Free Webinar On Mobilized Marketing

Just a few days after the official launch of Mobilized Marketing, I'll be discussing the book May 3 on a Mobile Marketing Association webinar. Registration is open and free.

I hope you'll participate with me and Michael Becker, the MMA's Managing Director, North America.

More on the book is here:>

My Byline For Mobile Marketer On The Super Bowl Telecast

Each year, I write a piece for Mobile Marketer on the use - or lack of use -- of mobile in the Super Bowl telecast.

My new byline follows:

“Please - ad with mobile call to action leading to millions joining database. #superbowl #brandbowl”—Tweet from the author, sometime late in the first half of Super Bowl XLVI

For each of the past three years, I have played Monday-morning quarterback with a day-after column for Mobile Marketer looking at mobile elements of Super Bowl ads. 

Despite a huge, captive audience that actually eagerly anticipates these commercials, for mobile marketers, the overarching theme has been “missed opportunities.”

But going into Sunday’s Patriots-Giants tilt, 2012 looked to be the year that Super Bowl viewing went from passive to active:

• Nearly 60 percent of mobile users planned to look at or use their phones or tablets during this year’s Super Bowl, according to a survey from Harris Interactive

• Chevrolet launched a tablet and smartphone application designed to run throughout the game and add interactivity to their ads

• Rumors were flying that more than half of the Super Bowl ads would be Shazamable—which is apparently now a word, “the ability to be identified using the ‘Shazam’ mobile app,” syn. “Shazam-enabled”)

• A more informal bellwether—on Twitter, a colleague predicted the over-under on mobile calls-to-action would be 10

Despite the optimism, just as the New York Giants once again delivered disappointment to Patriot Nation, once again mobile marketers were left feeling a little empty at the end of Super Bowl XXVI. Another year of “anticipointment,” perhaps.

Yes, there were more calls-to-action than ever before – particularly hashtags, which debuted in Audi’s 2011 Super Bowl Spot.

This year, by my count, nearly half the ads included a hashtag – some relevant, many fanciful (Audi’s #solongvampires, JetBlue’s meta humor #hashtagoverload).

I also counted more than a dozen spots featuring “Shazam” – which was useful for engaging customers if they have a smartphone, if they have Shazam downloaded , if they are sitting close enough to the TV, if have the Shazam application open and if they see the small call-to-action on the screen. There’s a lot of if’s there.

Most ads also featured suggestions for viewers to visit Web sites or Facebook pages, too.

Each of these calls-to-action were designed to drive a consumer to interact with a brand—with limitations.

Twitter hashtags and Facebook pages allow them to comment on a specific ad spot or maybe even a brand, but in a one-to-many sort of way. 

Shazam is hampered by the requirements I mentioned above, and even if those are overcome, still require the user to click through from the app to a landing page. And Web sites, well, that would have been cutting edge during the dotcom-heavy Super Bowl of 2000 … maybe.

None of these calls-to-action provided marketers with a key element—an easy means to create and continue a one-on-one conversation between brand and customer, with highly relevant content delivered on their most personal device.

By my count, there were two advertisers who used mobile to create a conversation—with mixed results: the NFL (SMS) and GoDaddy (QR code):

• The NFL’s spots had all the ingredients of a great ad—humor, the chance to win big prizes, and an SMS-based “call to action”—but failed miserably on the execution. I texted in during the first half—and heard nothing back … for more than five hours. Calls-to-action are about the instant gratification of a response, not a text back in the middle of the night.

• GoDaddy included a QR code on the latest in its series of ads to encourage viewers to visit their site for their latest series of racy “too hot for TV” advertisements. Theoretically, a great idea and a good way to capture customers who opt in – if consumers just happen to have their QR scanner fired up and aimed at the TV set during the seconds it appeared on screen.

Just like the past few years, there were so many missed opportunities.

Fiat’s ad had all the ingredients of a great spot: innuendo, twists and a fast car. But it could have built a database of opted-in potential customers willing to exchange their information for access to a longer director’s cut of the ad.

Budweiser’s Facebook call-to-action for aiding rescue dogs was a nice touch for a worthy cause—but an SMS prompt for interested participants to opt-in could have benefited beer sales and animals alike.

As far as my colleague’s prediction on 10 mobile calls to action? Bet the under. For mobile marketers, it was another year of anticipointment.

Like Tom Brady’s heave to the end zone on the game’s final play, my plea for an ad with a mobile call-to-action leading to millions to opt into a marketer’s database came up empty.

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

MediaPost's Steve Smith asked me what I thought about the mobile components in the Super Bowl spots.

From his article:

"Short-code callouts were few, as many marketers seemed to understand that it is difficult for the fleeting mention of a six-digit number and keyword to register with viewers. Yet a spot advertising the NFL Fantasy game and a $1 million sweepstakes entry had a persistent call to action on screen: send “NFL” to 69635. Unfortunately, as several mobile executives noted, NFL did not respond quickly in acknowledging the entry. In fact, it took hours for our entry to get a 2 a.m reply.  Likewise for Jeff Hasen, CMO of Hipcricket, who told us: 'That's unforgivable when viewers are looking for instant gratification.'

"In our spot check among mobile marketing execs paying close attention to the use of the platform this year, most were underwhelmed. Annual mobile Bowl-watcher Hasen says that while marketers didn’t ignore mobile this year, as they have in the past, the execution was uncertain. Audio ID app Shazam allows users to tag about half of the Super Bowl ads, but Hasen says 'how many knew enough to use Shazam remains a question. With about half the ads including the Shazam prompt, no one spot stood out for including it.' He concludes that despite the hashtags and second-screen schemes, 'my takeaway is one of anticipointment.'”

Read more:

Will Mobile Score During Super Bowl Telecast?

Final questions on my mind in the hours before the Super Bowl telecast:

With reportedly half of the Super Bowl spots including a Shazam call to action, will it be advantageous to have a later ad once the concept is discovered by viewers?

Conversely, will advertisers with later appearances suffer from Shazam fatigue?

How will brand managers judge the results of ads that include a mobile component?

How much activity needs to come from the more than 100 million viewers for mobile to be deemed successful?

Will more use the mobile web or mobile apps?

Will an advertiser unveil a call to action that leads to an opt-in database?

Will mobile finally break through this telecast or will it be another year of anticipointment?

We'll finally have some answers later today.

More Press Including My Views on Mobile's Super Bowl Opportunity

For several years, Mediapost's Steve Smith and I have shared a disappointment in the lack of mobile calls to action in Super Bowl TV spots.

I talked to Steve this week - a portion of his new story follows:

Longtime critic of mobile marketing (or the lack thereof) during Super Bowls past Jeff Hasen, CMO, Hipcricket says, “we will look back at this as the year of the Super Bowl Mobile. But I don’t know if this will be the way brands will use it going forward.” It will be interesting to see if the various audio recognition apps synchronize accurately amidst the uniquely noisy Super Bowl viewing environment, he says.

And in the end it is important that mobile marketing plays well in this first widespread mobilization of the biggest ad day of the year. “We need the agency and the brand folks to say that we finally did use mobile well and had a great experience,” says Hasen.

Hasen argues that marketers need to give viewers multiple entryways for activating what they see on the first screen, whether it is an audio recognition app or a text prompt. But more to the point, the device needs to be used to get beyond the big branding bang of a Super Bowl TV spot and do what mobile does best, initiate relationships. “I am looking for that remarkable opportunity to build a database,” he says. “It is un-sexy and meat and potatoes, but the opportunity is to build those hundreds of thousands into an opt-in database.”  

Last year, Denny’s generated 2 million diners after offering Super Bowl viewers a free breakfast in a famous game spot in 2009. “I want to see a case study of work that sends people to have their eggs and show how they used mobile to get two or three million of those people in a database,” he says. “Otherwise we are looking at the viewer in the same way we did in Super Bowl I.”

Read more here


Mobile Strategy Should Employ Multiple Means of Participation

In Mobile Marketer's new guide for Mobile Advertising, I wrote about the importance of giving consumers choice about how to interact with you via mobile. The article follows:

CTIA reports that mobile phone penetration in the United States is greater than 96 percent with more than 300 million current wireless subscribers, 72.5 million of which are using
smartphones (comScore).

Now let us consider the large number of operating systems – iOS, Android, Microsoft’s Mango, BlackBerry – and the ever-increasing different devices in use.

Savvy brands understand that we are each individuals when it comes to our mobile devices. Leading brands such as Macy’s, MillerCoors and Ford understand this concept, and provide multiple options for mobile engagement.

This has led to a number of successful mobile marketing and advertising programs.

In spring 2011, Macy’s launched its Backstage Pass program, which engages shoppers in-store via multiple calls to action to use a mobile device.

Recognizing that not all its shoppers have QR code readers, the iconic department store added a short code to in-store signage, giving consumers a choice and ensuring that no one is left out.

When the QR code is scanned, or the short code is texted shoppers are forwarded to a backstage look at a video from the designer of their choice including Kenneth Cole, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Rachel Roy, Jessica Simpson and Martha Stewart.

The videos offer design suggestions, style tips and more. Shoppers can even enter a sweepstakes to win Macy’s gift cards.

The program has gained wide acclaim and interaction, sparking Macy’s to implement a second video series for the fall shopping season.

MillerCoors, the second largest beer company in America, recognizes that beer and sports go hand in hand.

The company designated nearly 75 percent of its ad spend to sporting events in 2010.

However, MillerCoors recognizes that there is a substantial opportunity to take these advertisements to the next level. By adding a mobile element to its advertisements, MillerCoors is able to connect with customers and build lasting relationships.

MillerCoors tapped Hipcricket to run a cross-media marketing campaign, leveraging traditional mobile elements, to help increase awareness of the Coors Light brand during Super Bowl XLV and the Miller Lite brand during the 2011 NCAA tournament.These campaigns included QR codes, mobile Web sites, SMS and contesting.

The campaigns resulted in over 159,000 interactions from 86,000 mobile participants and over 60 percent of which fell into one of MillerCoors’ key demographics – the 21-34 age range.

FordDirect, a joint venture between Ford Motor Co. and its dealers, implemented its first mobile program in 2010.

The brand’s goal was to include mobile calls to action in its national print, radio and TV advertisements to give potential customers an opportunity to interact with the car brand on a personal level.

The first phase of FordDirect’s program included adding short codes to its national ads for the Ford Year End event.

The car company was able to generate more than 1,000 leads across 38 regional dealer groups and achieve a 12.5 percent conversion rate.

In 2011, Ford is projected to spend $1.3 billion on advertising, primarily targeted at creating leads that turn into sales.

As part of that effort, FordDirect has now expanded its mobile marketing program to include all of its print and TV advertisements. The program has achieved a 15.4 percent lead conversion rate.

The success of these programs has led to an expanded program which includes QR codes among other mobile channels.

With a myriad of ways for people to consume mobile content on a host of mobile devices, why should a brand’s mobile playbook only have one play?

Why Will Marketers Spend More On Mobile in 2012?

Mobile Marketer asked me to explain the increased spend in mobile marketing expected in 2012.

  Here's what I told the publication:

  “It starts with consumer behavior. Every indicator says mobile activity considerably increased in 2011. The latest was the IBM report that said sales from mobile devices doubled in December 2011 versus December 2010.

  “Even the most stubborn of marketers has had to take note. The smartest ones know that consumers expect brands to have a significant mobile presence – and they are punishing companies that don’t.

  “Many mobile channels will benefit from increased spending. Mobile Web will be one of the winners driven by consumer demand. Another will be SMS because it provides reach to all, including the 50 percent who won’t have smartphones and, when used wisely, leads to permission-based, monetizable databases."

  The full story is here -