Mobile marketing" used to just refer to phones, but that's no longer the case. These days, you could be referring to an iPad or maybe no phone at all. Your marketing campaign could be embedded in an app or a QR code or a Facebook link or maybe a combination of all three.
As the definition of mobile evolves, marketers have an opportunity to stake out some new turf — the segment is so new that no rulebook exists yet. Because of the open-ended nature of the technology, there are really no limits to your ideas.
Of course, the Wild West can be intimidating, too. That's why we're showcasing some recent examples that might inspire you to try something different with your mobile marketing campaign.
1. Renault's Phone-Less Facebook Checkin
Sure, a lot of people have the Facebook app on their smartphones, but why limit yourself? That was the thinking behind a promotion for Renault during the Amsterdam Motor Show in April. Attendees were given RFID-enabled cards that they could use to check in to pillars near Renault's cars. Then, they could check in on Facebook and "like" various models.
Renault wasn't the first brand to try its hand at phone-less mobile Facebook access. In summer 2010, Coca-Cola launched a program at its amusement park in Israel that let kids check in and "like" various attractions.
Innovation: Realizing that Facebook checkins don't require a phone or a PC.
2. Diesel's Facebook-Enabled QR Codes
A program by clothier Diesel offered a twist on the Renault idea. Instead of offering phone-less access to Facebook, it let consumers use QR Codes to do the same thing. In this case, if you "liked" a product, you got a discount on it, which seems like a fair exchange for basically advertising the item to all your Facebook friends.
If near field communications takes off, you could take this idea even further and eliminate the QR Codes. Or you could offer the "like" discounting for phone-less Facebook access.
Innovation: Linking QR codes to Facebook "likes."
3. Macy's QR Code Explanations on YouTube
When Macy's launched a QR Code program in February, the brand was careful not to leave its customers behind. Since not everyone who shops at the department store is necessarily tech-savvy, the brand released a video on YouTube explaining the program to the laypeople. Macy's also made sure that you could still participate in the program even if you don't have a smartphone — which is the case for about 70% of Americans — by texting.
Offering the same versatility, The Home Depot also made sure when it launched a QR Code program in March that customers with display phones could access the program by texting.
Innovation: Recognizing that many target customers aren't very tech savvy.
4. Starbucks Mobile Payments
In many cases, a mobile campaign is mostly a novelty and consumers are excited by the newness of using their phones in a different way. But back in January, Starbucks introduced a program that made it easier for customers to buy coffee. The brand was ahead of the curve on mobile payments, a segment that is still in its infancy in the U.S.
In March, Starbucks revealed that the plan, which relied on customers using the Starbucks Card Mobile iPhone and BlackBerry apps, was a success. Some 3 million people at that point had paid using the app. For customers, there's a clear benefit to using the technology — it lets you pay faster.
Innovation: Providing utility, rather than just novelty in a mobile app.
5. Coldwell Banker's "Branded Video" Ad
Realtor Coldwell Banker promoted its iPad app in late May with a new Google ad format called "Branded Video" that featured a clickable video ad. The ad, pictured above, appeared as a banner or as an interstitial before an app. Instead of just launching video, consumers had the option to click to see more. The campaign saw interaction rates of upward of 7%, which is much higher than the standard 0.01% click-through rate for banners.
Innovation: Employing an innovative new ad format.