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Tips for planning a mobile marketing campaign

December 4, 2006 by  

If you’re planning a mobile marketing promotion, take the time to plan carefully. Mobile marketing is still relatively new in the U.S. In contrast to Europe, Americans have not experienced the cool potential of mobile devices (micropayments, bluetooth data downloads, etc.), nor are they as tolerant to the concept of receiving promotional messages delivered to hand held devices (phone, PDA, smartphone).

Based on real experience over multiple projects, I suggest the following:

  • Get multiple project bids from mobile promotion providers and scrutinize the differences carefully.
  • Decide whether a vanity short code is worth the extra cost, or will a random short code suffice? Vanity codes typically cost twice as much per month to rent. You can use either the numbers or the letter equivalents. Examples of useful vanity codes:
    • Tie the vanity short code to an event date:
      “Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with us. Text FUN to 50505 for details.”
      (50505 = May 5th, 2005)
    • Tie the vanity short code to a related topic:
      “Try Brand X Contact Lenses. Text TRY to MYEYE for free trial details.
    • Short codes can be 5 or 6 letters or numbers long. You can lookup available short codes yourself. Or ask your provider if they maintain a portfolio of easy to remember short codes (e.g. “212121”) they’ve reserved for use.
  • Test whatever you can. If you have consumers text a keyword to a short code, set up different keywords to appear in promotional messaging. For example:
    • For TV spot: text TRY to 12345 to get your free trial of brand X.
    • For print ad: text GET to 12345 to get your free trial of brand X.
    • For outdoor: text GO to 12345 to get your free trial of brand X.
  • Decide whether you will pay all the transmission charges (Mobile Originating “MO” and Mobile Terminated “MT”) or will the consumer possibly be charged? Clearly communicate that in your offer.
  • Confirm that your promotion will work through all the major carriers. Some carriers might not permit downloads (e.g. ringtones, wallpapers) over their proprietary networks.
  • Make sure you understand the reporting data you’ll get from the mobile provider.
    • What specifically will the mobile provider give you access to?
    • Is the data real-time?
    • What data wont you get?
    • What exactly does geographic reporting data represent? (The phone number’s area code is not useful considering that someone with a New York area code might have moved to Florida and kept the number.)
  • If you are driving to a Web site for offer registration, consider the following:
    • Be clear about whether you intend to contact consumers again via SMS to set their expectations. Get their opt-in consent for future contact.
    • Make sure you have sufficient lead time. Promotions and offer details often need to be complete and submitted to various carriers for their formal review and approval. Allow time for that and a buffer in case you need to make some significant last minute change.
  • Make sure opt-out messaging, process and policy are in place and reviewed by your legal counsel before a campaign begins.
  • Find out what phone/carriers your clients use so you can make sure they will all work. Maybe collect them now under the impression that you are building a small group of exclusive testers prior to consumer launch.

The Mobile Marketing Association publishes best practices and conduct guidelines you should read. They have periodic Webinar on various topics and often showcase examples of work being done beyond ringtone and wallpaper downloads.

I hope you found this useful.
Good luck!
-Roland

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