August 21, 2007

Pocket Marketing: Cell Phone Ads And The "Third Screen"

Already here--marketing on the "third screen":
Mobile phones are a potential gold mine for advertisers, the most personal and intimate way to communicate and engage with subscribers - more than 2 billion of them and counting worldwide.

Yet the advertisers' two-liner text pitches have largely fueled a growing hate club, with recipients quickly equating the messages with spam they abhor on desktops.

Now, thanks to improved technologies, advertisers believe they have struck upon the formula for getting their messages across without irking consumers. The development is important given the mobile handset's promise to be a "third screen" - after the television and the desktop computer.
. . .
Better handsets and faster networks mean "more brands utilizing mobile devices for more advanced marketing and advertising initiatives," said Laura Marriott, executive director of the Denver-based industry trade group Mobile Marketing Association.
. . .
The advertising industry is mindful of earlier mistakes, including inundating consumers with pop-up ads on the desktop and text messages on the phone.

Many agree that preserving a good customer experience is critical.

"Push marketing and spam have a very short shelf life," said Frank Brown, director of the mobile marketing and technology firm Sydus.

People need to feel, Brown said, that they had specifically invited the pitch or are engaging with the brand in a relevant and entertaining way.
. . .
The risks are high if they don't do it right.

"Consumer aversion to such advertisements in the past is due to the fact that they were irrelevant to the recipients," King said.
Targeted, "opt-in" ads that appear on cell phones could break the wall that other advertisements sometimes miss, the time and place utility of impulse purchases on location. A relevant ad for a preferred brand--the right message for the right person at the right time.

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