By Beecher Tuttle
The influx of smartphones, tablets and next-generation networks has created a number of new ways for brands and marketing agencies to reach consumers. Unfortunately, many of today's mobile marketing techniques fail to engage consumers, who often find the advertisements to be bothersome, intrusive and unrelated to their interests.
One innovative and effective way to bridge this gap is a strategy called permission-based mobile marketing, a targeted advertising technique that changes the marketing paradigm by creating a dialogue with consumers, rather than an invasive, one-sided monologue.
The basic premise of permission-based mobile marketing is rather simple: users opt-in and give their consent for brands to send them targeted, preference-based marketing materials for products and services that they are interested in. If executed properly, a permission-based mobile marketing strategy can create value for brands, agencies, consumers and mobile network operators.
A recent white paper, Building Permission Based Mobile Marketing, authored by the Mobile Marketing Association and its Task Force members, including Alcatel-Lucent, Vodafone and other major players in the telecom space, details permission-based mobile marketing, how it works and the benefits that it can bring to all parties involved.
The strength of the marketing technique relies on the fact that mobile devices are now near-ubiquitous. In addition, the mobile platform is currently made up of multiple, flexible channels including messaging, browsing, apps and proximity channels. Needless to say, the mobile platform offers advertisers an expansive field to play with.
Taking advantage of mobile channels is easier said than done, however, because consumers get turned off when they receive marketing materials from brands that they don't care about. This is where permission-based mobile marketing can succeed.
Targeted advertising dramatically increases response rates and creates an engaged audience, says MMA, and also gives consumers reason to share their demographic information and other data that can help encourage commerce.
Consumers have plenty of reasons to opt-in to marketing campaigns, including a more personalized and deeper connection to the brands that they love, a two-way dialogue in the format of their choosing and, most importantly, access to special deals, alerts and discounts.
In fact, a recent Alcatel-Lucent survey found that 63 percent of mobile youth indicated that they would be more willing to purchase products or services from preferred brands using a permission-based mobile marketing service. More than three-quarters of respondents said that it's important for mobile ads to be based on their interests, while more than 80 percent said it's "very/extremely" important for brands to ask permission before sending them advertisements.
In addition to benefiting consumers, permission-based mobile marketing provides a number of opportunities for brands and agencies, the most obvious of which is a significant reduction in advertising spending that is wasted on consumers who have no interest in their products and services. The strategy also increases consumer engagement and real-time interaction, which, in turn, boosts ROI numbers.
Additional benefits include quick response rates – with 90 percent of SMS text messages read within three minutes of receipt – and the ability to create long-term relationships.
Finally, permission-based mobile marketing can be a major aid to network service providers, who can leverage the strategy to improve customer satisfaction numbers and open up new revenue streams by partnering with advertisers and content creators.
MMA Task Force member Alcatel-Lucent is one of the leading supporters of permission-based mobile marketing, and has designed its Optimism solution to help provide the aforementioned benefits to all parties in the commerce value chain. The Optimism Mobile Advertising Solution, which helps advertisers and operators connect with a 100 percent opted-in audience, has proven to be extremely effective in multiple global campaigns.
As an example, Egyptian mobile network operator Mobinil has seen their response rates on mobile ad services climb to as high as 54 percent on the back of the Optimism solution.
"Since the introduction of our mobile advertising service, we have been able to further increase our relevance to end-users, brands and advertising agencies. Leveraging the Optism solution, we are in a unique position to provide brands and advertising agencies access to — and a better understanding of — their potential customer base," Ahmed Saber, Head of Mobile Advertising at Mobinil, noted in a recent case study.
Alcatel-Lucent will continue to work with the MMA to push permission-based marketing to the next level and enable advertisers and operators to make the most efficient use of their budgets.
“We’re very excited that the MMA recognizes the importance of permission-based marketing and that Alcatel-Lucent has the opportunity to help shape the efforts of the taskforce as we evangelize and educate the industry on best practices,” said Lisa Ciangiulli, Director of Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent Mobile Commerce Solutions.
Check out the complete white paper to read Alcatel-Lucent's four-stage process for launching a permission-based mobile marketing campaign and some recent success stories.