News Roundup: Recent Developments In Mobile / SMS Marketing

The growth of the Mobile Marketing sector continue to be dramatic. SMS short codes are proliferating. Patrons waiting on line outside of nightclubs text their way onto VIP lists, so that they can skip the lines next weekend. House hunters send off text messages to interactive ad displays in the windows of real estate brokers' offices. Every day brings new developments. Here are some of the most exciting new uses of mobile technology:

New York Magazine Mobile: New Yorkers (or tourists) can send the name of a restaurant or bar to the short code GONYC, and within moments they will receive the establishments address, phone number, and other info. If you don't know the name of the place you're looking for you can send in a a type of cuisine and a zip code or neighborhood. You can also punch in 'bar' and a zip to get a list of recommended bars in that area.

Bluetooth Campaign Targets Theatergoers:  Square Group has revealed the results of an experiment it has been running with Bluecasting at the Noel Coward Theatre in London. The company installed a Bluetooth transmitter from Alterwave in the theatre. When someone with an active Bluetooth device walks past the transmitter, it sends out a message offering them a free video clip from the puppet show, 'Avenue Q', which is playing at the theatre.

In the first seven days of the experiment, says Square Group, 9,595 active Bluetooth devices were detected and sent messages. Of these, 703 people accepted the offer of the video download – an average of 87 people each day. (Via Textually)


Down2Night - "The guys over at Synapse Life (a productivity suite) released today a new mobile nightlife service called Down2Night. Down2Night lets you use your cell phone to post and receive notices of events that are going on at your favorite local venues. Seattle is the first city covered by the service.

In contrast to a mobile coupon service like Movoxx, which pushes their nightlife deals to your phone, Down2Night has a web interface that lets you pick venues, add, and vote for the events that show up on your phone. Each night of the week you choose, Down2Night will send updates of the top voted event for each venue you’re subscribed to. The top event can be something listed by the venue’s owner, or even a big birthday bash being held that night. As the service grows, the most likely business model is the local advertising market. Everyone, though, is eager to get a hold of the elusive 18-35 crowd that makes up Down2Night’s target market." (Via TechCrunch)

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Mobile Marketing & The Nightlife Industry: The Basics

As recently as a few years ago, the average nightclub’s marketing efforts amounted to a team of promoters passing out flyers to whomever he saw fit. But then email marketing stormed on to the scene, and today, you would be hard pressed to find a nightclub without an electronic marketing strategy. By harvesting a database of patrons’ email addresses, nightclub owners were suddenly able to reach their customers directly. Smart nightclub owners sought out event marketing firms able to marry these databases to detailed demographic information. Gone were the days of randomly passed out flyers; instead, a nightclub owner could target females with a certain income residing in a certain zip code, who reported going out a certain number of nights a week.

While these efforts were great successes, they do not represent the pinnacle any longer. Once again, technology is allowing intelligent, forward-thinking nightclub owners to reach ever more precise, and ever more interested customers—increasing Return On Investment (ROI) and building lasting relationships. SMS and other text messaging technologies, which might be unfamiliar to you, are an ingrained part of life for most nightclubs’ target demographic. The 18 – 34 crowd has grown up with cell-phones in their hands, and they have been texting for the better part of a decade.

Just as email shifted the paradigm of nightlife marketing, mobile SMS marketing will do the same. A customer, particularly in the typical target demographic is rarely without cell phone in hand. Customers are now available 24 hours a day. And of course not just any customers, rather selectively targeted customers. For a generation who came of age dependent upon their cell phones, constant connectivity has altered their habits. Plans can change, and friends can be alerted. Nightclub owners can exploit this, sending out reminders, and offers, hours before, or even as events are occurring.

How can nightclub owners exploit mobile marketing to draw crowds?

Owners can send out drink specials to be known only by those in the know. They can send out invites, which customers can flash at the door. The possibilities are endless. And just like email, the messages can be forward on by the customers to their friends. A wittily worded offer can spread amongst friends’ phones like a viral video making the email rounds.

Mobile marketing need not stop at the door. Owners can text patrons inside their club special offers all night, rewarding them for their loyalty, at the same time compelling them to stick around by making them feel as if they are in on something that others are not aware of.

Text Messaging is growing at a rapid pace. Nearly 65 Billion Text Messages were sent in the US in the first six months of 2006, a gain of almost 100%. With about half of US cellular subscribers utilizing text messaging—heavily weighted among those under 34—this amounts to about 80 text messages a month per user. While this may seem like a large figure, remember for a moment that the US is still considered a laggard at SMS adoption when compared to Europe.

Do you have a mobile marketing strategy yet?

SMS Revenues Set To Explode By 2012

The ClubTexting Blog has believed that SMS-derived revenues will continue to show tremendous growth for a long time, and a recently released research brief from Portio Research confirms this:

A new report from Portio Research forecasts a healthy future for SMS, which continues to be the star of the data services show with traffic volumes and revenues that continue to confound predictions. Although the growth of SMS revenues will not be as aggressive as the growth of SMS volumes due to declining prices, by 2012 global SMS revenues are expected to reach 67bn USD, driven by 3.7 trillion messages.

Yes,  that's 67, followed by nine zeros! While Asia will add about one billion new subscribers by 2012. To realize that astounding increase, "in the five minutes it takes to read this press release and in every subsequent five minute period for the next six years, 2,267 people will have bought their first ever mobile phone."

Lest the US seem left out, Portio finds that, "the US market has grown much faster than expected."

There is a $67 Billion dollar pie baking in the over--do you offer your customers mobile data content yet? Do you have a mobile marketing strategy yet? Do you communicate to your customers via SMS, "the cheapest, quickest and easiest to use form of peer-to-peer mobile communication?"

If not, perhaps it's time.

Exciting New Developments For Mobile Marketing

Will 2007 be the year that Mobile Marketing goes mainstream? It appears so.

On Wednesday, Media Technology Futures highlighted a few interesting developments:

In Europe, mobile phone operators are taking the lead with the likes of Vodafone partnering with Google (to pair Internet searches with link-based advertising) and Yahoo (to develop banner ads and short videos). Yahoo is displaying ads on WAP sites accessible to subscribers with advanced mobile phones in 19 countries. The mobile customer will see the ads when they hit Yahoo's home page on their phones. By clicking on the ad, the phone will dial the company directly or send more information. Companies that are working with Yahoo include P&G, Intel and Pepsi in countries like the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Brazil and India.

A company in the Netherlands, HotSMS , is currently delivering a free, ad-sponsored SMS offer.

In the U.S. Sugar Mama is offering prepaid customers additional minutes as long as they watch online ads, answer questions by SMS or fill out surveys about products and services. Xero Mobile is targeting the college market (true gabbers, as we all know) with subsidized talk time in exchange for viewing advertising.

Meanwhile, Hearst Magazines, the publisher of many popular magazines, is rapidly expanding its mobile offerings, recognizing that the time has come to reach their readers in new, innovative ways:

New mobile sites for Seventeen, Cosmo Girl, and Cosmopolitan are now available in the magazines section of Verizon Wireless' Mobile Web 2.0 service. Sites for Esquire, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Popular Mechanics, and Redbook are on the way, along with additional carrier deals.

What spurred the move?

But as consumers and advertisers migrate away from print, Hearst is making a bigger push to beef up mobile. "The new mobile sites for all of our magazines will have richer, more interactive content and will be tied more closely to the magazine's editorial content, in addition to being free to any consumer," said one company spokeswoman.

Just what sort of shift are we looking at? Is it a minor one? Or are we witnessing the first rumblings of a complete realignment of the mediascape? Ask CBS:

UNDERSCORING ITS AMBITIONS FOR THE so-called third screen, CBS on Wednesday announced the creation of CBS Mobile as a new division within CBS Interactive.

Among its mobile ventures to date, CBS has struck content deals with wireless partners including MediaFlo, a division of Qualcomm, Verizon's V-Cast service, Amp'd Mobile and Cingular. It has also introduced video breaking news alerts for CBS News and text-message voting for shows including the Emmy Awards, among other mobile plays.




Mobile Marketing: The Next Great Advertising Platform

    2007—already dubbed by many the year of the iPhone—will likely be remembered as the year that the handheld advertising market exploded in to an essential distribution platform, especially for marketers looking to reach the much desired 18 – 34 demographic.
    Unlike radio, television, and even the internet, mobile marketing promises to deliver advertisers narrowly targeted, uniquely personal messages, broadcast to multiple users on diverse platforms. An advertiser who implements a mobile marketing plan is now able to reach users via text messages (SMS), the mobile web, enhanced multimedia messages, rich content (ringtones, ringbacks, graphics, & games), and even voice and video.
    A nightclub owner can send patrons on his opt-in VIP text list a short message about a drink special that evening, or, he could send out an invitation, which the patron could show the bouncer, rewarding the loyal patron with expedited entry.
    Well known female oriented magazines send out weekly text blasts filled with tips on food, clothing, exercise, and more.
    People vote for American Idol contestants on their cell-phones, and cast ballots in the MVP polls for major sporting events.
    Instead of the bottom of a soda bottle cap having printed on it, "You win a free liter of soda," you now text in a special code to the number that spells out the name of the beverage company.

    As mobile web browsers mature, the speed of American cellular networks increases, and the screen sizes of phones and other handheld devices expands, a presence on the mobile web will be as essential for your business as a regular web presence is for it today.
    Why 2007? When you combine an ever-growing group of Americans who have grown up experiencing cell-phones as a part of their everyday lives, with the maturation of data services, and the imminent arrival of the iPhone, it becomes clear that we have reached a tipping point. Cellular data services have been around for a long time—witness the popularity of the Blackberry in the business world—and it seems that the release of the iPhone or an imitator will likely put us over the top. MP3’s and digital music files, as well as portable MP3 players were around before the iPod came out; it was the iPod’s runaway success as not just a technological marvel, but a status symbol, that led us to a 2007 where older adults who are afraid to use a computer have their children (and grandchildren) load up iPods with their favorite music for them.
    And this brings us back to the rise of the mobile marketing platform. As users become more and more comfortable using their cellular phones as more than just phones, whether because of device functionality convergence (eg a Cameraphone, an MP3 Player/Phone) or the rise in popularity of rich-media products such as ringtones and mobile applications, users will understand, respond to, and come to expect personalized mobile marketing campaigns delivered to the palm of their hand. 


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