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Mobile Users Ready for Location-Based Text Marketing July 11, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in demographics, local marketing strategies, mobile, mobile coupons, Mobile Marketing.
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The assumption that marketers make who are still unfamiliar with Mobile Marketing and its benefits, is that it only works on consumers who have high-end smartphones.  In my discussions with small business owners who are considering the use of mobile as a part of their marketing strategy, there is a strong belief that Mobile Marketing can’t be effective because, though growing rapidly, the smartphone consumer segment is still in the minority as compared to feature phones.  Therefore, they believe that a majority of consumers will not be able to see their ads.

However, much to the contrary, any number of studies conducted in the last couple of years indicate clearly that Mobile Marketing is a highly effective medium at reaching all consumers, not just smartphone owners.  And not only is mobile effective with consumers, it is also in-demand from them.  The most effective method of mobile marketing is SMS (text) messaging, due to its ability to cross all mobile operating systems; it has no dependence on being able to access a smartphone.

The study detailed below, conducted by Harris Interactive, clearly indicates that consumers of both smartphones AND feature phones are quite open to receiving SMS messages and that location-based messaging is increasing their effectiveness.

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JULY 6, 2010, eMarketer blog

Mobile marketing is not just for smartphones

Though smartphone shipments are rising and expected to surpass shipments of feature phones in 2011, according to Morgan Stanley, feature phones are still the devices in the hands of most mobile users. An April 2010 ExactTarget study found 58% of all US internet users ages 15 and older had one, compared with 31% who had a smartphone.

That means a large swathe of mobile users cannot be reached by more sophisticated mobile marketing efforts like sponsored apps, in-app ads or campaigns on the mobile web. According to location-based advertising network 1020 Placecast, opt-in text alerts are the smart way to target a fuller mobile audience.

A May 2010 survey conducted for Placecast by Harris Interactive found that while most mobile users still have not signed up for any text alerts, there was a small rise in interest since a similar poll in 2009: 28% were at least somewhat interested in the alerts, up 2 percentage points, and 8% were extremely or very interested, up 3 percentage points. For under-35s, interest was significantly higher.

Those who wanted the alerts were most interested in coupons and promotions from grocery stores and restaurants. Respondents who had signed up for text alerts said it made them more likely to visit the company’s website (34%), visit the store (33%) and purchase the product being promoted, either in online (28%) or in the store (27%).

Many agreed that making those text alerts location-based, so that recipients would get the right offer at the right time, could make the channel more useful or interesting.While awareness of location-based text alerts is still building, there is the potential to reach a broader audience than with check-in apps such as foursquare or Gowalla, which are designed with smartphone owners in mind. And despite negative attitudes of many mobile users toward SMS marketing, Placecast reports low opt-out rates among recipients.“The brand faithful view these kinds of alerts as a service, not just marketing or an intrusion,” Placecast CEO Alistair Goodman told eMarketer.