afaqs!

Mobile VAS 2008: Going beyond SMSes in mobile marketing

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | March 05, 2008
At the IAMAI Mobile VAS 2008, eminent industry experts pondered over the mobile marketing phenomenon and what could be done to improve it

Mobile & #BANNER1 & # marketing may have caught the fancy of many, but it is yet to prove itself in the overall advertising mix. And this holds true in spite of the sheer number of mobile phone users in India. With mobile privacy mechanisms such as DND (Do Not Disturb), it is becoming increasingly difficult for advertisers to target mobile phone users.

At the IAMAI Mobile VAS 2008, organised by OnMobile, eminent mobile industry experts pondered over the mobile marketing phenomenon and what could be done to improve it.

Sachin Bhatia

Rajeev Dhal
Sachin Bhatia, co-founder and chief marketing officer, Makemytrip.com, said that the mobile has become an extension of our physical form. However, he admitted that the medium was still in its infancy in India, which creates huge opportunities as well as huge confusion. "Today, a marketer doesn't know which platform to choose - WAP, SMS, MMS, or some other," he explained. Currently, Makemytrip.com relies on databases of mobile users that are on the basis of city. "For instance, if you reside in Mumbai, you'll get an SMS on a weekend getaway in Lonavla and not Shimla," Bhatia elucidated with an example.

Another interesting nugget that he shared was that Makemytrip.com experiences most of its bookings in small towns, which could perhaps mean that mobile marketing has a huge future in these places.

Rajeev Dhal, country head, J9 Mobile, however, pointed out the issues in mobile marketing, the first of which is inadequate consumer profiling. "We don't know his needs, psychographics or anything beyond what he has downloaded," said Dhal, hypothetically adding, "Today if I pass by a McDonald's outlet, I might receive the same promotional message as my driver."

Secondly, there is the problem of measurability, with few or no parameters defined in this regard. In addition, the pricing model of mobile marketing isn't defined. "All this leads to no defined role of mobile marketing in the marketing mix," Dhal said. "While we all know what television and press can do, we have no clue about the powers of mobile marketing." The solution, according to him, is to know the customer better, by going beyond segmenting on service type, intensity of use and available balance. A user generated content type product could also be leveraged, such as classifieds on the mobile, which would allow more room for interactivity.

Atanu Mandal, president, ACL Wireless, seemed content with the existing mobile marketing model - that of enterprises (such as banks) sending SMS alerts. "This business is doing well," he said, while adding that other global formats such as audio and video clips will soon be available in India.