Mobile Marketing – Get Ready to Reap the Profits

Guest Post by Abid Naseem – SMS ABID to 32532 to get his business card.

In Pakistan, total number of mobile subscribers have reached 90 million mark. If you just look at the table below, you will notice that half of the population has cell phones. Please note that this figure of “509 per 1000 people” doesn’t include number of subscribers that is far beyond predictions.

The point I am starting this topic is that “Mobile is the future of Marketing” that has already made its entry in the life of the consumer and has gained an important and irreplaceable position.

You don’t have to be a scholar to observe where consumers are going. Since there is no “msdcal” in marketing, we have to be ahead of our competitors before everything is dominated by the other players in the market. Just ask yourself three questions:

  1. How many hours do you spend with your mobile in a day?
  2. And your kids?
  3. Your driver, plumber, and cook use cell phones?

Now tell me if you are familiar with these:

  1. “Sms me when you are done”
  2. “ I saw ur msdcal so..”
  3. “hehe luvd the joke u fwded”
  4. “put your mouth on Silent hehe”

From top to bottom we are turning into a cell-nation which is amazing if we look at it from marketing perspective. So first let’s talk about Mobile and other mediums. Mobile is here mainly to add “interactivity” to conventional mediums and also to stand on its own. TV is not going anywhere and it’s just the matter of accessibility that now we have Mobile TV service by our operators. Almost every cell phone has a FM radio option in it and as far as print is concerned, now we have WAP sites and breaking news alerts through sms so overall Mobile is becoming a hybrid medium that incorporates all other mediums.

Similarly, TV channels have started incorporating SMS feedback, comments, and polls options while FM Radio Channels ask you to text at 143 to request or dedicate a song.

I have already bragged a lot about the importance of mobile, so now we will discuss how Pakistani marketers can use this revolutionary medium. To illustrate, I will take help of a spec campaign that I just thought of few days back.

Let’s assume you are a marketing guy of some “digestion solution” brand. In Pakistan, food is the first love for many of us and “burp” is the only indication that tells you that whatever you poured in your belly has been successfully digested. Now we will try to own “burp” and make it a part of our brand strategy. SMS BURP to 32532 and you will get a burp tone. This “burp tone” is weird, has a buzz potential and doesn’t say anything about the brand name and positioning so people wont hesitate to share it with their friends.

According to a small survey conducted with 50 residents of karachi aged between 20-30, very few people are actually into downloading ringtones directly from internet but many of the mobile users believe in sharing mobile content through GPRS and Bluetooth. This also tells us that mobile is bringing people closer through a wireless social network it has created.

Going back to burp branding, how will you own this burp idea? Through TVCs, radio and print ads. Incorporating the burp sound and SMS sending instructions in your ads will enable you to build an association between burp, digestion and your brand since the ringtone itself doesn’t contain anything about your brand but we have to make it so obvious that whenever somebody listens to “burp tone” he instantly recalls your brand.

After sometime, we will have a complete database of people who did sms at 32532 to get your burp tone, then you will be able to send a sms to each user telling him/her about any price reduction, 20% extra offer, consumer promotion activities or perhaps to inform about any other sibling brand. Later on you can build a brand community of your consumers called “fan clubs” and ask them to rate your brand, look for a code in the package and sms it to 2121 to get a chance to win prizes, sms your brand experiences and lot more. Here are some samples of mobile content available in my library:

sms FUN to 32532 [text response]
sms GP to 32532 [mp3 response]
sms CMO to 32532 [mono tone response]
sms INFO to 32532 [unique response for up to 3 times]

In times of recession and post recession, mobile marketing is very effective because of its absolutely measurable nature. ROI is now known as Return On Interactivity and here are some metrics that we operate in:

  • Return per activity= Net Increase / Total # of sms received during the campaign (revenue model)
  • Return per unique user= Net Increase / Total # unique users engaged (equity model)
  • Net Increase= post – pre campaign net revenues.

For each marketing rupee that you will spend on mobile marketing, you will be able to know the number of people your campaign interacted today, how many unique consumers did the campaign engage each day, and database of your consumers including their mobile information while strictly taking care of consumer’s privacy at every step. For complex campaigns, you can even get name, gender, age and location of the consumer.

So the moral of the story is that Mobile is the future of marketing because mobile is yours, its personal, its always on, its always with you until you loose it, and its at the point of consumption unless you forget it. Mobile is here in our lives and we marketers are still waiting for a “missed call” to realize its true potential.

Marketer’s Memory Lane:

Now we will discuss some past advertising campaigns and will try to add mobile marketing magic to it. How many of you remember Commander Safeguard? “saaf saaf Pakistan…Safeguard Paistan” ? An amazing campaign that did wonders for P&G completely missed the mobile medium when it was talking to children who are into latest gadgets these days. Here is what they could do with the character Commander Safeguard:

  • Develop and promote “Commander Strikes” mobile game.
  • Commander’s anthem ringtone: each phone call on consumer’s cell phone could promote safeguard.
  • A picture with commander: upload your photo, sms the code to a short code and get your picture with commander safeguard right on your phone.
  • Commander Safeguard Mobile Greeting Cards: SMS and Picture.
  • Health SMS Tip of the Day by Commander Safeguard.

Another campaign that I can think of right now is of “Coke Studio”. A beautiful example of branded content but couldn’t extend it to mobile. A musical fusion based program involving top icons of Pakistan music industry, succeeded to build a strong hype and made a terrific online presence. Let’s see what mobile marketing could do for Coca Cola:

  • MP3 ringtones of coke studio songs.
  • Mobile wallpapers.
  • Coke-Studio Mobile Fan Club: SMS to receive program alerts (program timings: on which channel at what time)
  • SMS Feedback: did you like the last episode? Sms COKE<space> your comments to 32532 and get a chance to win Coke Studio T shirts.
  • You choose: make 3-4 combinations of various artists and the combination (e.g. strings and noori) that will receive the most votes will perform live on Coke Studio.
  • Call at 32532 to leave your audio message for your favourite musician.
  • No electricity or stuck in a traffic jam? Listen to coke studio on your phone during the program timings (call at 32532).

How-to: Mobile Marketing.

All mobile marketing campaigns are executed by mobile marketing companies in partnership with telecom operators. When you approach a mobile marketing company, you are provided with two options: To acquire a dedicated short code (relatively expensive) or share a code with the mobile marketing company. Dedicated Short Code is mainly acquired by Media Channels like TV and Radio stations to make SMS and IVR a part of their strategy and a source of revenue and non-media brands are advised to go for a shared code that is pretty economical. Here is a typical procedure that you need to go through:

  1. Contact a mobile marketing company in Pakistan.
  2. Brief them about your new advertising campaign.
  3. The company will advise you some mobile marketing ideas and how you can integrate those in your advertising campaign.
  4. You then choose a keyword that users will type and send to a short code to get your branded content.(e.g. cola, diaper, beauty etc…any word you want to own)
  5. Everything from ringtones to sms-to-web integration is developed and setup by mobile marketing company.
  6. You then promote the sms-sending instructions through your online and offline advertisements and the mobile marketing company starts receiving messages from the users.
  7. Mobile Marketing company gathers the complete data about “who” messaged and “when” and builds a complete database of people the campaign engaged every day, each week and per month.
  8. At the end of a campaign, you are provided with total number of messages you received, total number of unique users your campaign engaged and a brief analysis of how successful the campaign was and few recommendations.

What’s Next?

If you are planning an advertising campaign, involve a mobile marketing company right now to add interactivity to it, to allow your consumers to acquire your brand content and to gain top of the mind recall by staying with your consumers all the time through their best companion: Cell Phone.

  • A good article indeed. Its about time that marketing professionals realize the need of the day and explore emerging digital mediums besides conventional mediums.

    Converge Technologies is at the forefront of providing digital interactive solutions including mobile, voice, web and more. To explore more on digital marketing please visit

  • thank you for your comment Tee Bee.
    as i said in my article,in pakistan.. we first let the whole world test it and then we trust it. our international clients are more focused and they know completely what we mean by mobile marketing but in pakistan things are little slow but getting better mashAllah..atleast they now know that if its about mobile, its about mobilius.

    all the best.


    • dear ali,
      kindly resend your cv. i’ll let u know if we will have any vacancy that suits your career goal.
      thank you for your time, keep inspiring!

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