The cell phone user as consumer - an advertising perspective

It is not just the media companies who are eyeing the consumer through the mobile phone, it would seem.

Advertisers have long had their eye on the cell phone owner and found him receptive and willing to messages sent. Intellect, the Research and Technologies Unit of Lintas Media Services in association with Interactions, Lintas Media Services, conducted an extensive research that probes the psyche and the demographics of the SMS marketing consumers. The study, conducted in February 2004 covered the SEC A segment of Students and Working Executives/ Businessmen in the top 4 metros - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.

These are their findings -

The aim of the study was to provide the advertiser with a constructive understanding of his consumer's thought process, experiences, expectations and acceptance of SMS as a medium of brand communication. The study says that a huge potential exists as far as communicating consumers via marketing is concerned and this is evident from the fact that only 14 per cent of the respondents have been exposed to advertising through SMS. An untouched 86 per cent have yet to experience a brand communication on their cell phones. Of the ones that have been exposed to such a communication, about 97 per cent have read the actual message before deleting it, a favourable 36 per cent also acted on the message after reading it. This depicts the readiness of the respondents to be a part of the entire communication process.

Probing their openness to the idea of accepting brand communication on their cell phones, the respondents portrayed a very positive picture. 66 per cent are willing to accept advertising through SMS on their cell phones, the study says.

The willingness is more amongst students and the younger age group i. e 15-24 years than that amongst working executives and those in the higher age group. Males are more willing to receive marketing SMS than females.

Avoidance of SMS (termed as deleting the SMS without reading it carefully) is much lower for this medium compared to the conventional media. 32 per cent are in the habit of reading every SMS that they receive; another 53 per cent hardly ever or only sometimes delete the SMS without reading carefully. In a scenario where television, print, cinema, etc all have high ad-avoidance, this is a very critical media.

One more noteworthy fact stays that apart from e-mail, SMS is the only medium that allows Permission Marketing. While students are open to receiving advertisements through SMS anytime there is a promotion; male working executives/ businessmen between the group 35-44 are open to receiving advertising through SMS but only with prior permission being given.

The timing and frequency of reaching a consumer is very important for any communication planning and the study has explored these areas. About 30 per cent are open to receiving advertisements through SMS anytime there's a promotion. 34 per cent prefer being asked before they are sent advertisements through SMS while 34 per cent prefer it not very frequently.

While, 17 per cent are open to receiving advertisements through SMS more than three or four times a week, on the whole, 86 per cent are open to the idea of receiving brand marketing SMS once a month and more.

There is no specific pattern to the timing desired by the consumers. Anytime between morning to evening is acceptable. This is so since finally, the choice of opening the actual message lies with the consumer. Over 66 per cent feel that they do not have to see or answer an SMS immediately when it is received.

Also read:

Wireless - the new Smart Money Spinner

A step ahead...

'As a broadcaster with 200 million viewers, we should be able to control at least 50% of all value added SMSs sent' -

Star India wireless business development head Sumantra Dutta

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