With mobile marketing such a hot topic, we have opened the Search Marketing Standard magazine vault to bring out one of our most popular interviews to date — Cindy Krum of Rank-Mobile, LLC talking about the future of mobile. The interview is from our Summer 09 issue and not only is it interesting in its own right, but evaluating Cindy’s comments in light of the enormous changes in the mobile sphere since the interview was printed continues to be thought-provoking. We’ve split the original interview into three parts over the remainder of March. If you are a subscriber to Search Marketing Standard magazine, refer to your Summer 09 issue if you want to read it in its entirety all at once; if you’re not already a subscriber, it’s an example of the kind of great content you are missing out on (visit our Products page to find out more and subscribe!).
SMS: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Cindy. You are an outspoken advocate for mobile marketing and a frequent speaker at major industry events. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, how you got into this field, and some of the things you’re working on right now.
Cindy: My background is in search engine optimization and web marketing; I have always been fascinated by communication, and what makes ideas or suggestions compelling to different people. I became interested in mobile marketing when I was doing some research and realized that no one was really talking about it. Before the iPhone was even a rumor, mobile marketing seemed like an immense opportunity to me.
I have been speaking for the past three years about mobile marketing and mobile search engine optimization — I am very passionate about both subjects. At the end of last year, I left the interactive agency I was working for to start my own company, Rank-Mobile, and focus more on mobile marketing. My goal with Rank-Mobile is to help companies effectively integrate mobile marketing into their existing marketing initiatives. I am also working on a book for Pearson Publishing, called The Truth About Mobile Marketing. It will introduce a lot of available mobile marketing strategies and tactics.
SMS: There has been a lot of talk about online/offline integration in the past year or two. We even ran a cover story on conversion attribution and the difficulties marketers face when measuring the impact of offline campaigns on search. In the past, you’ve mentioned that mobile devices could be used to bridge that gap when it comes to collecting and measuring data. What are some of the ways you believe that mobile can be used to help integrate online/offline marketing?
Cindy: Attribution is one of the most difficult parts of a marketer’s job, whether they are working online or offline. In a down economy, where marketing budgets are being cut left and right, attribution becomes even more important. Mobile marketing is a great way to make offline marketing — previously static and untrackable — interactive and trackable.
If you think about it, marketers can have a very difficult time determining the effectiveness of TV, radio, and outdoor advertising. In most cases, all you have is a visibility statistic that tells you, in general, how many watchers, listeners, or passers-by were exposed to your marketing message, but that doesn’t tell you anything about how engaging those people found your marketing message. When you allow people to respond to your advertisement through their mobile device, it becomes interactive and trackable. You can actually get real information about how well your offline marketing is working, and you can further engage people who are interested in what you have to say.
There are a few companies doing a great job integrating mobile marketing into their outdoor posters and billboards in subway stations, at bus stops, and in airports. These are excellent locations to integrate mobile marketing because people are frequently waiting around and open to any type of brief interaction that will help pass the time. You must be careful, however, to stick to places that have good cell reception, which can be a bit tricky in subways and bus stations.
I have also noticed that some companies are doing a good job using mobile to learn more about TV and radio audiences. It is simple enough to encourage participants to text in to participate in a contest, cast a vote, or make a comment that can be aired live on a TV or radio program. You can also offer more long-term value by offering to send SMS alerts when a favorite show or song is about to air, or to remind you of special events the station is sponsoring.
QR codes have not taken off in the United States, but I believe they will soon. QR codes, otherwise known as 2D bar codes, are small, square dot groupings. These codes can be scanned by the camera in a mobile phone in order to enter a phone number, web address, or bring up a text or picture message. I believe these will be a very important way that marketers will track the success of their offline marketing campaigns in the future. They can be used in signs, as well as in newspapers, magazines, and flyers.
(To be continued …)
Cindy Krum is the Chief Executive Officer of Rank-Mobile, LLC. She brings fresh and creative ideas to her clients, speaking at national and international trade events about mobile web marketing, social network marketing and international SEO. Cindy also writes for industry publications, and has been published in Website Magazine, Advertising & Marketing Review, Search Engine Land, ODG Intelligence, and quoted by many respected publications including PC World, Internet Retailer, TechWorld, Direct Magazine and Search Marketing Standard.
Cindy also served as the co-chair of the SEMPO Emerging Technologies Mobile Web Task Force, and is an active member of the search community. Cindy is passionate about bringing creative online marketing solutions to clients, and working with clients to develop high level mobile and international marketing strategies.