This a book review on Mobilized Marketing – How to Drive Sales, Engagement, and Loyalty Through Mobile Devices by Jeff Hasen
• Short message service (SMS), or text messaging, provides recipients with timely, personalized information. The ability to set up a text campaign in minutes gives mobile marketers the agility that their conventional marketing counterparts lack. Because most mobile subscribers have text-capable phones, text campaigns tend to be highly inclusive.
• The number of senior executives who are enthusiastic advocates of mobile technologies is growing rapidly. They rely on actual results based on successful initiatives that have moved products, raised brand awareness, and given marketers more confidence in mobile marketing and advertising. As a result, greater percentages of marketing budgets are moving into the mobile channel.
• Mobile technology has enabled a larger number of people to communicate with one another than any other technical breakthrough in history. Those who market goods or services must be highly sensitive to the reality that customers use mobile technology to express their immediate satisfactions and dissatisfactions. This is why customer satisfaction has become more important than in the past and will continue to increase in significance.
• A successful mobile marketing campaign must take the intended audience into consideration. Execution will be different depending on relevance to the individuals in a particular market. Some products require a greater degree of due diligence than others, and competent marketers must recognize the unique characteristics of each market and devise campaigns accordingly.
In Mobilized Marketing, chief marketing officer of Hipcricket Jeff Hasen describes the evolution of marketing through mobile communication devices. Using interviews with numerous marketers, Hasen details the history of mobile marketing and its most effective practices. He illustrates how to integrate mobile technologies into marketing programs, how to effectively measure their impact, and how to optimize the performances of existing marketing expenditures. Hasen’s insights explain the strategies and tactics that sell products and build loyalty through the devices that are rapidly becoming indispensable to consumers.
Part I: The Early Years
Radio once dominated the media presence in the United States. With more than 14,000 stations, radio announcers could form airwave relationships with listeners while promoting a wide range of advertiser offerings. This was the environment that Ivan Braiker entered when he was hired by a CBS television affiliate in 1972. When the technological advancements of the Internet, mobile phones, and other digital offerings arrived, Braiker realized that radio stations were being presented with opportunities that they were not seizing.
In 2003, Braiker met Graham Knowles in a Seattle coffee house to discuss a mobile marketing service that was expanding in Knowles’ native Australia. There, radio stations and listeners were using the text messaging capabilities of cell phones to enhance their bonds. Braiker immediately realized that this was a significant event that could change radio marketing dramatically.
At the turn of the twenty-first century, mobile devices had made progress in some parts of the world, but were not expected to be communication devices, mini-computers, or even entertainment possibilities in others. In the late 1990s, The Weather Channel entered the mobile world via pagers, a Palm Pilot application, and one of the earliest mobile Web products. It was clear that a considerable number of people would subscribe in order to have local conditions and forecasts immediately on hand. Experts determined that mobile opportunities offered the promise of tapping into large markets by enabling brands to access their customers. The next step would require finding a way to engage with customers and sales prospects through a device that was personalized and always available.
American Idol and RAZR
The mobile development in the United States continued, becoming an essential accessory for most
Americans for three main reasons:
1. The television contest American Idol incorporated text messages into its voting procedure. Over 7.5 million American Idol text messages were sent by AT&T Wireless customers throughout the 2003 season. The number of incoming text votes increased by 5,000 percent from the first to the last voting episodes.
2. Motorola introduced RAZR, a compact and efficient mobile phone. RAZR’s impact on the mobile market was twofold: its sleek, compact appearance made it fashionable, and its ability to offer features beyond wireless conversation made it highly attractive to users who appreciated its ability to browse or obtain an application.
3. Text messaging became available as a cross-carrier product, enabling cell phone users to reach anyone with a message-capable mobile device regardless of the subscriber’s mobile operator.
It was at this time that Ivan Braiker, together with business partners Iain Simms and Graham Knowles, set up Hipcricket, a mobile marketing and advertising company. Their goal was to bring a technology platform to America that would facilitate marketers, radio station programmers, and sales staff to engage mobile subscribers via a prompt to text.
Hipcricket’s First Successes
Life has become mobile. Consequently, so must marketing. Mobile marketing is an indispensible part of the marketing mix, and it is imperative that every brand and retailer learn how to integrate mobile practices into their overall marketing efforts.
One of Hipcricket’s first successes was with Seattle radio station KUBE 93. Listeners were able to contact the station using a short code—a five-digit number associated with text messaging—that was designated for KUBE 93 and promoted by the station. Campaigns to promote an advertiser’s products were set up using keywords (e.g., “Pizza” for a pizza sponsor), and KUBE 93 disc jockeys invited listeners to text in the keyword to obtain a discount. Respondents received a text message that could be shown to the business to receive the markdown. All exchanges were permission-based, complying with carrier rules and the guidelines of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) that prohibit “spam,” or unsolicited bulk messages.
In Los Angeles, Clear Channel’s Director of Marketing met with Hipcricket and saw that that their platform could accommodate several types of contesting that would increase ratings for station KIIS-FM in Los Angeles. Hipcricket worked with the local sales and programming teams and convinced the DJs to integrate texting into their shows. KIIS already had a loyal club of online listeners, and Hipcricket enabled the two platforms to communicate through a single point of entry. Listeners could sign up for both simultaneously, making it possible for club members to select how they wanted to communicate with the station (i.e., online, via mobile, or both).
Hipcricket’s first brand project was with Doritos, targeting the 12- to 24-year old market. A text invitation was placed on print, TV, radio, outdoor, and online advertising. All participants were entered for prizes and encouraged to go online to join the Doritos loyalty club. Doritos received over 1,000 messages per day and over 60,000 messages total. Of this figure, 28 percent of the participants joined a loyalty club, enabling the brand to remarket to those who indicated a willingness to receive additional information and offers.
At radio station KISS in Cleveland, Kris Foley and her team were realizing the advantages of mobile marketing. Traditionally, an advertiser would buy a 60-second commercial and the announcer would mention the client’s website and phone number three times each. Foley knew that listeners no longer consumed media in that fashion; instead, they demanded that the message be immediately relevant. Texting was the solution because it enabled technology to get closer to the listeners. In addition, it was easy to provide advertising prospects with accurate estimates of their return on investment from a texting campaign.
One mobile marketing believer was Miles Orkin. He joined the American Cancer Society (ACS) in 2002, and served as its national director of Web and mobile technologies until 2012. He aligned his organization with the Mobile Giving Foundation, a nonprofit group that enabled mobile subscribers to donate to nonprofits through a text pledge connected to their cell phone bills. He ran modest pilot projects within ACS divisions, keeping overhead as small as possible. Orkin took encouragement from a similar effort put forth by the American Red Cross, which raised $32 million in contributions following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Stops and Starts
The actual explosion of mobile technologies took place in 2007. Google’s desire to enter the wireless space and buy out wireless carrier Sprint, combined with the market entry of Apple’s iPhone, resulted in a radical expansion. The iPhone updated the wireless experience with an intuitive user experience, access to the Web, applications that addressed practical needs, entertainment applications, and games.
The enthusiasm for the iPhone spread to senior executives worldwide who ordered that iPhone apps be built immediately. With half a million apps in Apple’s App Store, these efforts were doomed to obscurity.
Hipcricket advised its clients to be more strategic, counseling the use of text messaging to extend reach since over 90 percent of handsets had this capability.
Many brands sought to reach customers through advertisements on mobile Internet pages and within applications. At the time, there were no established instructions or metrics to provide direction and it was not until 2009 that ad guidelines allowed for more creativity and the introduction of animated and rich media units.
It was in the summer of 2007 that Jeff Hasen joined Hipcricket as chief marketing officer (CMO). He was attracted to the firm because of its permission-based mobile programs. Rather than spamming customers, this model involved the customer “opting in” for information and offers. Hasen quickly saw that Hipcricket could move from the start-up phase by assisting clients in engaging customers who had expressed a desire to have a relationship with their brands or media companies.
By the fall of 2007, Hipcricket was listed on AIM, the London Stock Exchange’s international market for small but growing companies. Hipcricket, fueled by an influx of money, worked to increase its market share.
In the spring of 2008, Hipcricket debuted the industry’s first Hispanic mobile marketing network. The buying power of America’s Hispanic population exceeds $1 trillion, and recognizing that Hispanics are among the most active users of mobile technology, Hipcricket developed a mobile marketing and advertising network to help marketers reach opted in Hispanic subscribers. This network supported the efforts of clients such as Harley- Davidson, HBO, and Arby’s to reach over seven million Hispanic radio listeners in large markets such as Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Chicago.
Since day one of commerce, it has been critical to serve the customer. That is, of course, still true today. What is dramatically different is the consumer’s ability to broadcast his or her experiences and to influence consideration and purchase patterns.
In March of 2008, the publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc., publisher of the For Dummies franchise, employed Hipcricket to promote the annual “Dummies Month” with texting, mobile advertising, and a mobile website intended to reach the purchasers of For Dummies titles. This promotion included a text-to-win sweepstakes to win consumer electronics via SMS. When customers texted the word “Dummies,” their e-mail addresses were retained and they were sent $5 rebate coupons off any For Dummies title.
Part II: The Present
Retail businesses were particularly hard-hit by the recession. The Simon Property Group, which owned 400 shopping malls catering to roughly 100 million shoppers yearly, sought a solution to this challenge. It hired Hipcricket to assist with communicating with customers regardless of the type of phone they were carrying. The campaign started with calls to action that were visible in malls and in mass marketing materials. Respondents were invited to join local VIP clubs where they could interact with the mall and its stores in exchange for information and offers. InSightExpress, a marketing research company, conducted a cell phone usage study in early 2009. The study revealed that 84 percent of younger American Boomers (ages 45 to 54) and 79 percent of older American Boomers (ages 55 to 64) owned cell phones. In addition, smartphone use had reached only 17 percent, with Generation Y (ages 18 to 24) selecting the most sophisticated devices, closely followed by Generation X (ages 25 to 44) at 24 percent. The conclusion was that the younger the mobile user, the more likely they were to rely on phones for current information, access the Web, and to purchase something with a single click. These metrics were valuable in convincing potential mobile marketing clients to further explore the benefits when planning advertising and outreach campaigns.
Mobile Gets Busy
2009 was a poor year for automobile sales, with numbers plummeting and many dealerships forced to shut down. However, in the spring of 2009, Fox Chevrolet of Timonium, Maryland sought the assistance of Hipcricket’s client Hearst Baltimore to devise a creative marketing program. A two-week radio campaign on Hearst’s 98 Rock station ran 10- and 15-second promotions urging listeners to text in to enter for the chance to purchase a car for $98.
Almost 500 listeners texted the keyword “Fox” to the station’s short code to enter the contest. Nearly 300 people arrived on the drawing date, and two were given the chance to buy a car for $98. On that one day, Fox sold 17 new cars and 17 used cars at full price.
Given the low cost of the Fox Chevrolet radio spot, having 300 customers show up in one day was a highly positive return on investment. The campaign reached a large number of motorists who listened to the promotion details on their car radios. All they had to do was respond.
Hipcricket was slowly evolving. By 2009, it was able to make effective sales pitches to potential clients by running demonstrations with mobile phones to convince businesses that their advertising money could be more effectively spent and easily tracked. Hipcricket also experienced an increase in assignments from brands and agencies, largely because it had become a full-service company that could bring clients extensive offerings including mobile advertising, mobile Web presence, and analytics.
Hipcricket’s success in 2009 was emphasized by its campaign count, which doubled to exceed 50,000 that year. There was great response for mobile coupons and offers leading to trials and sales. To address this, Hipcricket made mobile coupons available to the more than 240 million Americans who had access to text messaging on their mobile phones. This permitted businesses that accepted credit cards to accurately track and measure the redemption and usage patterns of mobile coupons to enhance customer loyalty and sales.
Brands Produce Notable Campaigns
By 2009, increasing consumer interest in customer loyalty programs indicated a large and unexploited opportunity for brands to interact with customers via mobile devices. An example of loyalty club brand success was Arby’s successful promotion involving TV personality Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel mentioned their new Roastburger sandwich on his show, and in response approximately 65,000 people opted to join Arby’s mobile loyalty club.
MillerCoors initially employed SMS in its mobile campaigns, waiting for the time when smartphone usage would justify mobile Web programs. Despite the iPhone’s early promise, its limitations (i.e., expense, AT&T exclusivity, etc.) provided too many restrictions. Android proved to be the answer as it was available with any carrier.
In 2010, Belle Tire, one of the nation’s oldest tire retailers, integrated a mobile call to action to its existing television and radio campaigns. It offered a free set of tires in a text-to-win promotion. Consumers texted the word “Tire” to Belle Tire’s short code. All entrants received $20 mobile coupons and were invited to join the loyalty club. Fifty-five percent of people joined, and in a follow-up campaign, the figure increased to 77 percent.
FordDirect, Ford Motor Company’s joint venture between itself and its dealers, announced a new mobile service in 2011. This service enabled television viewers who saw their Ford Fusion commercial to text “Fusion” to a short code to receive local offers.
Viewers were then prompted to text their zip codes in order to receive relevant incentives. Further, they could indicate their desire to be contacted by a local dealer. This program was very successful, generating a 14 percent lead conversion rate.
Trends and Building for the Future
Social networks are a growing trend among the world’s population. As of July 2011, Facebook had more than 800 million members and has stated its intent to have 500 million mobile users globally. A related trend is the use of mobile technologies to reflect users’ immediate satisfactions and dissatisfactions. A recent survey revealed that among smartphone users, 46 percent claimed to have shared positive in-store experiences with others. Conversely, 40 percent stated they had used their phones in retail locations to express negative experiences.
News giant CNN took an expansive view of engaging customers across its platforms and enhancing the way that they looked at the brand. CNN understood that there were numerous device platforms available to accomplish this, including televisions, PCs, tablets, and mobile phones.
Alternately, ESPN’s strategy was based on inclusion. It gave consumers the ability to receive game scores and sports information by alerts sent to any SMS-enabled phone. However, ESPN’s most significant wireless product was delivered through the mobile Web. As of fall of 2011, 20 million of the 100 million mobile Web users were visiting ESPN’s site, giving it a noticeably dominant category share over its competitors. Mobile operators in the U.S. have attracted criticism for maintaining tight controls on messaging.
The MMA and mobile industry officials developed the rules and guidelines that prevent abuse, such as spamming, which is particularly bothersome to global customers in places such as India. There, users may receive up to 100 promotional messages a day sent via SMS.
Europe has advanced greatly in basic mobile functions such as messaging. It has overcome interoperability problems that still afflict operators in the U.S. and abroad. However, the U.S. is now ahead of Europe in terms of hardware and software.
The Future of Hipcricket By the spring of 2011, Hipcricket had executed approximately 30,000 campaigns. Its solutions had been used by companies in 15 industries, primarily quick service restaurants, retail, travel, technology, and consumer packaged goods. At this time, Augme Technologies began acquisition talks with Hipcricket. The two industries were each powerful in their areas of expertise, and they had little overlap. That summer, a deal was reached which resulted in a combined client roster that included 10 of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies and six of the world’s largest media companies.
Part III: The Future
Advertising experts Borrell Associates have calculated that U.S. marketers will expend approximately $56.5 billion on mobile marketing and promotions by 2015, up from the $9.3 billion spent in 2010. Brands have been attracted to mobile technologies primarily because of their need to follow their consumers. Consumers have become increasingly more connected, agile, and committed to a lifestyle that involves social networking.
Hipcricket’s 2011 annual survey concluded that mobile retail websites had become indispensible tools for consumers who were now relying on these websites as means of locating desired products and obtaining coupons and special discounts. The survey also revealed that 63 percent of smartphone users had visited a retailer’s website from their mobile device, and 41 percent had done so while physically in the retail store. Interestingly, 50 percent had visited a competitor’s mobile website while in another store.
Tools for Mobile Marketers
There are several mobile products available to assist individuals with mobile marketing campaigns. It is
important to give careful consideration in order to find the best match:
• Messaging: SMS, or text messaging, is considered basic and is hardly ground-breaking but is highly effective in producing business results.
• Mobile Web: The mobile Web is extremely popular and attracts subscribers at a high rate. These subscribers tend to use it to access information such as store hours, nutritional information, and directions.
• Mobile Advertising: Mobile advertising is any collection of text, graphics, or multimedia content displayed and accessible within an application for the purposes of promoting a commercial brand, product, or service.
• QR Codes: Quick Response (QR) codes are two-dimensional bar codes that can be scanned by any phone with a QR code scanner. Once scanned, the user is linked to a website, video, or other media type.
The Real Questions Marketers Should Ask
Selecting the best mobile marketing provider and getting the best out of the relationship should be primary considerations of marketing clients seeking an effective campaign. Some considerations include:
• Looking for a provider with extensive carrier connections and relationships; this guarantees that more of a business’s customers and prospects can participate in the program.
• Being able to build or expand a customer marketing database. Mobile technology is a tool that is exceptionally suited for this purpose.
• Seeking out a strategic, creative vendor rather than one merely skilled in execution. More profits will be obtained by aligning a business’s brand with innovators rather than workhorses.
• Focusing on the fundamentals and communicating respectfully with customers through all channels.
Mobile technologies are expanding, and now is the time for marketers to learn how to activate a mobile brand and define best practices. The mobile phone is evolving into the new generation of personal computer. In some aspects, the advances have been tremendous. In others, mobile use may be at a very early stage. However, critical to mobile marketing’s success have been the advertisers, like Hipcricket, who saw it as a promising channel and were willing to use it in meaningful ways to share information.
Features of the Book
Estimated Reading Time: 3–4 hours, 213 pages
Mobile Marketing would be of interest to readers seeking insights into the history of mobile device advertising, as well as some of its most successful practices. Author Jeff Hasen uses parallel narrative and anecdotes to detail the continued development of mobile marketing methods along with the birth and growth of his mobile marketing company, Hipcricket. Technological aspects are more fully explained in the earliest chapters of the book; therefore, it is best read in sequential order. It presents a comprehensive narrative of mobile marketing’s history, from its first tentative inroads in advertising to the significantly broader role it plays today.