Welcome to the third part of the mobile youth trends and behavior coverage. Today, Savka Andic, Research Associate at the Wireless World Forum, who is also the co-author of the mobileYouth 2006 report will be visiting here!
For those of you who missed the first 2 part of the mobile youth trends coverage here are the links: Nick Wright talked about mobile youth trends and Jan Kuczynski talked about mobile music and youth.
And now, let me welcome Savka Andic!
Hi Xen and all my readers, I’m Savka Andic, colleague of Jan and Nick (who spoke with you previously on Xellular Identity) and co-author of the 2006 mobile Youth report. A relatively new arrival to both the UK and the world of mobile, I completed my BA in Political Science and French in the mountainous city of Vancouver, Canada earlier this year and, degree in one hand and British passport in another, was lured to the urban bustle of London. Shortly thereafter, I joined Wireless World Forum as a researcher.
-How are you?
I’m great, Xen. Very busy, but I guess that’s not always a bad thing.
-What brought you into the world of mobile?
My job, essentially! Only a few months ago, I knew less about mobile than some of the youth I now interview for research. However, my background is in politics and the social sciences, so I find the social implications of mobile, marketing and social media very interesting.
-Other hobbies, fields of interest?
Politics and international relations remain two great passions of mine, along with skiing, traveling, world music and a rather taxing branch of yoga known as Hot Bikram. I also indulge in the occasional bout of cocktail mixing (and drinking), my favorite being the marvellous Mojito.
-Something interesting to share with the world about you?
This isn’t particularly interesting, but I can read words backwards in full sentences, as if it were forwards. Don’t ask :)
-There are many successful marketing tools. What are the key elements for mobile marketing's appeal?
Good question Xen - you’ve gone to the heart of the matter. In fact, one thing we found over the course of our research is that many marketing tools that were previously very successful are not so effective with youth anymore. There are two reasons for this: the huge volume of advertising messages that youth are exposed to today, and the decreasing time which youth spend exposed to traditional media such as TV.
Youth are exposed to hundreds of advertising messages per day (up to three or four more than 40 years ago), with the result that day-after advertising recall rates have plummeted, from 26% in the 1960s to 7% in 2005. Compounding this is the fact that youth today simply spend much less time exposed to traditional broadcast media such as TV and radio, and much more time online and on their mobiles. In the UK alone, there has been a 16% TV watching among 16-24 year olds constitutes a 16% drop since 2001. In sum, not only are youth less exposed to traditional media and therefore to the marketing messages which appear on these media, they are less likely to act on the messages they do receive if these messages are not directly relevant to their needs and lifestyles.
Basically, marketers today have a problem getting through to youth. This is where mobile comes in: We can identify three specific areas where mobile will prove invaluable to marketers. Firstly, its ability to deliver highly relevant and targeted advertising on a personal platform; secondly, its ability to build communities around brands, and thirdly, its ability to act as a linchpin between a variety of different advertising channels. More on this topic later – this answer is getting way too long!
-Mobile marketing so far has focused on SMS. Is there more to mobile marketing?
Xen, you’ve raised a great point and highlighted a major obstacle to creating successful mobile marketing. In our report, we distinguish between two approaches to marketing, “reach” and relevance”. Reach is the traditional marketing approach, whereby the success of a campaign is basically judged by how many (potential) consumers it can reach. On the flip side is relevance marketing, where success is measured not by the scale of the campaign but rather how relevant the message is to specific consumers.
Many consumers today associate marketing on the mobile with a stereotypically reach approach, largely because of the SMS push campaigns of the “text-to-win” variety. In fact, mobile today is the perfect example of a reach approach being applied to a relevance platform – that is, a platform with great potential for delivering individualized and targeted relevance marketing.
This skewed approach to marketing on the mobile is basically the result of a temporary incongruence between the medium and the message. Messages will gradually adapt themselves to best suit the vehicle of their delivery, but like any adaptation, it takes a bit of time and a bit of trial and error. In the question above, I outlined three key advantages of mobile marketing: its ability to deliver highly relevant and targeted advertising on a personal platform; its ability to build communities around brands, and its ability to act as a linchpin between a variety of different advertising channels. For example, marketers can set up permission marketing schemes whereby youth divulge valuable information on their preferences to advertisers in exchange for targeted mobile ads – in fact such a service specifically for youth (the ad-supported mobile) will be launched next year by the Finnish company Blyk.
Mobile also allows brands to strengthen youth loyalty by building communities. A good example is Coca Cola’s “Coke Fridge” in Germany, where consumers collect codes from promotional Coke packs which can be redeemed on Coke Fridge - on either the internet site, or a mobile JAVA application version. Consumers can exchange the points obtained for ringtones, wallpapers and mobile games or music downloads via iTunes. Coke Fridge also features an instant messaging application, which offers youth social benefits of communication and allows youth to invite friends, which spreads awareness of the site virally.
Finally, the portability of the mobile phone means it can fuse together many disparate advertising channels to create interactive marketing campaigns. The “Warren” campaign launched in 2003 by Virgin Mobile Australia was a good example of a successful campaign integrating mobile into marketing, as it combined aspects of TV, online, print, radio and mobile advertising to create an interactive and engaging experience for the consumer.
-Are there different marketing strategies when it comes to the youth segment? How?
Absolutely. As I discussed above, young consumers don’t respond particularly well to traditional reach advertising. To resonate with youth, marketers must craft relevant marketing messages that speak to their specific interests and preferences. Even more so, marketers must create advertising that involves young consumers in some way - interactivity is a key component of successfully attracting and building young consumer loyalty. This is simply because interactivity makes products more fun and more real. Mobile marketing has shown a great capacity for fun and interactive marketing, which makes it an ideal strategy for the youth segment - both the Coke Fridge and Virgin Mobile “Warren” examples. I also said it’s important that products be “real”, ie. authentic. What authenticity really means is that youth feel they have a certain emotional investment in the product, and that it reflects them in some way. A good dose of interactivity always increases the authenticity of a product. A great non-mobile example of this is Jones Soda, a soft drinks company. Jones Soda encourages consumers to send in their favorite photos, selects the best ones and publishes them on the labels of its soda bottles. Young consumers love this, as they gain status from being featured on the bottle and feel an emotional investment in the product and hence greater brand loyalty.
-What are the challenges mobile marketing faces today?
There are three main ones which we talk about in the report: First is that the marketing industry in general lacks confidence in mobile marketing, and a shift in mindset is needed before mobile marketing becomes more accepted. Marketers are holding back from the mobile platform due to a lack of traditional reach-oriented data to confirm the success of mobile marketing campaigns. Change must come from reassessing the metrics employed for measuring “old media” marketing techniques towards metrics that suit the mobile platform more specifically. We have to start focusing on “share of customer” rather than conventional market share, meaning focusing more on knowing your customers well and targeting them with relevant information than simply trying to grab as many customers as possible with generic, watered-down advertising.
Another problem is that Mobile marketing so far has focused on SMS push marketing campaigns which were initially successful because of their novelty value but have ultimately become annoying.
SMS marketing limits the potential of the mobile to engage consumers. Direct marketing may yield short-term results but there is no motivation for peer-to-peer marketing which limits the lifespan of any marketing campaign. When consumers are motivated to market the product to others, target segments become smaller and the result is more sustainable, leading to long-term yields through organically growing campaigns. Generic campaigns, such as mobile banner ads or TV style advertising, will see diminished returns over time as consumers become less receptive.
The third problem is that mobile marketing is frequently isolated from overall marketing campaigns. Mobile is treated as a separate marketing channel with a more technological bent than other platforms, meaning there is little integration with holistic marketing strategies. Mobile marketers are often more focused on one marketing technology rather than a larger solution and the high operator charges discourage the kind of experimentation needed to view the larger mobile picture. Mobile marketing also remains an anomaly amongst advertising platforms in that the consumer is expected to pay to interact, which is likely to disappoint consumers both in terms of the brand advertised and the advertising medium itself.
-Any interesting examples of mobile marketing best practice?
In the report we have pretty interesting case studies, such as the following McDonalds example, proving how effective mobile marketing can be.
McDonalds Japan used the mobile as the principle marketing channel to target young female consumers for the launch of its limited edition Prawn Fillet-o burger.
Aside from contents relating to fashion and teen idols, the mobile site’s main feature was a flash wallpaper heart motif which consumers could download for free. Consumers could customize the motif, changing the colors used to match their mood and share their customized version with friends, giving the site a viral dimension.
Average monthly page views of the mobile site hit 49,000 and sales of the limited edition burger were nearly four times that of previous limited edition menu items.
Thank you Savka! :)
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Next week there will be a new guest visiting here and talking about mobile services and youth. Wanna know who??? - Don't forget to tune in next Thursday to find out! Have a great weekend!