The evolving dimensions of mobile marketing
Uday Sodhi, Executive Vice President and Head - Digital Business, Sony Entertainment

2014 is truly and finally a 'Year of the Mobile’. Currently, there are 116 million smartphone users  in India. Mobile devices today have emerged to be one of the most potent and indispensable marketing medium. However, it’s yet to realize its full potential. Some of the key factors driving this trend are increasing mobile phone penetration, smartphone usage and internet spread and speed. Technology is advancing rapidly and is enabling brands to deliver compelling experiences on personal screens. Companies are starting to realize that, for mobile to be really successful it has to be a logical extension of a multi-channel marketing strategy. Isolated outright intrusive communication will not work for today’s discerning consumers. 

Proliferation of smart phones has influenced consumer behavior and expectations, and brands are playing catch-ups. If we pick up a magazine or see display adverts, outdoor adverts or a TV commercial - They all use mobile as one of the calls to action – ‘visit us in store, go to our website, call us or download our app.' 

Many brands that had hitherto solely relied on traditional mediums of marketing are now capitalizing on mobile platforms smartly by delivering specific and more personalized and contextualized experiences for different audiences. Companies are delving deep into mobile big data and are actively using analytics and insights in designing better mobile targeted marketing campaigns which enables higher customer retention and focused marketing decisions. Furthermore, location data is projected to revolutionize the mobile advertising and marketing landscape. The ability to deliver real-time hyper-local, targeted advertising or tailored offers to consumers represents a potentially momentous evolution of the typical one-sided marketing thus far.

Talking of mobile advertising, its volume in India grew drastically, climbing a record 260% since July last year and is expected to further amplify to 430crore by next year making India one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets. The ad traffic spike in India is on account of a shift in the marketplace as mobile users move from less-capable feature phones to advanced smartphones. Both social sites and apps lead the mix of media types in advertising in India, consistent with global trends. Apps pertaining to online transactions, gaming, education and music and other streaming media lead the trend.  

It isn’t just a trend driven by numbers, but instead because of the engagement opportunities it offers marketers, built in with relevancy and efficiency. 

Geo-targeting or location based advertising brings value to consumers by letting them find products and services in their location whenever they want, in real time. It is truly one of the holy grails of niche targeting for marketers because it makes your brand relevant to the consumer when it really matters. Hotels, stores and restaurants are aggressively capitalizing on location-based services.  

Then there is narrowcasting which refers to targeting a specific community of people from a particular group. For example, while reaching audiences on a social media platform like Facebook, one can narrow down the target audience based on their experience, demographic, locations, etc. Marketers can create a campaign for the people in that specific group and get the best out of it. Narrowcasting will be even more important in the next few months to come as content with context is gaining importance by the day. 

And to round it up, the opportunity to personalize and customize is allowing brands to offer customers what they need, when they need. For example, if a consumer is looking for contracted labour, he/she will see mobile ads of companies providing the relevant service, but those that are located in the vicinity, as opposed to services from all across the city. Further, clicking on the ad will allow them to directly call the service, thus instantly connecting the consumer to the service provider, rather than looking up the phone number from a website or filling a staid lead capture form.

To sum up, the future is particularly bright for marketers who prefer to go the mobile way. However, it’s easy to go overboard and marketers need to take care to ensure they maintain a fine balance between being relevant and being intrusive.