The Center for Digital Democracy and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group have announced their intention to file a joint complaint to the FTC about mobile marketing. Their main concerns include behavioral targeting and profiling techniques which internet marketers have used for years to gather information on potential customers without their consent.
Interestingly enough, the FCC already prohibits marketers from sending text message ads to consumers without their opt-in consent, which is one of the main reasons that Cellit has chosen text-messaging as their main delivery technique. It is other techniques, such as wireless application protocol banners or search ads, which are not regulated, that give the advocacy groups the most reason for concern. They want to make sure that regulations are put into place that prevent the sorts of abuses that internet marketers have committed from re-occurring in the mobile space.
Ironically, mobile marketing has the most potential for both extremes. Unwarranted data collection and location-based targeting can of course lead to highly invasive marketing. Yet, when used in a responsible, opt-in-based manner, it becomes the least intrusive type of advertising, as consumers are only subjected to marketing they have specifically asked for. This is what most mobile marketers, including Cellit, have chosen to pursue.
The CTIA has already released guidelines which prohibit location-based services that do not include obvious consumer consent. The mobile marketing community has shown time and time again a willingness to police itself and protect the privacy rights of consumers before they are ever asked to do so. We are determined not to repeat the mistakes made by internet advertisers and will continue to foster an environment of trust and transparency as mobile marketing becomes a larger part of the advertising world.
A new study from Jupiter Research has shown that mobile marketing adoption rates are far below what they should be. Although text-messaging is far and away the most popular feature for cellular users, it is being severely under-utilized by the majority of companies. Jupiter has recommended that a text messaging campaign should be the first avenue any company explores when starting a mobile marketing initiative.
The decision by legitimate mobile marketing firms, such as Cellit, to operate on an opt-in only basis for their subscribers further enhances the effectiveness and efficiency of the technology. “If a marketing message reaches a cell phone, the recipient is more than likely the owner,” states the report. “Gaining access to this phone through an opt-in process holds great value for marketers.”
Not only does the customer only receive advertising that they have specifically asked for, but the ads themselves have the ability to be much narrower in focus, both of which lead to much higher read rates than traditional media. Thus, Jupiter believes that these factors will lead to an eventual embrace of mobile marketing by most companies and they strongly suggest that those wishing to get ahead of the game should start as soon as possible.
Nearly every day we get a ridiculous request. And nearly every day we turn one down.
- “Cellit, wouldn’t it be cool if people could take a picture of our ad and ‘text it in’ for more information?” (Sound’s like somebody’s been listening to too much Mobot!) Our response: Sure, we CAN do that… we just don’t recommend it. You’ll have a much higher success rate if you just have your consumers text in a keyword to a shortcode. Not everybody has a camera phone. Not everybody has “picture messaging”. But nearly everybody these days can text. The result is the same: get the info; let’s just lower the bar to participate.
- “Cellit, wouldn’t it be great to have people download an application to their phone? Like a digital coupon wallet?” (Sound’s like somebody’s been listening to too much Cellfire!) Our response: Um, ok. Do you think people will download the app? Do you think people know how to? Do you think your app would be compatible across Blackberries / Treos / iPhones / J2ME phones, etc? And most importantly, do you think people would use it? I already have to check my voicemail inbox, my email inbox, and my text message inbox. Do you think people will want to also have to check their “mobile coupon inbox” too? Sure, we can deliver the app, but let’s see if it truly makes sense here.
- And last (but not least) “Cellit, can we have phones beep when they’re near our store?” Our response: Not really. Bluetooth blasting requires your phone’s Bluetooth settings to be set to “free association” and nobody’s are (the carriers turn this off–rightly so!–for worries of spam and viruses!). Besides, do people want their phone beeping for ads they didn’t ask for? We’d be happy to set up an opt-in campaign (typically using text, web or a voice call for the opt-in) that people will want to opt-in for. It’ll be more fun for everyone involved.
The whole point of this is: a lot of what’s going on in mobile marketing these days is more about marketing to marketers than it is marketing to the consumers. The mobile hype-sters out there are very good at selling crazy marketing ideas that won’t work. The fact of the matter is, we want to sell campaigns that will work. Sure, they might not always be as sexy, but they will drive ROI. And ROI will keep our customer coming back to us year after year… hopefully they won’t have to learn too many lessons from Cellfire and Mobot before they do!
Cellit Mobile Marketing recently teamed with Boostup.org and Amare Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns on a unique campaign to improve attendance for school-aged children. Kids can download free alarm ringtones or send wake-up calls recorded by Amare himself to their friends. Check it out at http://www.boostup.org/wakeup/ or watch the video here.
Read the press release here: