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LBS & tourism through the eyes of a postgrad marketing student in New Zealand.

Monday, April 04, 2005

That's why it's called permission-based marketing...

Via textually: College students space out cellphone ads

[EDIT: Unfortunately, the article is now only available to registered readers, so I decided to reproduce the whole thing here]
College students space out cellphone ads
Published April 3, 2005

MUNCIE, Ind. -- College students are being bombarded with cellphone advertisements through instant and text messaging, but few remember much about the product or company, says a new study from Ball State University's Center for Media Design.

The study of 1,171 students at Ball State in February found one in four students reported receiving advertisements on their cellphones. Only 5 percent of those getting ads were able to recall the business and only 1 percent of all students responded to any ad offers. Nearly 90 percent of the ads remembered were from pornographic Web sites.

"The use of cellphones and instant and text messaging has become ubiquitous on college campuses, overtaking e-mail as the main form of communication," said Michael Hanley, the study's author and an advertising professor.

"This surge in wireless communications is opening a Pandora's Box for advertisers to target the elusive college student. Many advertisers see the cellphone as the best way to reach a segment of the market that traditionally has been hard to reach."

In addition to being unable to recall a particular product, 92 percent of students found unsolicited ad messages annoying and 67 percent were less likely to purchase a product from a business sending instant message cellphone ads.

"It's no wonder students don't like to receive unsolicited ad messages because they often have to pay for the text message or call received," Hanley said. "Even though it's illegal to send unsolicited ads to cellphones, the number of ads continues to grow.

"If an advertiser is sending a message but the receiver isn't paying attention--or worse, is annoyed to get the ad--it's a wasted effort," he said.

Advertising to cellphones is a recent phenomenon, having grown from modest activity in 2000 to today, when 43 percent of text messages sent are "spim," a term used to describe spam on cellphones and messaging services, Hanley said.

The online study of college students also found:
- 97 percent had a cellphone.
- 68 percent sent text messages with their cellphones.
- 14 percent sent instant messages with their cellphones.
- 50 percent listed instant messaging as their top choice in communicating.
- 44 percent said they couldn't live at college without instant messaging.
Kind of Blindingly Obvious, but it's always nice to see studies confirming what we already know - that mobile marketing must be permission-based. Of course, spammers don't really care about legalities or ethical behaviour - but there are authorities who deal with those sorts of people. Our job as responsible marketers (not an oxymoron!) is to offer easily-customisable opt-in mobile marketing that creates a conversation between the firm and the customer. It probably all sounds very familiar because it's frequently repeated throughout the blogosphere and beyond, but that's because it's a good mantra to have.

On the other hand, people respond quite positively to mobile marketing when they're in control - they may even thank you for advertising to them (as seen in Russell Buckley's ZagMe white paper)! All this is really nothing new, yet I still hear stories about people being spammed on their mobiles. So I'll keep repeating the importance of obtaining permission in the hope that more will jump on the permission-bandwagon.

The best kind of marketing strategy is grounded in common sense. In this case, spam = bad for both you and your customers, especially mobile spam. Let's not forget that!
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