Monday, November 8, 2010

Rule #8: Mobile is Where It's At

Rule 8: Mobile is Where It’s At

Part 1 – An Analytical Synopsis

In chapter 8, Mathieson discusses mobile marketing as used by top businesses today, focusing on the most innovative and effective strategies. He explains the rationale behind the mobile phone’s ascending importance as a marketing platform: “the mobile phone is the one electronic item that most people have on them anytime, everywhere.” That means unlimited accessibility and power for the marketer. “In fact, mobile has emerged as the channel that most embodies the idea of the on-demand brand.”

However, Mathieson explains that a misuse of this power quickly becomes intrusive and ultimately ineffective. He demonstrates this idea by defining what he believes mobile marketing is not...or should not be: a bombardment of advertisements, using geo-location capabilities of smart phones, that will “ping you with offers” as you walk by their store. We’re sure everyone would agree that would be annoying. More importantly for mobile marketers, harassing a society increasingly prone to selective attention to advertising will likely be ineffective. This analysis falls in line with the whole theme of the book: The best way to reach customers is when and where they’re ready to act.
Throughout the chapter he offers numerous examples (below) of effective advertising strategies that where implemented using the “activation mechanism” in mobile marketing.

The activation mechanism:
1. term used to describe mobile phones and their capability to allow a targeted audience to immediately respond or act upon commercial messages experienced in other media – print, broadcast, direct mail, outdoor billboards, etc.
2. coined by Cielo Group’s CEO Dean Macri (mobile marketing firm)
3. opposes the idea that the mobile phone is just another advertising distribution platform

Mathieson concludes the chapter with an interview of Macri on the “activation mechanism” as it applied to some of Cielo Group’s marketing endeavors and the direction that mobile marketing will take in the coming years.

Part 2 – Key Concepts and Takeaways

• You Make The Call
o Over 3B internet-enabled mobile phones worldwide (> 1.2B personal computers)
o However, most mobile searches are for specific brands, offering few opportunities than expected

• Tiny Ads, Big Results
o See Land Rover Ad (below)
o “It’s inevitable that mobiles will become a major video channel”
o Mobile response rates to advertising are high now, especially when compared to banners…but that is likely to go down

Don’t Interrupt, Activate
o The backbone concept of this chapter—“the activation mechanism”
o Everything in the physical world now becomes interactive
o “Juniper Research predicts over 200 million people will use mobile coupons by 2013, signing on to services that send them coupons that can be redeemed by showing their cell phone screen at the point of cell
Rumor: iPhone 5 will have a Bluetooth/RF type smartchip that will do this for a multitude of transactions types
o Everything in the physical world now becomes interactive
o QR Codes (see Papa Johns below)

Text Sells
o Majority of Americans are not yet using full capabilities of smartphones
o However, 100M+ Americans, nearly 58% of all mobile subscribers between 25-34 (and vast majority under 20) actively use text messaging
 Not afraid to use SMS to offline advertising
o Calvin Klein, BMW, Rascal Flatts (see below)

Apps Amplify
o Enable customer interaction directly with the brand with a simpler interface
o Starbucks loyalty card…the app is about to become the program, making the card unnecessary
o “By 2020, mobile apps alone “will be as big or bigger than the Internet,” peaking at 10M apps before leveling off
o “Placing ads on mobile sites is just a media placement compared to finding the applications consumers want [in order] to interact with the brand

• Place is the Space
o “Proximity Marketing” - Potential for mobile billboards, coupled with various forms of transmission devices
o Important: Users must ‘invite’ the interaction, unsolicited ads/messages is unacceptable

Part 3 – Marketing Worth Mentioning

• facts: ran tv, radio, direct mail campaign with call to action: call, go online, or text
• results: 45% of all responses came through text
• lesson: Mobile marketing even applies to non-techy brands because people who wear bras have phones too!

Land Rover
• facts: created an iPhone-based banner ad that connected with Google Maps to show them the nearest dealer, 400,000 impressions—11,500 click-throughs
• results: 2.9% CTR, 88% of clickers watched a video, 9% put in their zip to locate a dealer, 3% used click-to-call the dealer (These are excellent results, according to their advertising-communications manager.)
• lesson: Even though Mathieson doesn’t like the small-mindedness of banner ad campaigns for mobile phones, they can help.
• more:

• facts: created a banner ad in Australia that took clickers to a funny video
• results: 28% response rate
• lesson: Again, sometimes banner ads work, even though it’s a simple approach.

• facts: hosted “test drive” mobile advertisements on Yahoo’s and’s mobile pages leading clickers to the “I Can” Mobile website
• results: mobile delivered 22% of web traffic from campaign and 6x’s the CTR on phones as there were online, even though it was added to the strategy at the tail end of the campaign
• lesson: Get phone users on sites that are geared toward phones, especially news sites and weather sites, where they’re likely to visit a few times a day.

Quiznos, Subway, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, etc
• facts: offer mobile coupons through text-based services: GoMobo
• results: research predicts large growth in mobile coupons
• lesson: Coupons are an old trick to get people in your store. Apply this old trick to new technology norms- people always have their phones.

• facts: created a 3-D augmented reality experience using direct mail packages for mobile phones as part of the “Find It” campaign for the Ka car in Europe; the car would appear when you pointed your camera at it
• results: “infuse[d] Ka with cool”
• lesson: Augmented reality through mobile phones is the next big thing in high-tech marketing and makes your company look very tech savvy.
• more:

QR codes:
1. also called smart codes
2. a 2-D barcode printed or broadcast that can be clicked on with a camera phone and takes the user to a location specified by the company
3. often takes the user to a landing page or coupon page

Papa John’s
• facts: takes orders through mobile site, texting, widgets, and smart phone devices. also mails QR codes that pull up coupons or an ordering page
• results: more than 20% of sales come from these platforms
• lesson: The mobile space is widely useful especially for companies that take orders. Food orders are all about convenience. Increase the convenience of ordering; increase sales.
• more:

Calvin Klein
• facts: created a teaser campaign for fragrance In2U, prompting readers of digital billboards to answer the question, “What are you in 2?” without revealing the product for 2 weeks
• results: thousands participated, and their answers were posted on the screens. 50 percent who sent a text requested a sample
• lesson: You can create buzz by building anticipation and using user-generated, fun content.
• more: an article from
• “Addictive Mobility powered the technology and animated the unique digital billboard signage for Calvin Klein. An interactive scrolling marquee was created so that the participants got their messages posted on the most prominent billboards in Yonge-Dundas Sq. The director of Addictive Mobility Nussar Ahmad is excited to combine user-creative content with a reputable brand as a way to express the consumer's view. "It's good that brands are recognizing the power of user-generated content and the cell phone is a great way to bring that communication to new outdoor environments, such as the busy streets of downtown Toronto" he notes.

• facts: used texts from “Hug the Road, Hug the Sky” campaign to send links to mobile application promoting the convertible
• results: Cielo Group was able to track effectiveness in location by using keywords
• lesson: Incorporate signage with mobile marketing to really have the power.

Rascal Flatts
• facts: use texting to “fuel fandemonium” and build a mobile fan club that can participate during concerts and after
• results: broke the iTunes record for country song downloads in a week when they alerted fans via-text about a secret song on iTunes
• lesson: Some people are waiting to be involved fans of your company, but they need an access point.

Polo Ralph Lauren
• facts: uses QR codes to show runway footage, behind the scenes videos, inspiration, and exclusive photography; also created an app to customize rugby shirts
• results: allowed interaction with the consumer directly
• lesson: If you want to reach your customer on a personal, emotional level, allow them to be personal by personalizing.

Benjamin Moore
• facts: created a Color Capture iPhone app that allowed user to take a picture with their phone and find the corresponding colors of BM paint along with nearby locations
• results: provided convenience and aid to those who can’t pick paint
• lesson: Sometimes understanding your audience mean knowing how to help them in choosing your product. Incorporate technology and create an automated choice, and they will likely trust it.

• facts: manages loyalty card accounts through mobile devices, currently testing a system that makes the mobile app the loyalty card and prepaid account
• results: creates buzz and convenience
• lesson: People will prepay for the products if it makes their life more convenient because they just have to have their phone and no plastic card to lose.

• facts: created iFood Assistant app for food planning at 99cents
• results: app is among top 100 most popular paid iPhone apps, #2 in lifestyle category
• lesson: With valuable content, people are willing to pay for your marketing avenues.

• facts: created an app that let teens talk to their friends in secret using high-pitched frequencies that only 25-years olds and under could hear
• results: targeted young people especially
• lesson: Some buzz can be created on your brand just by creating something fun and irrelevant for people to use on their phones.
augmented reality experience @

• facts: created the Amp Up Before You Score app that gave men pick up lines based on the kind of girl
• results: produced a heated reaction that forced them to pull it from the iTunes store
• lesson: If you go to far with mischievous controversial apps, you can hurt your brand.

• facts: ditched mobile banner ads for an app that tracks weather conditions and offers tips for a runny nose
• results: provided more useful tool for users
• lesson: Apps are the way of the future. People don’t really browse much on their phones.

• facts: projected images of an actor on buildings prompting passersby to give the actor commands via short code
• results: created real-time interactive marketing
• lesson: Take advantage of the complementary nature billboards and phones can have.

Part 4 – Outlook on the Interview

“BMW and Beyond: Activating Traditional Media through the Power of Mobile”

Two types of mobile marketing are discussed. The more popular but less effective approach seeks to use the mobile phone as simply a wireless version of the Internet. The more effective approach utilizes the mobile phone as an “activation mechanism,” giving brands a “direct channel to consumers through compelling informational and entertainment experiences.” If you really dig deep into this interview, you find the key difference between these two types of mobile marketing: An Experience. With the wireless internet approach, companies merely use banner ads and mobile friendly sites to advertise through mobile internet use, still in the mindset of the traditional web browser. This does not involve an interactive experience. With the activation method, on the other hand, companies find ways to create memorable real-time experiences for their audiences through downloadable apps and traditional ad media supplemented with a call to action using a mobile phone. The sum of this interview concludes: in order for mobile marketing to reach its full potential, it should be fully integrated with traditional media and incorporate a mobile call to action.

Part 5 - Questions to Think About

  • How many people in the class have mobile phones?
  • Of those, what percentage have 'smartphones'? iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry?
  • How many people text regularly?
  • How many use apps?
  • How many are apps junkies?
  • How many use the GPS and location features of their phone regularly?
  • How many use the GPS and location features to engage in eCommerce?

Link to the Rule #8 Presentation


  1. Have a Blackberry - only good for email and texting.

    Do have WSJ, ESPN and Yahoo apps for news browsing.

    Would not use my phone to "activate" an offer with a company/marketer - but I'm not really a bargain shopper, nor do I get fanatical about products/brands/artists.

    Would likely get more app-focused when I change to an iPhone or Droid.

  2. I have avery old mobile phone but I am thinking about an iphone :-)
    I text but only to a small set of people.
    No apps, no GPS.

    Thanks for sharing the "activiation" concept. Could you demonstrate a "QR code" in class??

  3. Phone no.
    I have a prepaid phone that costs me 10 cents per text - so I don't text.
    No apps, no GPS.

    I'd love a smart phone but until the price of an unlimited data plans drops its just not worth it.

  4. Wow, long post! In response to the Q's...

    I own a cell phone and use it solely for phone calls and managing my schedule. I don't text because I can give/get information faster with a phone call. I would love to enter the world of apps and gps use one day, but right now it's ridiculously expensive for data plans. My first step will probably be to get a smart phone w/ Wifi so I can access data w/o the charges.

  5. Phone - absolutely
    Smart - I guess as smart as the user
    Texting - All the time (I have a 15 year old to keep track of)
    I have several apps on my new phone - banking, twitter, NFL network, and of course games.
    I use the GPS function for Poynt - which shows me what's right around me, movies, food, gas, etc.
    No eCommerce yet :o)

  6. I use an andoroid based smart phone. It has largely replaced my laptop; I use it for texting, browsing, navigation (through GPS), music, etc.

    I occasionally use it to engage in ecommerce; for example I can scan a barcode in store to see if the product is offered for a better price somewhere near my physical location, or through and online retailer. If I find a better price online, I'll order it on my phone.

  7. I waited a year to get my iPhone b/c they were just too expensive in Germany. But I love it. I only have a few apps, but I use the heck out of them. The GPS and map search function is awesome. But I don't really text that much. I love the email part of it and wish I could get my work email sent to my phone.
    But Mathieson is correct, if I got text messages (that I would have to pay for) as I walked down the street from every store, I'd throw my iPhone away and go back to a old school phone.
    And I don't know if I'd use the phone to interact with companies, etc.

  8. Wow, I'm really surprised how many of you don't use your phones for apps, gps, or even texting! I do think this chapter is a bit ahead of its time, in some ways because so many people are still unaware of all the capabilities of apps and all. Or maybe they're aware but uninterested and see it as more of a hassle. I mean, has anyone scanned a qr code before? We'll talk about that in class. However, I do think mobile marketing has huge potential. I hardly remember not having a cell phone, but I bet at some point people thought, "I'm not gonna carry a phone with me all the time. What a hassle!" Apps are becoming more and more useful and entertaining. Here are the ones I use daily (that I downloaded) on my beloved iphone: (weather updates)
    facebook (social updates)
    Skype (life saver when my hubby was deployed)
    Pandora (custom radio at the gym)
    USAA (for bank transfers)
    Citibank (check my credit card spending!)
    Allrecipes (help in the kitchen)
    Boggle (before I fall asleep)
    Crack the Code (before I fall asleep)

    I consider myself a child of the internet generation, because as a preteen in the mid 90's, I couldn't live without talking on IM for hours a night with my school friends. Then cell phones came. Then AWESOME cell phones came. I would feel lost without my technology. Anyone who's now maybe 25 and under experiences that need to be accessible and connected to the internet as much as possible (in my opinion). Funny how generations differ. My grandma just found out you could get internet on your cell phone "without any wires connected." And couldn't believe my parents had heard of this. Last Christmas she asked what an ipod was.

    But the point is! - we are moving in that direction where people are in love with their cell phones and their cell phone capabilities. It's all about feeling connected conveniently.