Perspective | Mobile Marketing: The present, the future; the solution?????

India is one of the fastest growing markets in the world across categories. Also one can understand that this growth is evident through number of consumers, products and services, market and consumer complexity and the medium to meet this complexity. The category we chose to talk about is that of mobile marketing. Like other categories, India is one of the fastest growing nations in terms of mobile penetration.

With the growing scenario, it seems there is a huge opportunity for small and big brands to explore mobile for marketing for their products and connect to consumer in more efficient way.

With consumers getting 'smart', exponentially, the smart phone and featured phone users are increasing steadily. Not only this, there are ‘n’ number of mobile applications which along with availability of internet on mobile is ensuing that the consumers are spending more time on mobile than before. The consumers being smarter are gradually moving beyond 'mobile basics' like calls and SMS.

It may not be incorrect to say that the future of marketing could be foreseen happening on mobile. However, when and how this would be seen as a significant medium for the advertiser is yet to be seen.

Adgully caught up with some industry experts in the field of mobile marketing to understand various aspects surrounding the concept.

The brainstorming begins with the thought that the rapidly changing scenario in the digital word with changing usage in trends of mobile, mobile marketing can be very impactful. Thus the following is the outcome of the brainstorming that Adgully indulged in with the experts.

What is mobile marketing according to you?

Pritpal Singh Lakkha, a.k.a PP, Head-Brand, Aircel Limited, says, “Mobile marketing is the ability to leverage mobile to interact with your target audience either to drive a marketing message or to introduce a new audience participation-based campaign and allow them to visit a website. There are various tools used for mobile marketing i.e. SMS, MMS, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), Bluetooth, Wireless and Infrared, Mobile Internet and Social Media and Mobile Applications. As part of mobile marketing at Aircel, we have introduced "BLYK" a popular service which is a perfect example of innovations that are taking place in mobile marketing space. BLYK, is a mobile magazine which gives youth customised content that they are interested in,” PP added.

Sundeep Kapur, Digital Evangelist, NCR Corporation takes Mobile Marketing in two ways. He says, “Today mobile is one thing that being used and loved by people to the core. They might forget anything but not their phone. More and more consumers are getting 'smarter' with smart phones where they can store information and access internet. If the device is so powerful then it would obviously have huge impact. Secondly, mobile has the ability to capture the preferences and demands of their consumers in mobile and when it comes to mobile marketing, the marketers need to know the preferences and demands of the customers. I expect mobile to be a huge success,”
 
Jordi Duran i Batidor, Director of Mobile Technology, appsnack believes that mobile marketing creates the ability to interact with the consumers more closely and thus has a huge impact and especially in countries like India. Interestingly, the best part of India is that the adoption level is high here. People want to adopt new things. 

What, according to you are the challenges that a brand faces with regards to mobile marketing?

Responding to this, Girish Nair, Chief Executive Officer, netCORE said, “According to me, the first challenge comes in understanding how to utilise the medium. This domain (mobile marketing) already has so many things included in it like e-mailing, sms etc. - both out bond medium and in-bond medium. So understanding the need of the brand from acquisition to customer engagement to customer gratification there are a lot of options available and so advertisers are taking a lot of time in understanding this medium.” Adding further he said, “No doubt the power of the medium is immense with amazing technologies and the insights that the brands have today. But the other challenge comes how to leverage these brands with mobile marketing as the solution”.
    
Bharatesh Salian, Sr. Vice President - VAS & Innovation, Pinnacle Teleservices said, "The challenge is to understand what the brand is looking for and then incorporate that by setting the expectations right keeping the medium in mind.”

Vivek Chandok, Vice President - VAS Product Portfolio & Presales, CanvasM says, “It’s a challenge to convince the marketer who is ROI driven about the niche technology. The media planners and brand managers need to be educated about the technological feasibility." He also went on to say that to some extent, ideas and experimentation is there, but implementation is absent.

According to PP, "The pertinent challenge is that there are no independent agencies that measure the success parameters of mobile marketing. Also, the mobile marketing space may face some challenges including consumer reluctance to accept intrusive advertising on their hand-held devices or the small screen size of the devices.

According to Sundeep Kapur, there are few challenges like training their own people on how to communicate with the consumers through mobile and understanding how to captivate consumers through mobile. 

Jordi Duran i Batidor beleievs that there are few challenges: education, awareness and ability to choose the right methods.  

Which are the categories you feel that are willing to bet on this relatively new medium?

Girish Nair is of the opinion that the Insurance sector is one the biggest marketers in this domain along with FMCG.

PP said, “There is a lot of interest across industries in mobile marketing as it allows marketers to reach out to users at a relatively low cost.  The industries that are undertaking the most exciting work are Automobile, Technology and Finance and other sectors are gradually picking up. Globally, local businesses have been able to tap into mobile with a healthy growth rate as it allows them to serve offers and discounts based on geo-targeting. We see this trend catching up in India in the next few years as smart phone and 3G penetration increases.”

Jordi Duran i Batidor was of the opinion that it’s not about specific category but the brand advertisers should go where the people go and people are shifting towards mobiles and Tablets. “But at times again it depends. It’s simple, if one wants to advertise for a luxury car, I guess mobile marketing is not a solution; print or television would serve better. So it totally depends upon what is to be marketed. But the fact is that TV consumption is going down day by day as compared to mobile.”

A lot is been spoken about the viability and utility of the various subsections or nuances of mobile marketing, like mobile app, bulk emails and sms, mobile internet (browser site ). Your thoughts on the same.

Girish Nair believes that the most lucrative sub-section of the medium is SMS since it works on every handset and in rural area voice speaks more than pictures. He said that, "SMS has a great potential only if used in correct language and segment, as in English would work in metros but in the rural areas you need to use the local dialect or language. We even have a lot of response mediums in mobile marketing like missed call etc. So with this, we see a lot of virility coming in".

Bharatesh Salian says, “The use and success of mentioned sub-sections actually depends upon your target audience. It’s very simple that if you want to target rural areas, it does not make sense putting the advertisements on Facebook and e-mailers obviously SMS or voice message etc would be the best option in that area. But the same (Facebook and e-mailers) would do quite well in the metros.”
  
According to Sundeep Kapur all the three are important depending upon the target audience and the way you want to communicate to them. "Today, no doubt e-mailers are successful in certain parts where we a lot of internet penetration, but at the same time SMS is one thing that reaches to all", he added. Jordi Duran i Batidor believes that SMS creates a huge impact and mobile advertisers have to go where consumers are going, so if the consumers are shifting, the marketers too have to. It totally depends upon the product that is to be advertised and the consumers meant to use it.

Jordi Duran i Batidor had a very neutral opinion that SMS has huge impact but one needs to choose as per experience. Somewhere even e-mails play a very important role but now that there is a kind of shift towards mobile so apps are also important. He says, “It totally depends upon the need and demand of the consumers and the ability of the marketer to crack that demand.”

Where do you think does the mobile marketing option stand in a brand's media mix?

Girish Nair believes that all the 'biggies' are realising the fact that mobile marketing is an important aspect and in the coming future mobile will take over internet, as mobile is the device that we all have and it does support internet".

"The ability to leverage mobile to target and reach out to the right audiences in the best possible manner is what will make the difference and determine the success or failure. The future seems to be inclined towards Mobile marketing", he stated.

PP says, “A lot of simultaneous usage of TV and mobile happens when people are at home. If an advertiser spends money on TV for reach and then uses mobile as well it will give a multiplier effect. One must remember that the mobile is a medium in itself and a connecting tissue. It can add legs to a marketing campaign. Mobile is not just about display advertising. Advertisers and mobile ad networks need to see how mobile can add incremental reach to a media plan. The mobile part of a media plan can be customised for different brands. By investing in mobile marketing medium, brands will be able to drive awareness and engagement at a reasonable cost.”

Sundeep Kapur feels that as per the current scenario of mobile marketing, it is one the most effective tools for the current and future marketers.    

If one has to specify, which are the key drivers for mobile marketing in India?

According to PP, the key drivers are: Rising mobile device adoption and wireless subscriber base, rising usage of mobile VAS, Applications and Online contests, affordability and introduction and availability of next generation cellular networks – 3G and 4G

Sundeep Kapur was of the opinion that, "E-mail but with significant text and SMS with targeted words.  

With such heavy-duty exchange of ideas and brainstorming, one can only say that you cannot run away from the fact that mobile, which is every man's possession now, is very effective and one leaf of the future of marketing and advertising - mobile marketing is out and here to stay! | By Aanchal Kohli [aanchal@adgully.com]  

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