more results you are likely to receive. Nothing beats free, so if you are giving away a freebie (a product sample, a ringtone, a wallpaper) or holding a sweepstakes with a big prize, you’re going to get good results. Discount coupons also do well, as does video content. Also, additional related information that the user may value but is not contained in the messaging also generally provides good results – for example, texting to get the shopping list for a recipe that’s been printed, or scanning a tag to get the location of the nearest store for a product.
The more pertinent a particular mobile response is to the overall messaging, the better the response. By pertinence I mean that there should be a natural association between the advertising and the response, thereby increasing the likelihood that the user will “follow through” and request a mobile response. Examples of campaigns with good pertinence include ads for movies that allow readers to scan a tag to watch the trailer on their phone; or editorial recipes that provide users with a discount coupon for an item required by the recipe.
Good pertinence requires a holistic approach to the entire campaign, in integrating mobile into the campaign right from the beginning and thinking through exactly what the linkage should be between the message and the medium.
This is usually the one that falls by the wayside most often, and usually in the face of some creative director at an agency who can’t stand the thought of having his or her “beautiful ad hideously disfigured” by a mobile call to action (that’s a real quote by the way). Of course, an advertisement is not a piece of art – it can be, but first and foremost it is a sales vehicle – something that many creative directors are loath to admit to themselves. It;s simple really: the more prominent your call to action is on the page, the more likely it is that someone will respond. If you hide it in one small corner of the page and treat it like an afterthought and (as most do), do not be surprised if your consumers treat it exactly the same way too.