Mobile campaigns offer innovative avenue for outreach

That buzzing you hear is not just your mobile phone on vibrate, it's also the PR industry discussing the ways mobile phones can be used as a tool to reach consumers.

That buzzing you hear is not just your mobile phone on vibrate, it's also the PR industry discussing the ways mobile phones can be used as a tool to reach consumers. The ubiquitous devices offer distinct advantages for reaching consumers and measuring the results of your efforts.

"Every marketer should consider it a mode of communication, but it's a very personal device," says Nils Mork-Ulnes, VP of Context Analytics, a subsidiary of Text 100. "You can assess [results] more readily versus an online campaign, where you're not as sure who you're talking to."

The direct nature of a mobile campaign allows communicators to gather information about users and better engage with them.

"I think, over time, aggregating that sort of data is going to allow marketers to take a picture of how consumers act outside of their work or home," says Mork-Ulnes.

Ketchum's overseas agency, Mobile One2One, employed SMS codes and URLs created for individual bus routes to help a client in Spain that was having recruitment trouble. Not only did the campaign help with hiring, the data collected from respondents told them, geographically, where they were having the best results.

"Domestically, there's about a 74% penetration of cell-phone devices that, at a minimum, support SMS and text messaging," says Chad Latz, group director of Ketchum Interactive. "The lowest hanging fruit has to do with [this] technology."

Allowing consumers to opt-in to get messages also allows marketers to track activity related to area code, time of day, or any other way in which profiles were gathered.

"With mobile and newer forms of marketing, you can go right to the behavior," adds Mark Weiner, SVP and global director of Ketchum Research. "It's a technology-enabled form of measurement."

The key to mobile marketing is to communicate without overwhelming consumers.

"This is about the most uncharted territory you can get," says Richard Laermer, CEO of RLM PR. "The campaign you're doing, even if you go slightly awry, can alienate your core audience."

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