The following article was written by Guest Author, Linda Daichendt. Linda is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and the company website at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.
Mobile Marketing Can “Mobilize” Franchising
Given the precarious state of today’s economy, franchise organizations are on ‘high alert’ for new ways of increasing their franchise development capabilities and helping their franchisees to increase revenues. While recent technology advances provide a variety of methodologies that can be useful in achieving these goals, there is one that has only recently come to the forefront of marketer’s awareness – Mobile Marketing. While you may not yet have heard a lot about it, be assured that in the very near future, you will need to know as much about it as you previously needed to know about direct mail, telemarketing, radio or TV.
Consider the cell phone and its capabilities if you will: recent studies indicate that there are currently more than 272 million mobile phone users in the U.S. (89% of the total population); of those phones, 99% are text capable and 57% of those mobile subscribers use texting on a regular basis; 15% of active mobile phones have the ability to utilize mobile web applications and 44 million people regularly access the mobile web from their cell phones; and over 84% of cell phone owners won’t leave home without the device. These statistics lend legitimacy to the school of thought that indicates that Mobile Marketing is likely to become a substantial portion of corporate marketing budget expenditures within the next few years.
Given that, marketers will likely be intrigued by the following facts about Mobile Marketing derived from recent studies: over 80% of consumers respond to SMS messages within 1 hour; 23% of SMS campaign messages are forwarded and become viral; and the messages sent via mobile are actionable and trackable thru specific consumer replies.
I recently gave a presentation to a group of franchisors and franchisees on the topic of Mobile Marketing for franchises, and how its use can aid franchise growth and profitability. I was very pleased by the group’s positive response and interest in the topic, and the many excellent questions that were posed by the event attendees. Given the high level of interest by that group, I thought blog readers from the franchising industry might have an interest in the topic as well. Therefore, I wanted to share some basic Mobile Marketing information, as well as provide several ideas for how it can be utilized in a franchising environment.
First, let’s review what it is. Mobile Marketing is a simple to use, targeted and measurable method of reaching consumers anywhere, anytime via their mobile phones. There are a variety of methods of Mobile Marketing, among them are:
• SMS (short message service)
o Also known as ‘texting’
• MMS (multi-media message service)
o Messages that contain multi-media objects such as images, video and audio
• Mobile Web
o Browser-based web services such as the World Wide Web using a mobile device
• Bluetooth (short-range wireless technology; up to approx. 33 ft)
o Also known as proximity marketing
o The localized wireless distribution of advertising content associated with a particular place. In other words, if you have a cell phone in the proximity of a marketing broadcast, you would be able to receive a message or advertisement
• Location-Based Marketing
o Delivers multi-media directly to the user of a mobile device dependent upon their location via GPS technology
• QR Codes (quick-response barcodes)
o Two-dimensional barcode
Next, let’s review several ways in which franchise organizations can utilize Mobile Marketing; these ideas include:
• a franchisor can communicate with all franchisees in their organization at one time via text message to remind them about an upcoming deadline or special event, insuring a timely and consistent message delivery
• a fitness club franchise can post class schedules or let potential customers sign up for an initial free visit on their mobile device
• a restaurant franchise can post seasonal menus or send coupons to their customer database
• a plumbing franchise can list rates and emergency numbers for consumer referral
• a franchisor can send voice messages to a group of prospective franchisees taking part in the franchise development process all at once; the franchisor can insure that all receive the same accurate version of the message, and they can save payroll costs because it takes only moments to have the message sent once instead of hours for personnel to make the calls directly
• many, many other ways that will drive business growth thru franchise development and/or increased consumer demand
Mobile Marketing is extremely cost-effective and results in very satisfactory ROI; with a typical ROI of 10 – 12% and returns as high as 30% reported on some campaigns. According to Nielsen Mobile, half of all U.S. mobile data users, or 28 million people, who recall seeing mobile advertising in the previous 30 days say they responded to a mobile ad.