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Mobile marketing should be more interactive: Media experts

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MUMBAI: In an expanding digital universe, media agencies have to make the organisational shift to tailor to the diverse consumer needs.

Mindshare, WPP‘s leading media agency, has consciously made this shift as it lives online, offline and on mobile.

Mindshare‘s Asia Pacific Digital Lead Nick Seckold believes the nature of new age audience demands a new approach to mobile marketing communication. "In the past, advertisers merely wanted a mobile presence but at Mindshare, our mantra is to adapt to consumers‘ needs, making the campaigns memorable and hard-hitting. Here the missing piece to the puzzle is not "why" advertisers should use mobile but "how" they should use."

This sentiment is echoed by senior executives of other media agencies. Says Vivaki Exchange CEO Mona Jain, "Mobile marketing can‘t be generalised. There should be different proposition, different ideas and different formats; one should tailor the campaign for different categories. It is very important that mobile marketing campaign should be targeted to relevant audience and should be engaging. Also, the purpose for which the brand wants to use the medium should be solved."

The demand for media agency professionals to change their mindsets is growing as mobile is slated to stay on the uptrend. According to Portio Research‘s latest report, there will be 6.5 billion mobile subscribers worldwide by end-2012, while annual handset shipments will reach 2.15 billion by 2016. So as mobile technology continues to evolve and significantly influence culture and the lifestyles of consumers, the impact mobile devices are having on daily life is almost unfathomable.

Says Seckold, "In an age of ‘always on‘, people are always on the move and are socially connected through their mobiles 24/7. Hence, there is no doubt that mobile represents a growing opportunity for brands, but penetration alone is not the best reason to convince advertisers to use mobile. The engagement portion through seamless, fun and addictive user interface is key to the success of a mobile campaign."

Seckold, thus, urges marketers to put themselves in their target audience‘s shoes and truly understand where they live - online, offline and on mobile.

Carat Media SVP West Himanka Das believes mobile marketing has to be integrated with the digital campaign. Nothing works in isolation. Also, the companies should develop WAP enabled websites and there should be some form of interactivity so that people can give their feedback.

"In mobile marketing what is being seen is that professionals need to segment the database to get the right audience. That should be done so that the campaign reaches to the relevant audience," says Das.

There are examples across the globe reflecting the gains brands have made through mobile application campaigns. Seckold narrates the example of Ford‘s "Drive Smart" mobile application campaign in India to advertise the new Ford Fiesta this January. The application launch was in sync with the Auto expo, providing the car manufacturer a unique platform to catch auto enthusiasts at the expo. While every car manufacturer was distributing freebies in form of physical product catalogues, merchandise, calendars, Ford distributed this utility cum entertainment application to its users at the expo via handy QR code cards.

"Through social integration (Facebook and check-in), conversations around Ford increased to 2.5 times more than its competitors. An app called "Drive Smart" was developed to engage prospects and customers, with a popular maps feature and traffic updates. The app has had 43,000 downloads and is still counting," says Seckold.

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