Monday, March 19, 2007

Yes - It's Not Working!

I've recently started to believe the hype around mobile marketing and wanted to try something/anything to see how it all works. I jumped in with two feet and quickly learned that the mobile marketing landscape is pretty much a mess. I read a lot and talked to a few vendors and learned all about the different carriers, the high cost of transactions and different technologies (MMS, SMS, WAP, etc). Because of my relatively small brain, I got quickly confused, just before depression set in. I plunged forward anyway.

We struggled to find the right marketing approach and eventually settled on using a mobile messaging strategy to support an online petition to stop violence against women. The thought was: once users sign the petition they can give us their mobile number (U.S. carriers only please!) and we'd send them periodic updates on how the petition was going.

Before settling on this "information strategy" we considered a donations campaign and even thought through creating an IRC "mobile club" that would give subscribers access to special content (wallpapers, icons and ringtones). We nixed that idea though because of the cost structure (a huge % of each payment would go to the carriers) that it was premature and inappropriate at this time. We also had the thought that maybe we should try walking before running.

In any case, there was good news and bad news. The best news comes directly from this attempt failing pretty badly. With more than 5,800 signatures and 7 registered mobile subscribers we learned that no one is taking us up on our offer. We'll need to really figure out if we've got an audience problem or a value proposition problem (my guess is we have a little of both). I'd much rather have an early setback with nothing at stake in ventures like this.

More good news includes the vendor we're working with. The msgme interface is amazingly clean and simple - and provided me with the ability to quickly test and set up my campaign.

The bad news is that mobile marketing (like anything) isn't as simple as we were hoping. Hope not being a strategy, this shouldn't have been surprising. We'll continue to try to find new ways to build relationships with our constituents and I'll keep letting you know what works and what doesn't.

In the meantime - please sign our petition to stop violence against women!

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