In the fashion industry, communicating to the customer via cell phone is proving to be a useful trend.
As part of JCPenney's recent "Back-to-School" push, a mobile marketing component was included to target teens and tweens who are big digital consumers.
Webisode trailers were aired in cinemas, and those watching the ads were asked to sign up for mobile alerts to receive digital wallpaper, ring tones, and text-message ads for the Back-to-School sitelet.
"When it comes to the younger market, mobile marketing is a way to reach them where they are," says Kate Parkhouse, brand manager for JCPenney.
While fashion agencies have been known for creating mobile Web sites and designing mobile and text-message campaigns to promote their clients, larger agencies are also using the tactic.
"Companies can get a consumer's attention... by sending a text message to any cell phone that passes by their 'brand space,'" notes Jeff Danzer, a Ketchum VP and group manager who heads the firm's Fashion Interactive 2.0 offering. But because of the high potential for consumer annoyance, he urges clients to use "mobile to mobile in a unique way, which [lets] the consumer choose whether they can be sent messages."
Fashion magazines are also creating mobile sites to target fashion-conscious readers on the go.
"Women would rather leave home without their lipstick than their mobile phone," says Sophia Stuart, mobile director at Hearst Magazines Digital Media. "We target readers through in-book and online promos to sign up for our text-message club. For advertisers, it's a way to send texts to our audience for events like trunk shows in a local area, a new collection or fragrance launch at retail partners, and even discounts."
Fashion shoppers are frequently on the phone - and ready to be reached - while they shop. "Shopping for fashion is a very interactive experience in and of itself," says Danzer. "So what better way to communicate... than with the tool they're using to communicate with their friends when they're purchasing fashion products?"
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