Although we can't claim an exclusive scoop on this, we can
confidently predict that the way we interact with our media is
fundamentally changing, if it hasn't already. Even the BBC's head
of on-demand programming, Daniel Danker, concurs prophesying that
the future of their iPlayer service is mobile - "the ratio of
growth we are seeing by mobile is incredible".
So, as sure as day follows night, advertisers (and therefore brand
marketing in general) will follow media into these mobile channels.
But what is the best way to tap the smartphone market? From our
perspective, which is obviously sales promotion biased, there are
three major mechanical options to choose from, with a myriad of
providers within each.
- Smartphone Apps
- SMS entry
- Image recognition
Few can have missed the meteoric rise of Apple's App Store
which passed the milestone of 10 billion
downloaded apps last year. Apple created a whole new category
but you can rest assured that Google, Microsoft, Nokia et al will
do their utmost to emulate, improve and maybe even surpass their
achievement. The global market for apps is set to reach $3.9 billion in
2011 up 81.5% on 2010, so clearly the bandwagon still
hasn't left town.
Sales Promotion Apps
What sort of apps can we expect to see to enhance our sales
- Nearest venue locator - discount offers / programmes, sampling
etc either static or based on your current location
- Secure voucher / proof of membership id
- A reader for QR (Quick Response) Codes - see image
- Instant win, game of chance / skill mechanic
- Mobile currency - use your phone for cashless transactions
A familiar and long used mechanic for 'Text to Enter' type
promotions. Has the benefit that it is universally compatible,
consumers are comfortable with the process and you don't need to
install anything to participate. Perhaps it's main benefit is also
its downfall. As they say familiarity breeds contempt, and 'Text to
Win' has been done to death.
The MMS (Multimedia Message Service) is almost as
universally compatible as SMS and offers the ability to send and
receive barcodes used for couponing in the retail environment but
also for paperless ticketing for events. This technology has been
around for some years, but is still relatively niche. From our
experience the main complication comes in trying to ensure the
barcode is compatible with the retailer's EPOS (Electronic Point of
Sale) system and even then there is the issue of how well they scan
on flatbed scanners and the consequent increase in transaction time
- which big retailers are very sensitive about.
4) Image Recognition
Aside from the endless possibilities of Apps, this option is
really starting to gain
momentum. Just flicking through newspaper travel
adverts, we were surprised by the proportion of ads that
featured a QR code. Curiosity about this seemingly random splurge
of pixels almost compels you to scan it with your phone's camera to
see what lies behind the dots.
However QR codes are not the only word in image recognition. You
can also feature your own logo, image or icon within a border with
a unique digital signature - a 'tag'. This image can then be
reproduced wherever you want and consumers simply photograph it and
send it to a short code SMS number or email it to receive more
Both routes offer pros and cons, the main one for QR Codes being
the need to install a QR Code reader into your mobile phone.
However once installed, interacting with a QR Code is a one step
process which immediately takes you to the required information.
The destination behind the code can be changed whenever you want,
and all interactions can be tracked in realtime.
With the digital tags no software installation is required, but
there is a three step process to receiving your message - Snap,
Send, Get. The system can recognise previous interactions and
therefore take you deeper into 'the conversation' with the brand by
providing more information each time the tag is submitted. Being a
digital solution, it too can produce comprehensive reporting
- Mobile business cards - you
can update information on the fly if you move, get promoted
- TV Voting - without the need
to continually broadcast phone numbers
- Show Me More - add an extra
dimension to your advertising by linking to more information,
video, downloads and apps - see Waitrose
- Proof of purchase - to
qualify for special offers
- Data Capture - for exhibition
badges, social networking - you can even print QR Codes on tatoos (could get
messy when you're out on the town!)
If you want to find out
more about Tags or QR Codes, contact Mosaic for more
Before we get carried away and cover ourselves in
temporary QR tattoos, Mintel
reminds us that a large proportion of mobile users have not joined
the smartphone revolution. in fact 56% agree that 'as long I can
make voice calls and texts, I don't care about other features and
Unsurprisingly iPhone owners are three times more likely to
browse the internet or listen to music and four times more likely
to download apps than mobile users overall. 40% of 16-24-year-olds
use their phone to access the internet on a daily basis, compared
to 23% of mobile users overall.
So, the perhaps obvious lesson from all this is that you need to
consider the nature of your audience before you make the leap. Such
campaigns are going to have far more relevance to Sony than Stannah Stairlifts.