Goin’ mobile? Leave those Strategies Behind

The numbers are on the table: three billion mobile connections in Asia Pacific at the end of Q1 2012, according to the GSM Association. Google’s Our Mobile Planet research concurs: smartphone penetration in Asia Pacific beats growth rates in every other region by a mile.

By Sanjana Chappalli, Lewis PR

Expectedly, the explosion in mobile connectivity has created a buzz among marketing and communication  professionals in the region as they scramble to understand user behaviour and adapt communication campaigns accordingly. There are plenty of buzzwords to go around as well: “mobile marketing,” “mobile site optimisation,” “mobile SEO,” “augmented reality apps” and so on. 
Despite the slew of buzzwords, a communication campaign for mobile platforms can be remarkably easy to adopt and execute. Mobile marketing is, quite simply, marketing to mobile devices. Here are a few strategies to note, especially if you are in Asia Pacific:

SMS/Text Messages


When I mentioned mobile marketing to an industry colleague, her immediate response was a telling one: “Don’t tell me you want to spam people with text messages.” (I didn’t want to, but that is a different story.) 
In Asia Pacific, there are markets where mobile network coverage does not necessarily extend to 3G. As a result, marketing messages are still delivered via SMS/text messages—much to the annoyance of subscribers. In India, the daily limit of 200 text messages per subscriber was recently lifted, and subscribers can choose to opt out of such message blasts from marketing companies.
#Fail: Text messages don’t have embedded links for users to click and access more information. The chances of users pasting URLs onto their mobile browsers are very remote.
#UpcomingTrend: Geomarketing— sending location-based messages to subscribers. For instance, SingTel, a leading network provider in Singapore, markets its roaming services to all subscribers who enter Changi Airport.

QR Codes


Quick Response (QR) codes spawned from Asia, and these monochromatic squares have made their way to milk cartons, shopping bags and even buses. However, the impact of QR codes on website traffic has been dismal. If a communications professional advocates inclusion of QR codes in your marketing campaign, you might want to take caution.
#Fail: It is naïve to assume that mobile users will download QR code readers, scan or photograph your particular code and visit your website to access information.
#StillUsed: The only companies in Asia Pacific successfully using QR codes nowadays are those marketing loyalty rewards (PointPal, Perx, etc).



Unlike the preceding two, apps have been successfully used as a mobile marketing strategy. Nonetheless, it should be noted that universal adoption of this strategy hasn’t helped with marketing.Like in other regions, mobile apps are quite popular in Asia Pacific. Companies across different sectors—from insurance companies to B2B tech companies—have released mobile apps. Mobile apps may be the latest style statement, but it is important to remember that they are not marketing tools in themselves.
#Fail: Simply releasing mobile apps in Google Play, Apple’s App Store or BlackBerry’s App World may not necessarily help you reach your target audience. If they can’t find the app, they won’t use it.
#QuestionsToAsk: Questions you might consider before planning a mobile app development project: How integral are mobile apps to the business as a whole? What business requirement does the app fulfil? What value does it add for your customers/users?