Not Another Trade Body

David Murphy

Nick Fuller, Chair of the DMAs recently-formed Mobile Marketing Council, explains the thinking behind the Councils creation

As with any emerging market, one of the most important challenges we in mobile face is explaining and educating potential users of its benefits. While the networks and content owners may address consumers, it is us who must address advertisers and marketers.  This is simpler than it looks when you consider the degree of confusion in the mind of marketing budget holders and the disproportionate number of Trade Associations for a trade thats so new. Readers may therefore wonder why the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has thrown its hat into this ring alongside all those other well loved acronyms, from the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) through the MEF (Mobile Entertainment Forum) to the MDA (Mobile Data Association).
The simple answer is that mobile is an ideal Direct Marketing channel. Clients, however, are most frequently asking us: How does it work?; what can I do with it?; how much will it cost?; and wheres my ROI?  Direct Marketers live and breathe measurement, so we ought not to be surprised. Giving straightforward answers, however, is often not as simple as it seems.

Over the hurdles
Once we can convince potential marketers
that they need not be limited to just 160 characters, that there are
proven ways of collecting data via mobile, and that the apparently
frightening legislation is actually very positive, they are over the
first DM hurdles. Next, they want to find the real and practical
applications that deliver value to their business and this is often
not the mobile staples with which the industry is most identified, such
as interactivity through voting, sales promotion through txtnwins, or
content through ringtone sales. So many direct marketers introduction
to mobile is through direct response fulfilment or customer service
alerts, and thats no bad thing, because they produce solid measurable
results that address what can sometimes be seen as the nebulous claims
of some market evangelists.
A key strand of this education process
is the DMAs Mobile Marketing Workshops, which have been well attended
and have garnered very positive responses. We took the view that these
should be workshops rather than solely presentations, because we know
from experience that the medium comes alive when people can see it. For
this reason, we have shown hands-on demos from the client's
perspective: how to set up, manage and measure campaigns, as well as
from the consumers perspective: what they see and get from the
interaction. On top of the Best Practice initiative which fits
alongside the Associations overall Code of Practice, we aim to build a
comprehensive resource that will support marketers entering and using
the medium.
Like many parts of the industry too, we recognise the
importance of research in this educational process. This applies both
to the consumer perception (how many of us have clients who simply
dismiss the medium as being solely for kids?) and to the marketers
expectation of where their spend will go. These are priorities for us
as they are for most in the industry, and the DMA has made a start by
including mobile within its comprehensive Consumer Perception survey
release in the last month or so.

Trained on mobile

marketers are embracing digital media at some pace. They may have
started with e-mail or online but they have a real eye trained on
mobile. The decision to form the Mobile Marketing Council has been
driven by this, and by the very real need to provide a source of
information and education, alongside some specific areas of lobbying
that will protect and develop our industry. It is heartening that the
current Council includes representatives of mobile specialists, ad
agencies, clients and media owners, because it is exactly this mix that
will best support the growth of mobile as a direct medium.
marketers are already embracing location-based services, ticketing and
WAP, so no one should imagine that these crusty old envelope stuffers
are simply miles behind.  The growth of mobile payment systems too will
be music to the ears of direct marketers always looking to ease the
response process towards conversion. According to Bellweather, digital
and DM are the only two ad budgets holding steady or increasing these
days - so they ought to make perfect bedfellows.