IWNY – Mobile Marketing Brand Building

For the second half of my morning at the Mobile Marketing Association Mobile Marketing Forum 2010, I attended a track of presentations on “Building Your Brand Through Mobile Marketing”.  The track was moderated by Jack Philbin, co-founder of Vibes Media, who opened the session by commenting that mobile is at a crossing point: it allows a one-to-one, personal level of communication at scale.

Jack continued speaking about mobile customer relationship management (CRM) and mobile loyalty.  Mobile CRM benefits from speed, flexibility, and personalization as compared to traditional tools like direct mail.  It’s easy to track different keywords, and a brand can interact in a personalized way that is acceptable to consumers through tools like personalized SMS and opt-in messaging.

Cameron Franks, senior director of enterprise services at Sybase 365, described how other countries are starting to use their mobile phone as the “remote control for [their] life.”  His talk focused on mobile loyalty and how it’s being used worldwide (currently in Asia and in a primitive form in the United States.)  Mobile customer relationship management (mCRM) centers on how a brand communicates to its consumers efficiently and relevantly.  Mobile loyalty offers an advantage over traditional loyalty cards because it allows more interactivity.  For example, Rite Aid offers SMS prescription reminders through their program.

One concern when utilizing mobile coupons (barcodes) or vouchers is that they can be used without requiring a consumer to have a data plan.  Deploying barcodes (as opposed to numeric pins) will become more relevant as phones and point-of-sale terminals continue to evolve.  mCRM as a tool is a marketing tool that needs to be designed at a strategic level, not just as another tactic.  He noted once again the importance of adding users and gaining permission, stating “he that enrolls controls”.

Cameron Clayton, vice president of mobile and international at The Weather Channel Interactive, called The Weather Channel the largest location-based advertising platform in the world.  TWC is a leader in apps across multiple mobile platforms in large part because they have been an early app developer and have been able to maintain a leadership position.  Mobile offers marketers (like those at TWC) the advantage of letting them surround the consumer with their marketing message.  As smart phones have evolved and proliferated, it has become palatable to C-level executives to support mobile development, whether it’s in-house or through third parties.

Dan Bethlahmy, director of wireless marketing at NBC Universal, described the depth of cases applicable to mobile devices (across NBC’s 12 brands, 7 mobile activities, and 6 marketing objectives), but thankfully limited his discussion to only three cases: the Olympics (building viewership), Ghost Hunters cf. the NBC Fall Preview upfront presentations (building awareness for returning and new shows), and the Real Housewives of New York City (building community).  Mobile has shown itself to be the one communication vehicle at NBC to establish and maintain communication with its audience.

Once again, I’d recommend check out the #MMAF2010 hash tag, as the events of the forum continued through the afternoon and will continue through tomorrow.  Sadly, none of the location-based events I’ve attended have taught me co-location, so I expect to miss the rest of the event while I attend other Internet Week events.

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