The role of mobile terminals such as mobile telephones, or PDAs, is shifting from gadgetry to serious platforms for direct marketing actions. The ubiquitous use of these devices offers companies a perfect medium through which to promote their products and services in a personalized and interactive way. Since mobile phone users are rarely without their mobile phones, mobile electronic devices provide marketers with almost permanent contact opportunities to introduce their products directly to potential clients. Although potential customers are attracted by the promotion of appealing technologies and sophisticated products and services via mobile communication, the intended impact of this direct marketing approach is often thwarted as it is seen by some as invasive and an infringement of privacy. This chapter outlines the opportunities and challenges of mobile technology applications for direct marketing and relates mobile technologies to a scheme of tasks for successful direct marketing. The chapter concludes by highlighting examples to demonstrate ways of conducting successful mobile direct marketing.
Both direct and mobile marketing are becoming more important in terms of marketing budgets (Barwise & Farley, 2005), a tendency which is supported by the increasing popularity of mobile devices. In June 2007, the number of mobile telephone contracts worldwide exceeded the three billion mark, a figure that had trebled since 2001 (EITO 2007). Statistically, almost half the people in the world will be mobile connected by the end of the year. Phenomenally, in some industrial countries like Italy, Sweden and Germany, the number of mobile phones outstrips the number of inhabitants. However, in these countries, mobile services in general have not taken off as expected; their popularity is still restricted to narrow segments of users (Åkesson & Ihlström, 2007). Thus, direct marketing contents have to find and establish their way to the mobile respondents.
The purpose of direct marketing is to establish a relationship with a customer in order to initiate an immediate and measurable response (Kraft, Hesse, Höfling, Peters, & Rinas, 2007; Wagner & Meißner, forthcoming). According to the Mobile Marketing Association (2004), mobile marketing is the use of any mobile medium as a communication and entertainment channel between a brand and an end-user. Mobile marketing is the only personal channel enabling spontaneous, direct, interactive, and targeted communications at any time and anywhere.
Consolidating these two definitions, we refer to mobile direct marketing as follows:
Key Terms in this Chapter
Viral Marketing: Is the technique to animate and motivate the customer to recommend products voluntarily to others. For example, catching ideas for a product or its advertisement becomes like a “virus” that spreads in an epidemic manner.
Opt-In Procedure: The consumer enables direct marketing communication by subscribing in a list or sending a query that he is willing to receive advertisements via e-mail, SMS, etc. For an increasing number of countries, the opt-in is required for direct marketing measures with high perceived intrusiveness by law.
Technology Acceptance Model (TAM): The TAM was initially proposed by Davis (1989). It comprises two beliefs, the perceived utilities and the perceived ease of application, which determine attitudes to adopt new technologies. The attitude toward adoption will decide about the adopter’s positive or negative behavior in the future concerning new technology.
Pull Marketing: Focuses the communication channel on the buying public who demand the products from the retailers. This way, the products are pulled through the channel of distribution.
Permission Marketing: Consumers provide their explicit permission to the contractor to receive advertisements. Most common are newsletters and catalogues, but also phone calls and mobile marketing measures.
Value Added/Perceived Usefulness: Describes the utility for the customers provided by mobile direct marketing measures, e.g., games, pictures or ring tones.
Push Marketing: Focuses the communication channel on retailers to cause them to list the offered products and services and, thus, make them available to the customers. This way, the products and services are pushed through the channel of distribution.
Opt-Out Procedure: Consumers who are not interested in particular marketing measures, or in direct marketing measures in general, can subscribe to a list, which is checked by commercial address brokers.