Mobile will make this a happy holiday season
As the holiday season quickly approaches, marketers need to start their campaign planning. This year may be different than any other in terms of the role that mobile will play.
Marketers have quickly come to embrace mobile and all that it offers in terms of a one-to-one communication vehicle. There is no doubt that we will start seeing a shift in how major brands and retailers market for the holidays.
“Mobile marketing is no longer playing second fiddle to traditional media channels,” said Shira Simmonds, president of Ping Mobile, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. “In fact, the ROI results and metrics have illustrated that mobile is more powerful, more engaging and more valuable than these other channels.
“In addition, most major brands and retailers have decreased their advertising budgets, and managers will be looking for a more cost-effective and trackable solution in order to justify each dollar spent,” she said.
“In this regard, mobile is the most powerful marketing tool for these brands – it will allow them to place information directly into the hands of consumers, and quickly drive an increase in foot traffic at the point of sale.”
Advertisers have already begun their holiday marketing planning. As with other times of the year and all other campaigns, the key is to know one’s audience.
Consumers are increasingly mobile, or on the go, and therefore the best way to reach out to them is on the device that they never leave home without – the mobile phone.
With the amount of campaigns we’ve been seeing this year and all the databases of opted-in consumers that have been built for future marketing, there’s no doubt that marketers will turn to mobile for this year’s holiday marketing.
“Advertisers are planning for this year’s holiday season now and by consistently leveraging mobile throughout the summer months and into the fall, they are reaching their consumer early,” said Marcus Startzel, senior vice president of sales at Millennial Media, Baltimore.
“Consistent advertising, in a highly effective and efficient channel, will enable these brands to creatively retarget these consumers via mobile to impact purchase intent closer to the holidays,” he said.
Like Ms. Simmonds, Mr. Startzel attributes the economic downturn as one of the main factors that will drive the use of mobile in this year’s holiday marketing.
With the economic problems, marketers are looking for ways to save a buck or two, and because mobile is still a fairly new marketing medium the prices are still pretty low.
The volume of holiday marketing campaigns makes mobile very attractive to marketers looking to break through the clutter. Marketers that leverage the channel will have a great vehicle to get through to and reach their target audience.
“This year, even in a challenging economic environment, we expect retailers to be bullish on mobile advertising,” Mr. Startzel said. “Recent studies from Universal McCann have shown that 80 percent of mobile Internet users browse the mobile Web while shopping.
“Marketers will leverage this user behavior to impact these consumers while they are in stores,” he said. “By increasing campaign targeting on those days when consumers are more likely to be shopping, advertisers will get an even stronger return.
“When you combine this strategy with engaging ad units including expanding trailers, product displays and other viral components to register and forward to a friend, advertisers can reach and engage more than 61 million mobile consumers while they are in a place to make a physical purchase.”
Last year’s holiday marketing campaigns really only made use of SMS and although marketers are more advanced in their usage of mobile marketing, text-message communications will play a big role this year as well.
Last year, department store chain J. C. Penney Company Inc. launched an integrated marketing campaign and mobile just happened to be one of the components.
The campaign highlighted JCPenney’s affordable gift assortment and invited customers to celebrate in the joy of giving during the holiday season.
Consistent with its “Every Day Matters” approach, JCPenney’s marketing campaign communicated to customers that JCPenney understands their financial pressures and is designed to showcase the great value in shopping with the retailer.
Starting the week of Thanksgiving JCPenney let visitors sign up to get SMS alerts to their handsets.
The mobile alerts consisted of shopping tips, gift ideas and some included a link to a WAP site built especially for the campaign (see story).
“SMS should really have a profile this holiday season, especially among the forward thinking chains,” said Dave Everett, president of Kaooga, Newton, MA. “Text is going to be bigger and better than ever before and holiday advertisers will be more creative than last year with their offers.
“As the economy struggles to stay afloat and consumer shopping habits adjust with the times, retailers become desperate to move products, and they will have to take advantage of a marketing tool that simply works,” he said.
Not only does text work, it is cost-effective and measurable.
“First of all, you can be sure the retailers are going to be blasting coupons and incentives to their mobile database, and customized messages to the extent they have some demographic breakouts,” Mr. Everett said.
But a new idea Mr. Everett is hearing about is tied into retailers overriding objective to get the customers into their stores first, before they’ve spent most of their holiday gift budgets.
That is why the big chains have Thanksgiving newspaper inserts touting their “DOORBUSTER” promotions saying “doors will open at 5am or 6am” on Black Friday. Sometimes they open as early as midnight on Thursday.
They may offer $800 PCs for just $250 to the first 50 customers, for example.
“What we’re hearing is that some marketers are considering a second chance promotion where they could now use SMS to inform their database of shoppers that they have a midday price break, say between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., and note some of the bargains on offer,” Mr. Everett said.
“The idea is essentially a mid-day, real-time shout-out to their customer database to get them to abandon their current shopping destination and head over to the SMS store’s side of the mall,” he said. “So if they can’t get them in the morning, they can still try for half a loaf in the afternoon.”