The numbers are on the table. Three billion mobile connections in Asia Pacific at the end of Q1 in 2012, says the GSM Association. Google’s Our Mobile Planet research concurs: smartphone penetration in Asia Pacific beats growth rates in every other region by a mile. We have tracked this trend too in an earlier blog post.
Expectedly, the explosion in mobile has created a buzz amongst marketing and communication professionals in the region as they scramble to understand user behavior and adapt communication campaigns accordingly. There are plenty of buzzwords to go around as well – mobile marketing, mobile site optimization, mobile SEO, augmented reality apps.
If we walk beyond the buzzwords however, it is easy to see that planning a communication campaign for mobile platforms can be remarkably simple to adopt and execute. Mobile marketing is quite simply marketing to mobile devices. Last week, we put together a few tips to prepare for the future of mobiles. Here are a few strategies to be wary of, especially if you are in Asia Pacific.
- SMS/text messages. When I mentioned mobile marketing to an industry colleague, her immediate response was a telling one: “Don’t tell me you want to spam people with text messages.” (I didn’t want to, but that is a different story.)
In Asia Pacific, there are markets where mobile network coverage does not necessarily extend to 3G. As a result, marketing messages are still delivered via SMS or text messages – much to the annoyance of subscribers. (In India, the daily limit of 200 text messages per subscriber has been recently lifted and subscribers are asked to voluntarily opt out of receiving text messages from marketing companies.)
#Fail: Text messages don’t have links embedded in them for users to click and access more information. The chances of users retyping URLs into their mobile browsers are very remote.
#UpcomingTrend: Geo marketing – sending subscribers messages relevant to their location. For instance, Singtel, a leading network provider in Singapore, markets its roaming services to all subscribers who enter the Changi airport.
- QR CODES. QR codes or Quick Response codes were born in Asia but the black and white squares have made their way to milk cartons, shopping bags and even buses everywhere. But how many people have been scanning those codes with their mobile phones? Have they impacted website traffic numbers at all? The numbers are very dismal.If a communications professional advocates inclusion of QR codes in your marketing campaign, take the time to look worried.
#Fail: The assumption that mobile users will download QR code readers, scan or photograph your particular code and visit your website to access information or a contest is a naive one.
- APPS. Unlike the other two, this isn’t a failed mobile marketing strategy. I am however including it here since universal adoption hasn’t helped with marketing.
Like everywhere else in the world, mobile apps are quite popular in Asia Pacific too. Companies across different sectors – from insurance companies to B2B tech companies – have released mobile apps. They are the latest style statements but it is important to remember that mobile apps are not marketing tools in themselves.
#QuestionsToAsk: Before planning a mobile app development project: How integral are mobile apps to the business as a whole? What business requirement does it fulfill? What value are they adding to your customers/users?
This isn’t a complete list by any means. If you have more to add, drop us a line here. Or on twitter: @lewispr_asia