Surprisingly, mobile marketing is not proactively calling or texting mobile phones; rather, mobile marketing is primarily responsive in nature. So stated Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief at Mobile Marketer, at the 2008 ATA Convention and Expo. Mickey shared his insights into the opportunity that mobile marketing presents to the contact center. First he explained the impetus behind the exploding interest in mobile marketing:
- Advances in technology produce better handsets and smartphones that include Web access, text messaging capabilities, and camera functions.
- Innovative access plans that include data transactions and flat-rate bundled services.
- An increasing inclination for marketers to engage mobile users via TV, print media, and retail locations.
- Increased interest in mobile coupons to drive consumer traffic to stores.
- Wireless carriers seeking new revenue streams
- …and the Apple iPhone, which has now sold 10 million units.
Next, he shared these facts about the present state of the mobile industry and its exploding growth:
- There are 2.4 billion mobile phone connections worldwide versus one billion computers.
- In the US there are 255 million mobile phone subscribers making it the number three market; China and India are the top two.
- There are about 40 million Web-enabled smartphones in the US; this number will grow rapidly as phones are upgraded.
- Almost all phones in the US currently have texting capabilities.
- Mobile advertising is expected to reach one billion dollars this year and $7.5 billion by 2013 (Jupiter Research).
This creates tremendous business opportunities for call centers to tap into the growth of mobile commerce and marketing. Increasingly, Websites are being optimized for mobile access. Even so, with handsets’ small screens and smaller keypads, typing efficacy is slow and cumbersome. This makes clickable links even more important because of their relative ease of use. Even better is being able to click on a “call me” button in order to obtain timely or critical information directly from an advertiser or their call center.
As such, “call me” is increasingly popular for the mobile Web as it facilitates communication, while decreasing the amount of user scrolling and typing – both of which are tedious and slow on mobile devices. Contact centers are ideally positioned to handle these communications, as they have the staff, the experience, and the expertise needed to be successful.
“As the number of mobile ads increases, so will the quantity of click-to-call actions,” stated Khan. “Be there at that moment,” he advises, as local advertisers will be ill-equipped to handle the call volume and accommodate an expectation for 24×7 access. This is an ideal opportunity for the call center to accommodate. His action plan for call centers to tap into this budding market includes:
- Research targeted market sectors to assess and comprehend their mobile activity.
- Contact existing clients to determine their interest in having mobile “call me” transactions included with their present service package.
- Assign a “mobile marketing point person” to head up this effort, from investigation to planning to implementation.
- Contact and partner with mobile service providers, mobile-centric ad agencies, mobile Website developers, and mobile advertisers, providing backend call center services for the activity that they generate.