On-the-go solutions for reaching teens

Mobile marketing is often a solid way to interact with this important demographic, finds Craig McGuire

Mobile marketing tactics can be particularly effective when tapping the lucrative, yet elusive, media-savvy teen demographic.

When Unilever recently launched its latest Axe body spray, Dark Temptation – developed by Ann Gottlieb of Calvin Klein's Obsession fame – it knew it needed to target late teen/early 20s males dominating its core demo.

Teaming with marketing agencies Walton-Isaacson and Brightline iTV, Unilever hired Ping Mobile to add mobile elements to its national, 360-degree initiative.

The ads promoted a prize-and-cash sweepstakes accessible through text-to-win capabilities. Ping created six different keywords (AXE1 through AXE6), inserting them into the different advertising channels – movie preview commercials, video-on-demand programming, and Dish Network spots promoting the “Axe Dark Temptation Sweet Life Sweepstakes.”

When users texted keywords to 74642, they received one entry into the sweepstakes. Buying the product netted another 50 entries.

“This enabled Axe to track which ad channels were receiving the most interactive attention,” says Shira Simmonds, Ping's president. “Ping provided Axe with real-time reporting so that the spots and promotions could be scheduled appropriately, targeting the most suitable demographic.”

The push generated thousands of text sweepstakes entries and built a significant double opted-in mobile database, at a rate of 20%. A double opt-in or confirmed opt-in database is when all e-mail addresses must be confirmed before they are added. This ensures larger numbers of unique participants, as opposed to one person entering many aliases.

“Teens respond to offers to win things, so sweepstakes are great,” Simmonds says. “But give them the additional incentive to forward... This can turn a campaign of 20 opt-ins into 20,000. But, make the keywords and short codes easy to remember.”

Make sure any offers are compliant with carriers and appropriate for the target audience, especially when pitching teens, she adds.

However, it's important to not get caught up in the technology, says Jeff Arbour, SVP of North America for The Hyperfactory.

“Focus on the basics of marketing and then apply ideas and mobile technologies to see the concepts come to life,” he adds. “Make sure that the brand builds awareness for the mobile campaign... with appropriate integration into the overall media mix.”

Also, make sure the audience is actually able to respond, Arbour says. Burying the call-to-action in the small print on the bottom of a print piece will not gain the attention necessary to initiate action.

And, take a tiered approach and include SMS, mobile content, and mobile Web, all while ensuring that teens can interact with the campaign regardless of the service plan that they are on, Arbour says.

Mobile technology is integral to teen lifestyle. It is their point of contact, connection, and lifeline to all communication and community, says Paul Kurnit, president of Kurnit Communications and a clinical professor of marketing at Pace University. So be real, relevant, simple, and connect with the teen lifestyle with issues, answers, products, and pitches they care about, he advises.

“Don't sell too hard, too long, or too insincerely,” Kurnit says. “And... don't get in their faces. Unsolicited advertising will turn kids off to a brand.”

When leveraging mobile tactics, it's most important to not be immobile.

“The advantage is you can test different kinds of outreach and, if you are not getting the response you need, you pull it real quick and move on to the next thing,” Kurnit says. “The platform makes it much easier, and less expensive, than other types of marketing to get in and get out quickly.”

Technique Tips
Do
Have a strong call-to-action

Make sure to be compliant with carriers

Opt-in, double opt-in, and offer incentives to forward to friends

Don't
Send teens unsolicited offers

Use the same code for all ad channels

Make keywords and short codes complicated

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