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Mobile Marketing

Promotional campaigns with prizes and giveaways are a staple of marketing strategy. People have always become enthusiastic about taking part in loyalty schemes, exciting competitions and giveaways with high visibility because of the added value that they bring.

The arrival of the smartphone is having a massive impact on these traditional marketing strategies, and indeed the whole promotional world. HTML emails have replaced leaflet drops, press adverts have been replaced by leaderboards and web skyscrapers and social media has opened up new and effective ways of engaging consumers.

Paradigm Shift

Desktop computers used to be the sole avenue for web browsing, with all online marketing activity based around it. In recent years the smartphone has become the target for many modern marketing departments because they can be used anywhere at any time; Wi-Fi access and data technology is becoming widespread, from coffee shops to business office receptions. The internet has been unchained from PCs and tucked into our pockets.

Young people are a key demographic of smartphone users, with brands flocking to promote themselves to them via this new medium. According to Ofcom’s 2011Communications Market Report almost half of all teenagers use a smartphone, and many prefer to browse the web rather than read books or even watch TV.

It seems as simple as placing your online advert on a mobile-friendly website and then sitting back to wait for the results, but it’s more complicated than that.

The Social Aspect

The same Ofcom report of 2011 suggests that the vast majority of smartphone usage is focused on communicating with friends, whether by email or on Facebook. Facebook is the most visited website by handheld devices, with 43 million hours spent there in December of 2010 alone.This clearly indicates that social media is the key to encouraging users to register their interest, whether by sharing or clicking ‘like’. Word of mouth has always been a powerful marketing tool and with the constant communication of smartphones, this element is now more powerful than ever.

Promotional campaigns can become instantly visible, with just one competition entry or ‘like’ being broadcast to hundreds of friends instantly. Another advantage of all online activity is that it can be tracked, with results enhancing both market research and well-informed decisions. This wealth of data can be used to tailor future campaigns to be even more effective.

However there can be a downside. Over-promotion and shameless harassment has always irritated fans, and this is even truer online. Building relationships are more important than promotional material. A good guideline is an 80/20 split, focusing 80 per cent of your energy on networking and socialising but only 20 per cent on conventional promotion.

The world is moving fast. If businesses choose to ignore digital platforms, especially handheld devices like smartphones, there is a strong chance that they’ll be left behind.

Nick Deyong is the managing director of NDL Group, a prize promotion agency that delivers incentive and motivation schemes for customers and employees, as well as events, partnerships and digital services.

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