June 20, 2008

Mobile Marketing in Practice

I work for a fairly large sized e-tailer within their corporate marketing group; our company oversees more than a dozen of familiar brands (catalog, online and brick & mortar). My job is to drive the best practices of online marketing and it has given me ample privileges to test out various emerging media(s). For one of the brands, I signed up with an external vendor to deliver a turnkey mobile commerce solution. This particular vendor offers an emulated checkout process which removed all the headaches of having to ask our IT team to lift a finger.

The program was quickly established approximately six months ago; for a large part, the brand I've setup has made a minimal effort to market and drive this program; all efforts have been driven by the mobile vendor to reach their SMS database. I've decided to give this program a serious go before the year is over.

I lined up our brand marketing team to discuss my plan of attack:

1. Set a side really good offers; ie. 50% off of a name brand item, like New Balance shoes or Levi's denims. I believe that our basic offers currently running on email, paid search, affiliate marketing & online advertising is doing a pretty good job, in those said channels. But in order to "hook" someone to use mobile as a new channel, this offer has to be really sweet and promote a sense of exciting and urgency via alerts! The merchants from our company will no doubt give some push back when I asked for an aggressive offer; but I re-assured them this is a one time test and I am not anticipating a high volume turn-out. We are just gathering some tests results here.

2. Setup an all around emarketing blitz to encourage our customers to sign up for SMS communication for the exclusive "hooks" or offers. This includes emails, paid search, landing page, or even a line or two on print initiatives, etc. SMS communication is a very personal thing; its the last line of communication that has yet to be flooded by SPAM. So we want to really demonstrate that only the wildest and worthy offers are being passed through this exclusive channel.

3. Work out a synchornized supporting marketing plan with our mobile vendor; after we've communicated with our customers; they will blast out a few consecutive SMS alerts to our customers + their optd-in DB. Each alert will be announcing an amazing deal to drive either mobile commerce conversion or atleast get the customers to take SMS alert coupon codes to complete an order online. Eitherway, I'll known by looking at this exclusive coupon redemption rate to see if this mobile channel have potential.

4. The mobile vendor, as a bonus will also list our brand as a "featured" mobile vendor during this testing period; once again drive more mobile commerce awareness to their reach.

This marketing plan is intended as a test to see if our customers are ready to make the switch to mobile communication and commerce. With a legitimate and aggressive offer; I plan to get a test result once and for all. If anything, I'll be able to walk away knowing if our customers are ready to make the mobile switch. Will provide some updates in the future, stay tuned!

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