Wireless Marketing, Advertising and Promotions
Wireless communications, the Internet and the World Wide Web provide marketers with new tools for the development and delivery of marketing campaigns. Wireless technologies in particular have greatly enhanced the ability of organizations to target consumers and pro-vide timely, relevant content. In this section, we discuss marketing via wireless devices and the delivery of wireless promotions and advertising. We also introduce aspects of customer relationship management via wireless communications.
E-marketing and m-marketing should be used in conjunction with traditional mar-keting to create an effective corporate marketing strategy. This strategy should focus on attracting new customers and bringing them back repeatedly. Because wireless marketing requires the alteration of traditional marketing strategies to meet the demands of wireless devices and consumers, marketers should develop wireless sites and campaigns separately from, but in parallel with, online initiatives. E-marketing is discussed in Chapter 32, e-Business & e-Commerce.
Wireless marketing can be classified as a push strategy, a pull strategy or a combina-tion of both. A pull strategy assumes that users will request that specific information be sent to their wireless devices in real time. By contrast, a push strategy is enacted when an organization delivers marketing messages to wireless devices at a time deemed appropriate by the company, rather than in real time. Regardless of which strategy is used, wireless marketing should be permission-based, also known as opt-in. Permission-based marketing protects customers’ privacy and provides a well-defined target market, increasing cam-paign response rates and productivity. By allowing users to control the number and type of messages that they receive, marketers can improve customer satisfaction and campaign results. In addition, an opt-in policy can decrease the costs associated with wireless cam-paigns, because marketing material is delivered only to consumers who have expressed interest in the company and its products or services.
Successful implementation of wireless advertising requires that the content provider, advertiser and carrier establish a system that delivers ads to consumers at the right location and at the right time. When combined with location-identification technologies and loca-tion-based services, wireless advertising offers the benefit of highly targeted information delivery. For example, an individual who receives an e-coupon from a nearby fast-food res-taurant is far more likely to respond to the ad than is a consumer 50 miles away who is sent a coupon for the same restaurant. The ability to provide location-specific advertisements increases the value of the advertisements, as companies are willing to pay more for ads to which many customers respond.
Although wireless communications provide many benefits, they also create new obsta-cles for advertisers. Security issues arise, because content delivered over the wireless Internet may be vulnerable at certain points during transmission. Security is discussed in detail in Chapter 32, e-Business & e-Commerce. Marketers must ensure that messages appear in the intended format. Limited technology and multiple protocols cause content to be displayed differently on various receiving devices. In addition, cell-phone reception is poor in some areas, and service can disconnect while customers are ordering or inquiring about a product or service.
Wireless advertising is further hindered by the lack of wireless-advertising standards and the complex value chain that exists in the wireless-advertising industry. Traditionally, advertisers work with publishers, who deliver advertisements to consumers through various media. When advertisements are distributed to wireless devices, a wireless carrier is added to this chain, as publishers must go through carriers to reach consumers. It is usually the carrier that captures users’ geographic locations. Carriers have the potential to control the type and amount of wireless advertising that reaches their subscribers. It can be difficult to convince carriers to allow advertising through their services because the carriers do not want to annoy their customers.
To reach wireless customers, advertisers must either develop an in-house solution or use a wireless ad-serving network to deliver ads. A publisher or publisher network (i.e., a site or group of sites that carry wireless content and wireless advertisements) must also be selected. Advertisers should evaluate carriers’ and publishers’ wireless-transmission pro-tocols; a device that operates on one standard may not be able to receive an advertisement designed for a different standard, and advertisers should work with carriers and publishers to minimize such problems. For example, sometimes graphics are more effective than text in a wireless advertisement, because graphics can display a font smaller than those sup-ported by the device. Using a graphic, the advertiser may be able to send more text than is possible in a text-formatted ad. However, marketers must be aware that some wireless devices cannot display graphics.
Short Message Service (SMS), a service that delivers text messages of up to 160 alpha-numeric characters, is one option for delivering wireless advertisements. When marketers send SMS messages, the length, creativity and interactivity of the message are limited because the message cannot contain graphics. However, text messages take far less time to load than do rich multimedia and graphics-packed messages. SMS can also be used to send mobile alerts, which provide customers with valuable news and product updates.
Alternatively, companies can send promotions to customers by distributing e-coupons to users’ wireless devices. For example, wireless promotions delivered to automobile drivers and passengers can alert them to nearby shopping malls, gas stations and restaurants that are offering special deals. However, some users might find this kind of advertising intrusive. A wireless promotional strategy can enable opt-in users to indicate the type and amount of promotional information they wish to receive, as well as allowing them to select the time of day that the coupons will be sent.
Wireless communications also can be used to improve customer relationship manage-ment (CRM). CRM focuses on providing and maintaining quality service for customers by effectively communicating and delivering products, services, information and solu-tions. By using wireless devices, customers can receive timely and relevant information on demand, and companies can interact more efficiently with their sales and field forces.
Sales-force automation assists companies with aspects of the sales process, including the maintenance and discovery of leads and the management of contacts. Sales-force auto-mation can lighten the administrative load on the sales force, allowing salespeople to focus on important details and leads that can increase revenue. Furthermore, information about products and customers can be accessed in real time, providing salespeople with current company and client information.
A sales force’s ability to access information almost anywhere at any time improves its level of overall production. For example, imagine that a salesperson is at a professional hockey game with a potential client. The prospective client asks the salesperson a question that must be answered before the sale can be made. Using a cell phone or PDA, the sales-person can access information at that moment and close the sale. Without the wireless Internet and enabled devices, the salesperson would have had to call the office or find a wired Internet connection—which is not easy to do at a sporting event.
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