Pitch – Using Mobile as a Cold Acquisition Tool

Pitch Entertainment Group  is a global mobile entertainment company, headquartered in London, providing mobile phone content and mobile community solutions. In November 2006, it launched Pitch, a UK mobile social network, (www.pitch.mobi)  which has consistently doubled its membership every month. Pitch members have access to unlimited free mobile content including ringtones and wallpapers and can upload their own photos, blogs and other content. In return for this members agree to accept up to three targeted advertising messages per week.
Pitch sees the market advancing towards a point where a multichannel approach to reaching consumers will be essential for the existence of consumer brands. Mobile is still a new medium, but is going to be key and Pitch predicts that it will eventually overtake the web as the most effective direct marketing channel as it is so accessible and personal; consumers have developed a personal relationship with their phones, using them not just as a tool but an extension of their social network.
Also in 2006, the company expanded its international operations to five new countries. Pitch asked Come & Stay for support in launching its Splash Mobile brand internationally, and generating subscribers to the service. Germany and Spain are now Pitch’s largest markets. Worldwide, the company has over 250,000 subscribers.
Pitch uses a number of channels to market, including the Internet, TV, email and direct marketing to consumers’ handsets. Currently 90% of the company’s marketing budget is spent on WAP pushes, with one week’s free content as the call to action/incentive, though in the next few years, Pitch expects the marketing mix to change to about 40% WAP pushes/banners, 30% TV and 30% email and other media. WAP push campaigns were chosen initially as the most obvious marketing tool to sign up subscribers, as users who are interested in mobile content are more likely to respond to mobile marketing messages. But now Pitch has reached a threshold of users, and believes it needs to make itself more accessible to the later adopters of mobile content who are less likely to respond to mobile calls to action.
Pitch engaged Come & Stay to devise the SMS and WAP mobile campaigns to a key target audience of 16-35 year old male and female mobile phone owners in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway and Belgium. Pitch used the Come & Stay mobile marketing platform and gateway to broadcast the messages, and Come & Stay’s opted-in consumer mobile database to select the lists. In most countries the full database of young consumers was targeted for a test campaign. WAP campaigns can easily go wrong, which is why rigorous testing was carried out to test the WAP links and download times. The test campaigns took anywhere between one day and one week to plan, execute and analyze.
The campaigns were targeted during certain times of the year when response was expected to be higher, including Valentines Day, Christmas and Easter, with the incentive of one week’s worth of free mobile content. Pitch and Come & Stay opted to use SMS and WAP, as opposed to MMS, due to the budget constraints, and the lack of brand uplift that it was felt would be achieved by using imagery. A simple message read: ‘Get 3 free ring-tones from Splash together with a WAP link and the Unsubscribe instructions.
The international marketing team at Pitch worked with Come & Stay to target the right audience, to write the messages in the local language, to tailor the messages per country, and to test and analyze the response per country.
The campaigns have generated between 5-15% response to the call to action, with a 1% conversion to new members. The Swedish campaign alone generated 9,500 new members and what Come & Stay describes as: “a pleasing ROI.”
“The response from the initial tests have persuaded us of the benefit of undertaking a Europe wide campaign with Come & Stay, and they have proved to us they can deliver a consistently good response across all countries,” says Pitch Data Acquisition Specialist, Harry Dewhirst. “The test campaign in Sweden was an amazing success, with 9,500 new subscribers. The list was of top quality and permission of users guaranteed. With Come & Stay, we can gain a worldwide deal and at the same time have one point of contact with our global account manager. Promises have been kept and the staff are very efficient and trustworthy.”