How to reach your customers with advertising when they are going mobile

mobile advertising opportunitiesRecently, Forrester predicted that in 2011 marketers will take the training wheels off mobile programs and start investing in cohesive mobile marketing strategies. Without question, one of these cohesive strategies includes the integration of place-based media — traditional out-of-home (OOH) or digital-out-of-home (DOOH) — with the mobile phone. Marketers have come to understand that they can now reach their target demographic at moments of maximum influence (i.e., the point of purchase) using a powerful combination of place-based media and mobile technology that yields greater accountability than ever before. Currently, there are seven critical forms of mobile convergence with place-based media that need to be understood:

Short message service
Short message service (SMS) is the most ubiquitous form of mobile communication today, making it a great tool for place-based media. SMS can easily be implemented across a large scale DOOH and/or traditional OOH network looking to reach a diverse demographic; retailers have been quick to realize this.

Recently Walmart deployed an integrated DOOH and SMS campaign across its branded “Smart Network.” Walmart is using digital screens at aisle end caps to feature an SMS promotion where shoppers can opt-in to receive discounts and offers via SMS. By utilizing place-based signage and unique content relevant to shoppers at the time of interaction, Walmart has been able to increase daily opt-ins to its “rollback” coupon program three-fold.

Proximity marketing (Bluetooth and internal Wi-Fi network)
Like SMS, proximity marketing is a great tool for place-based media networks. It can reach a broad range of handsets (both smartphones and traditional handsets) and deliver content targeted based on the location of the interaction. However, unlike SMS, proximity marketing offers content delivery at no cost to consumers and is completely independent of cell phone carrier networks. Proximity marketing has proven to be ideal for campaigns delivering promotional offers to be redeemed at the point of interaction. Recently, Red Bull implemented a proximity marketing campaign across a convenient store DOOH network in Canada. Utilizing place-based media, Red Bull offered consumers a coupon for their beverage that was redeemable at that very location.

Wireless application protocol (WAP)
When looking to provide a very robust push and pull experience with consumers near place-based media, WAP has become an increasingly popular form of communication. WAP sites are optimized for use with smartphones and give brands and marketers a unique ability to promote mobile applications. This past November, TripCase, one of the most highly downloaded business travel apps, utilized a place-based media network of digital and static screens to deliver its app across Android, iPhone, and Blackberry devices. The place-based media network spanned across four of the largest U.S. airports and featured a call-to-action (CTA) informing travelers of the unique WAP site. As a result of this campaign, TripCase saw on average 100 more downloads per day of its application.

Social media
Social media has changed how people use the internet and social media integration with DOOH is on the rise. Even though social media can only be integrated with digital place-based media networks, it provides brands and marketers a unique ability to utilize DOOH to influence purchase decisions with both the consumer at the location and their web-based community. LocaModa has been a leader in this movement and recently announced the integration of its platform across PRN’s “Checkout TV” Network. This DOOH network can now display the most important shopping items according to local customer comments. Likewise, it allows shoppers to participate via Facebook, Twitter, or brand websites and see aggregated results on the digital screens right at the checkout line.

Quick response codes
Quick response codes (QR) are becoming increasingly popular — the codes provide a low-cost and relatively easy method to converge place-based media networks with the mobile phone. QR codes are an ideal way to drive traffic to branded web sites or mobile apps. Back in July Calvin Klein Jeans was one of the early adopters to put QR codes on its billboards in N.Y.C. and L.A. Instead of using its usual racy montage of scantily clad models, Calvin Klein employed a large QR code on the place-based media with the words “GET IT UNCENSORED.” Certainly this proved to be a good use of this mobile marketing channel — the media spot was able to bridge consumers out of their home to rich content beyond what can be put on the physical display.

Mobile applications
Still in their infancy, mobile applications specific to place-based media networks can prove to be an extremely powerful tool. Imagine this scenario: Every time a shopper walks into a retail location with a static or digital display, he opens an app designed for that network. The app then can immediately pinpoint the shopper’s geo coordinates and drives specific deals and promotions to that consumer — working essentially as a Groupon for mobile phones. One of the early drivers of this concept has been a company by the name of Symon Communications. Back in 2009 Symon  developed a mobile application to be utilized across its DOOH networks by the name of “InView Mobile.” The app was utilized during Wimbledon to provide unique content to fans relative to their location in the venue and the place-based media around them.

Near field communication
Near field communication (NFC) technology has the opportunity to be a game changer for brands and marketers when it comes to bridging place-based media and mobile phones. Rumors indicate that future Android and iPhone handsets will incorporate NFC. Given the market presence of these handsets, this technology cannot be overlooked. NFC is unique because it provides extremely rich content to consumers instantly and at a micro-scale (within inches of place-based media). Posterscope, one of the largest OOH communications agencies in the world, has come early to the scene — testing NFC in a handful of OOH locations in Portland, Oregon. In the not too distant future, a display or poster can be tagged with a relatively inexpensive chip that will deliver specific offers and content.

Although there are many options to bridge place-based media and the mobile phone, the importance of reaching consumers out of their homes and at moments of maximum influence is clear. When launching a campaign, it is important to evaluate each of these channels and determine which meet the specific demands of the campaign. Through effective integration of OOH and mobile, the campaign can deliver measurable results not attainable by traditional or place-based media alone.

Daniel Trigub is VP, business development, at Blue Bite.

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