Here's a recent Q&A I did with Campaign Asia magazine, in my role as Online Director for Dell, on the mobile marketing landscape in Asia.
1. For mobile marketing, what are the do’s and don’t’s?
The latest research from our agency, Mediacom, tells us that our customers (IT-savvy consumers and IT professionals) are heavy users of mobile apps and mobile Internet. However, the challenge is that their use of mobile is more personal than it is for business. For example, using Google or Bing Maps to see an address, using local search to find a restaurant or café nearby, or updating your Facebook, Twitter or Weibo profile when they are out and about. This is a concern for technology companies (like Dell) because we don’t want to interrupt or annoy customers who have a low likelihood of using mobile ads to buy an IT product. The buying cycle of a $500+ laptop or a server is quite different to how our customers are using mobile and our challenge is to work out the best way to communicate to them using mobile. It’s still a work-in-progress.
We also find that IT professionals love m-commerce. They will consider buying via a mobile device but they will not tolerate hard selling (location-based marketing, etc.). The definition of “hard selling” in the context of mobile usually means overt advertising. So we need to adopt a more natural and contextual approach to providing information on mobile – more information and less advertising.
2. What ‘mistakes’ you have you made in mobile marketing, and what are the learning points from this experience?
There are no mistakes, only learning opportunities. Dell is fundamentally is a test and learn organization, so even if a marketing campaign doesn’t meet our initial forecast there’s always great learnings we can take into account for the next campaign or quarterly activity. What we specifically learned about mobile is that mobile apps that are downloaded by existing customers are fantastic for customer self-service. For example, an IT manager who has the Dell mobile app can check their order status, review e-support information, view product videos and walk-throughs and contact their Dell account manager. This is extremely relevant and useful to an existing Dell customer. For mobile advertising, we’ve had less success. Ads on mobile internet sites give us a below average click through and site visit numbers compared to web/online advertising, search and social media. Dell has a long heritage and has perfected the performance marketing model and we’re still trying to understanding where or even if mobile advertising can work in a similar way.
3. How do you measure the ROI for mobile marketing?
The major advantage Dell has is our strong heritage in e-commerce and our direct business. This means that we drive most of our transactions through to an e-commerce (or m-commerce) platform and we have immediately identifiable ROI measurement.
4. What is your ad spend for mobile (by percentage)?
We spend approximately 50% of our consumer and SMB marketing budget in digital in Asia. The key vehicles we use are Email, Search Marketing, Affiliates, Online Advertising and Social Media Marketing, in both a brand and performance marketing context. Right now mobile marketing is less than 5% of the digital marketing spend and is still considered more of a “trial” or “nice to have” rather than advertising we must do. This is because the buying cycle of a laptop or business technology simply doesn’t match the current usage of mobile devices. When mobile devices become more aligned to how customers research technology purchases, the spend will increase.
5. Android has taken over iOS. How does this impact for you, as a brand?
This doesn’t make any real difference to Dell as a brand. The only sales and marketing implications are that if we’re going to build an m-commerce or customer self-service application it needs to be build for Android and iOS (as well as BlackBerry).
6. What is the newest thing in mobile marketing/social for you?
The newest and biggest thing in mobile is the upcoming release of Windows 8 by Microsoft. This is a game-changer. The interface is beautiful and bridges the gap between touch screen applications and traditional mouse point-and-click applications. Windows 8 will bring iPad-like functionality to all technology devices and this will mean that content and apps will become more portable, universally available on any device and touch/gesture enabled.