Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mobile Marketing: Any pointers in the B2B Space?

Mobile Marketing is no longer an emerging concept. It is a buzz word being talked about with a bit of apprehension but a lot of enthusiasm. Every marketer would want to introduce the concept in his peer group, but from what I have read, it has still not been fitted into the marketing planner of companies. A recent article at Marketing Profs “Marketing Challenge: Is It Time to Move Into Mobile Marketing?by Meryl K. Evans and Hank Stroll explores this apprehension and enunciates both sides of the story… those who are doing something about it, and those who are waiting for those who are doing something about it!

Those who want to go for the kill believe that even though there are grey areas, it is a path worth exploring and holds a high potential. Customer behavioral data is an iterative process, and trends & patterns would evolve with usage. On the other hand, some want to wait for a consistent data pattern to emerge and then jump into the water!

Though this is something that happens in almost every industry and with every new trend, in this case, what is worth noticing is the difference in the way it is being handled in the B2C and B2B markets. Mobile marketing is primarily catering to the B2C segment currently, and the various campaigns we see around us reinforces this. Be it telemarketing, missed call marketing, SMS campaigns, or mobile gaming, the trends seem to be working for this segment quite well.

However, how much do we understand of the application of Mobile Marketing in the B2B space? What are the opportunities that lie ahead for companies that would like to explore this opportunity?

Incidentally, I had discussed one particular application – Financial services being catered by banks in China – routed not only to customers but also SMEs and small companies looking for some hard infrastructure for their transactions in the hinterlands of China.
I am sure there would be many other companies/industries hoping to leverage this maturing industry - probably one of the most effective communication media to directly interface with customers. As pointed out in the article also,

"Most of us have our mobile devices with us all the time, but not our notebooks and computers. With an attentive audience like this, marketers would be remiss to ignore mobile marketing"

How exactly should they look at this channel for the B2B space? Some options could be, as I mentioned above, the financial infrastructure – with it come your extensions in the form of Insurance, micro-credit and other instruments. Apart from this, online promotions at websites, incentives for frequent updates, loyalty programs and social networking – are areas that could be explored for business customers. Recently, I read about Tuanguo – or Team Buying, being explored in China. This could also be explored in the B2B space. All in all, whatever companies are doing with the web world, currently, could be routed through the mobile space also.

However, it is imperative to draw a line between a marketing campaign and spam messaging – with so many companies targeting the same media eventually, some are bound to fall out and others flourish. But it is important to remember that a little overdose of the campaign might just dilute the entire brand itself…something to ponder over..

With permission-based marketing taking some shape in the markets, opt-ins has become the norm of the day, and opt-outs seem to be slightly risky. Nonetheless, some marketers still believe in cold calls to unknown numbers and find mobile marketing synonymous to selling credit cards!! Maybe, they prefer to learn the hard way…..

Still looking for phone directories and local phone numbers? ;-)

[Photo source: retroset phone, monkey]

2 comments:

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