Competing With National Brands on Mobile Campaigns
So much of what makes the mobile marketing opportunity so innovative and compelling is that it enables advertisers to target consumers with unprecedented precision, employing demographic variables like location, gender, age, and income to deliver messages directly to the customers that companies most desire to reach.
While any given small business can leverage the mobile channel to interact with consumers in and around its local market, large corporations can now exploit the same opportunity, reaching out to specific geographies and demographics in ways that conventional national advertising campaigns simply can’t match. And that’s bad news for SMBs, who’ve long relied on their home-field advantage to deliver the kind of localized, personalized customer experience that bigger brands previously couldn’t match.
Case in point: A recent Vicks Behind Ear Thermometer campaign executed by hyper-local mobile ad network WHERE, acquired by eBay-owned PayPal in April 2010.
WHERE cross-indexed Google and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data to enhance the targeting effectiveness of the campaign, pinpointing mothers in U.S. regions that indicated significant numbers of flu sufferers. The mobile ads were scheduled to appear only if consumers traveled within two miles of a retailer that carried the thermometer—not independent, locally owned drug stores, of course, but national retailer partners like Target, Walmart, Babies R Us, Rite Aid and Walgreens. If the mobile subscriber matched all the specified criteria, WHERE served an in-app banner ad, reading “Flu levels in your area are high. Be prepared with Vick’s revolutionary Behind Ear Thermometer,” followed by the locations of nearby retailers.
“This kind of highly targeted mobile ad campaign is standard practice at WHERE and is the cornerstone for the demand generation side of PayPal’s vision for the future of shopping,” writes WHERE president and CEO Walt Doyle on the PayPal Blog. “WHERE’s patented geo-fence and geo-targeting technology enables advertisers to deliver mobile ad campaigns that are both hyper-local and hyper-relevant. WHERE has conducted campaigns with real time content delivery customized by real time external data such as flight-delay data, weather, scores of sports games, product inventory and more.”
How do small businesses compete? It’s simple: They rely on the kind of ground level, homegrown intelligence national competitors and big-box retailers can never replicate.
Mobile promotions like the Behind Ear Thermometer campaign are undoubtedly revolutionary, but they hinge on publicly available data. Small businesses embedded within the communities they serve will always have an advantage: They understand their customers intimately and grasp their wants, needs and demands on levels that Google data, CDC updates and meteorological forecasts can’t possibly begin to approximate. Small businesses actually know their market and their clientele, but national brands only know about them. Combine that with the targeting tools mobile offers advertisers of all sizes, and SMBs can’t just compete with the big boys—they can still beat them at their own game.
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