Week Nine – Mobile Communications and Advertising

21 Apr

As my understanding of digital communications has developed, mobile communications has intrigued within the advertising, marketing and communications sector, as initially introduced to us in a lecture from Matt Findel-Hawkins (Nikkei BP Europe). Since this lecture about the technology involving mobiles and the possibilities for advertisers, many interesting developments have come to my attention within the industry.

McStay (2009) identified mobile advertising as one of “the most lucrative of markets, due to the ubiquity of mobile phones and that users mostly have them with them at all times”. It is clear that the sector is set to expand rapidly in the next few years, with MediaBrands (2009) forecasting the sector to be worth £14.5 billion in 2015/2016, with an increase of 36%. This could potentially mean that mobile advertising could represent 17.5% of the digital communications market place (Benarroch, MediaBrands report, 2010). However this is only an estimated potential. In my opinion for the potential to be reached the industry needs to think of innovative ways to engage consumers with their advertising message. The message needs to strike interest, entertain or be relevant to the consumer.

In a recent report from Juniper (2011), there are some key strategies than can be used to achieve optimal success from mobile advertising. These have been identified as SMS and MMS but with more focus on Mobile Internet and Mobile TV. However, surely the success of the latter two can only increase as the population increase the number of smartphones being used? Currently smartphone usage has risen by 32% withinEuropeto 51.6 million users, with 45% of this being 15-24 year olds (Hill, Ofcom report, 2010). However as Roper from ComScore stated (2011) the slightly slower increase of Smartphone usage may be due to the recession and the higher prices of new phones on the market place and this could affect the development of the mobile marketing sector. Such mobile advertising techniques that are currently being used on mobile internet are Google Adwords, after the acquisition of the mobile advertising firm from AdMob (The Guardian, 2010).

As Smartphones are being used by a vast amount of people– but not yet all – SMS and MMS marketing may increase in importance. As Swallow (2010) mentions, “SMS is one of the most popular communication methods in the world” advertisers would be stupid to not explore this area in more depth to market products. Currently I feel this medium is not used to its full potential. I believe this may be due to a fear of invading a consumer’s personal space with an ad. But there may be ways of getting around this – if a consumer was asked permission to receive adverts on their mobile then more attention may be paid to the context received. SMS marketing could provide a “one-on-one dialogue with the customer”, which a flashy app may not be able to do (Philbin, Vibes Media, 2010).

Another area I believe could prove successful within the sector is Geo-Location. The location-centric mobile apps could give advertisers the chance to engage with their consumers in an easy way with the ability to reach many friends to show where you have been – for example: Starbucks and would appear on the newsfeed on the Facebook app. Although this may seem like a great way forward, a recent survey has shown that only 4% of adult internet-using population has utilised the service (Gellert, 2011). In my opinion this marketing strategy could be popular among mobile users, but may need time to catch on, as if friends through Facebook see an increasing amount of people using it, the usage may increase.

An awards ceremony by the Carphone warehouse was set up, called “The Appy Awards” on the 10th of April this year. The winners included some of the world’s biggest online-brands, such as Facebook App winning the best time waster and Spotify winning best music service award. Warman (Guardian, 2011) reported “although free apps dominated the awards, they did typically come with an initial purchase cost”. This may show how mobile users are expecting to be entertained in an innovated way with a small or no price tag. In an article published in the Wall Street Journal (2011), the amount of time spent on apps by 2030 will be 3.5 hours a day. This shows that the potential for consumers to spend more time on their smartphone, either being entertained or gaining information is there. Maybe mobile advertising needs to be more entertaining rather than a hard sell? As The Wall Street Journal mentioned this is one of the key reason consumers are spending more time engaging with apps?

Recently I have been interested in films and joint 3rd party promotions, due to securing a placement at Warner Bros in the brand-promotions role. The case study of the Angry Birds characters with the new release of the Film “Rio” is an interesting development. Angry Birds is one of the most popular phone app games, reaching over 50 million downloads (BBC, 2011in my opinion this is great innovation, by combining the success of the mobile app with the up and coming film shows a great use of the same target audience and popularity of the product. Cnet News (2011) reported that a new phone app was being revealed in conjunction with the film.


As mobile marketing is on the increase, privacy is enormously important due to the amount of information stored on everyone’s personal phone. A report from Veracode (2011) discovered that some phone apps were gathering information illegally and sells it to marketing agencies like AdMob, which were using the information to advertise to specific target audiences. These kinds of stories within the press make consumers uneasy and weary of using such applications. It reflects un-ethically on the company and in turn does not instil trust to the consumer about sharing information through mobile devices.

In conclusion if company’s can increase a relationship of trust with their consumers to ensure them that their information is only used by them and not sold and the advertising industry continue to create innovative solutions to marketing a brand to a potential consumer the mobile communications sector could reach the potential forecast. However with a lack of innovation and the industry being slack on privacy matters, we could see the consumer rejecting the advertisements. The forecast could drop due to the use of mobile phones being private devices and not wanting to be marketed to in a form which is so personal and risking privacy matters.

References:

 

BBC, 2011. Angry Birds RIO to tie in with 20th Century Fox film.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/12322905 [Accessed: 10th April 2011].

Cnet News, 2011. Angry Birds Rio hits Apple and Amazon app stores.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20045760-1.html [Accessed: 10th April 2011].

ComScore, 2010. UK leads European countries in smartphone adoption with 70% growth in past 12 months.

http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2010/3/UK_Leads_European_Countries_in_Smartphone_Adoption_with_70_Growth_in_Past_12_Months [Accessed: 10th April 2011].

Guardian, Kiss, 2010. Ten years of online advertising with Google Adwords.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/oct/25/advertising-google-adwords [Accessed on 11th April 2011].

Juniper Research, 2010. Mobile Advertising: Delivery channels, Business models & Forecasts 2009-2014 (Second Edition)

http://juniperresearch.com/reports.php?id=182 [Accessed: 11th April 2011].

McStay, A., 2009. Digital Advertising.UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

McStay, 2011. Google and Apple to dominate mobile advertising.

http://advertising-communications-culture.blogspot.com/2010/05/guardian-reports-that-googles-750m.html  [Accessed on 11th April 2011].

Mediabrands, 2009. Mobile Advertising Forecast

http://www.mediabrandsww.com/Attachments/NewsPress/Magna%20-%20Mobile%20Advertising%20Forecast%20-%20May%202009_Final.pdf [Accessed: 9th April 2011].

OfCom, 2010. Consumers spend almost half their working hours using media and communications.

http://media.ofcom.org.uk/2010/08/19/consumers-spend-almost-half-of-their-waking-hours-using-media-and-communications/ [Accessed: 10th April 2011].

Swallow, 2010. Top 5 Mobile Advertising Trends to watch.

http://mashable.com/2010/08/19/mobile-advertising-trends/ [Accessed 9th April 2011].

Telegraph, 2011. Facebook, Skype and Angry Birds win first Appy Awards.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8444716/Facebook-Skype-and-Angry-Birds-win-first-Appy-Awards.html [Accessed: 9th April 2011].

Vercode, 2011. Mobile Apps Invading Your Privacy. http://www.veracode.com/blog/2011/04/mobile-apps-invading-your-privacy/ [Accessed: 9th April 2011].

Vibes Media, Philbin, 2010. Mobile CRM.

http://www.vibes.com/solutions/mobile_crm [Accessed 10th April 2011].

Wall Street Journal, 2011. Mobile-Ad market still faces hurdle.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704422204576130450049300130.html?KEYWORDS=phone+apps [Accessed: 9th April 2011].

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Week Eight – Ethical Issues and Online Media

13 Apr
Doing what is morally right, honourable and following the rules or laws when it comes to online media is extremely fundamental when it comes to the success and reputation of a company and brand. In my opinion, as a consumer and Advertising and Marketing student, this is one of the most important aspects of a company to get right…

Do companies act ethically and conform to regulations when it comes to the online space? This could involve such things as data and information protection when it comes to online applications such as social networks or email. According to Ethisphere only 110 companies online are listed as some of the “World’s most ethical companies” in 2011 – however this shows that there are a great amount of companies that do not necessarily comply to the regulations to make their company ethical.

I believe that ethics when it comes to a company can be the make or break for their brand, they need to be very careful about what they do, say and act online – in order to keep an ethical appearance in the eyes of the consumers – as if they don’t this could be very problematic for their reputation. When it comes to ethical issues in advertising and other communications, this would be easier to have control over, as there are many checks, and something offensive and not right would get noticed and adapted in time. However I believe this may be different with social media and online communications, as it could rely on just one employee updating their Facebook, YouTube or Twitter account with customer feedback or posts – that could backfire if not handled in an ethical manner. As digital media is constantly changing it is becoming increasing important for companies to act ethically – as it is a good way to build consumer trust and relations with a brand.

Although having a Facebook page has become the norm for most companies, as it gives a personal platform for the consumer to engage with the brand. However the Facebook page needs to be monitored carefully and interact with consumers, their comments and opinions in a fair and ethical way – this is shown apparent in a recent example…The organisation PETA staged a take-over of DKNY’s Facebook page to protest against the use of fur within their latest collection. Different users changed their profile photos to letters and posted in succession on the company’s page to spell the words “DK Bunny Butcher” – as the brand was using rabbit fur. Since this, many supporters of the cause have got involved and posted their opinions on the Facebook page – and as the brand has over 200,000 fans, the protesters have reached many people in the process.

Although this obviously reflected badly on the DKNY brand itself, the company should have tried to handle the comments in an ethically correct way as the issue is concerning such important ethical topics. However the employees who deal with the social media aspect of the DKNY Company did not do this at all. Firstly they deleted the comments straight away – without responding to any of the concerns raised by the fans in regard to the PETA message. This caused even more up roar as the current fans of the brand felt unimportant and lost trust for the company. The decision with how to deal with the social media should have maybe been discussed amongst the communications team – as although it is only one aspect of their marketing, advertising and communications – it does have a wide reach and therefore could create negative press for the company. The brand took a long time to respond to further comments left on the page (2weeks) and replied a very short message stating that the fur used in their garments was from a credible source. Although it was a positive move that the company representative responded to the comments – rather than just leaving it – it was not done in a very sympathetic or ethically friendly way – and therefore this results in the page loosing many fans that had joined over the past months. This clearly shows that the updates made by the company need to be made regularly, monitored and checked by others to ensure not offense or negative issues are caused when dealing with ethical issues.

 

Along with this goes, hand in hand with online journalism and ethics. This is something greatly to be considered by bloggers, tweeters and company’s on Facebook. As Reuters explains in the video above – trust is key to any succeeding business and therefore ethics should be a high priority when publishing either articles or posts on a Facebook wall; as the trust of your customers is crucial to the reputation of a company.

Week Seven – Digital Activism

13 Apr

Activism is not a new movement amongst society; it has been around since people have tried to change behaviour, government laws or company ethics. However digital activism is more of a recent movement, since the internet has increased wide spread. Digital activism is the use of online technology, such as the internet, to “create political and social change” by utilising communities of people who agree with the cause (Joyce, 2010).

I feel that as the use of digital tools are constantly changing, such as social media and more recently mobile technology, the tools are playing a much larger part in how consumers choose to vice an opinion. But is that a good or a bad thing?

By using digital technologies to raise awareness for a certain cause, there are many positives that can come of this:

  1. – The technology triggers hype surrounding the issue
  2. – Discussions become more widespread, through online WOM
  3. – Promotions for events or protests are more likely to have a more wide-spread reach
  4. – A buzz is created

An example that has interested m for a long time is that of the ‘Boycott Nestle’ campaign, which began in 1977 due to Nestle giving out free samples of milk formula to poor mothers in Africa and other third world countries. The mothers quickly adapted to using the Nestle formula instead of breast feeding their babies. As a result of this the mothers breast milk dried up, so they were no longer able to feed their children in this way – then Nestle decided to raise the price of the milk formula, and the mothers could not afford it – as previously it was free. This action by Nestle cause initial uproar from the international community and therefore the boycott Nestle came into play.

When this issue occurred digital activism was not in play – and therefore activism consisted of WOM, protests, posters and press coverage. For an individual to get involved with the protest r boycott the engaged physically with the campaign and got involved because they felt very strongly about it, and as a result the boycott campaign was extremely successful and many people heard about Nestles wrong doings in the third world countries.

Recently Nestle has again been involved with in-human ways of business, the use of palm oil to make their Kit-Kats has damaged rainforests and in turn harmed the Orang-utan‘s who lived in the rainforest. Greenpeace launched an online campaign to raise awareness about this, with the hub being on YouTube and Facebook. A viral video was created of a man eating a Kit-Kat which was seen as the animal’s finger being snapped off. Although over 95,000 people viewed the video, and 150,000 People interacted with the Greenpeace Facebook page – I do question how many people actually properly interacted with the real cause at hand – rather than just re-posting a viral to friends on Facebook due to the gross or shock factor.

As if you compare the physical action of someone stopping on the street – reading a leaflet and signing a protest form, with people just clicking ‘like’ on the Boycott Nestle Facebook page, or re-posting a viral video. Do people properly engage and interact with the issue at hand or just get involved because it’s seen as being caring and politically correct on their Facebook social status?! In general I believe online activism is a positive thing, as it creates the initial hype and buzz a campaign needs to get awareness – however as it is so easy for a user to get involved with clicktivism  (as Micah White, 2010, discusses in his articile on the Guardian website) and not be fully passionate or engaged with the issue – I believe the need for traditional forms of activism are still important and should not be a second thought for marketers when promoting a campaign – as the backbone of a successful activism campaign is when you have people involved who are fully passionate and have a true interest in the issue at hand.

Week Six – Digital Privacy

20 Mar

What is privacy? – The “control over knowledge about oneself” (Fried, 1968). But today, privacy is not just about keeping control over information regarding you, it’s much harder than this – as with the internet information can be sought about anyone, anywhere in the world.

Digital privacy is something that affects pretty much all of us, as most people these days use the internet to share information across the web in the form of emails, Facebook, Google searches, Blogs or even tweets. Therefore the word privacy means something totally different now, in comparison to before the realm of the digital age. As the word privacy can be defined as many different things, and it gets even more confusing when you put into the equation the web, this I feel is the main problem with privacy online – as the laws and regulation of online privacy can be stretched by companies as many people define what privacy in a different way.

Within the UK, there is legislation to try and protect internet users from their data being used. Such regulation sand rules that have been put in place are:

  • The Data Protection Act 1998.
  • Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003
  • Information Commissioners’ Office (2010)
  • Freedom of Information Act 2000

 

However although there seem to be many regulations in place to protect the British public from companies using their information to the benefit of corporations or thieves, this does not seem to be working as well as it could be. The risks that can occur are:

–          Identity theft

–          Online/physical stalking

–          Embarrassment

–          Blackmailing

–          Reputational damage

–          Phishing

Taking the example of identity theft, this is increasing vastly as more people use the internet in the form of Facebook or online payment methods. Especially with the use of Facebook, as this is a free online commodity, they have 600m users, however apart from ad sales they do not have much revenue, and therefore data about their consumers is the most valuable asset they own. The same situation lies with Google – as Google provides many free online commodities in the form of: Gmail, YouTube, Google maps etc., they too have to create revenue from their assets, as ad sales are not enough in its own capacity. In 2007 Google was reported to have breached privacy regulations, when they were taking photos for the Google street view they were accused of obtaining information from unsecure networks in local areas. I think that this kind of scandal for such a huge company like Google, could damage their reputation greatly, as all internet users, whatever age you are, is concerned about the privacy of your own information. I believe that although this instantaneously put fear in the minds of the consumers, it was easy to restore confidence in the public, as there is not such a trusted search engine or online company as Google – so people would naturally still use their service as others would not be to the same standard.

Another aspect of online browsing I believe is over stepping the mark for the public’s privacy is the advertising industry. When typing an email in Gmail to a friend the other day, I was talking about a holiday and how I wanted to go somewhere sunny, as the English weather was so dreadful! – Almost instantaneously the banner on the right-hand side of the page changed to an advert for Thompson’s Holidays. This must have meant that Google was able to track the words and meanings of what I was typing, and target consumers individually in an attempt to directly target people who would hopefully pay attention to the advert – this is called: behavioural targeting. Instead of the desired response of me being interested in the content of the advert, I was shocked at how the advert was being able to target me as a user. I do not think it is morally right for Google to be able to sell such information or data to advertisers to make a promise that they will be able to target consumers through tracking the typing within an email account. As Google owns Gmail, and you as a user are using it as a function, they are able to get around the privacy regulations, however in this ever digital conscious society – I would presume that Google will need to alter their data using habits in a stance to keep the trust of their users.

 

Week Five – SEO & Google

8 Mar

Search engine optimization (SEO) and Search engine marketing (SEM) has become a strategic tool for organisations to promote and advertise online (Pan et al, 2010). As the majority on consumers in the western world these days tends to search for the best deals, products, ranges etc. online – SEO is an extremely important and critical tool for any company or products success.

When a consumer types a words or a phrase to search for a website or product – let’s be honest who really goes past looking on the first page on the Google search engine?! Therefore it is one of the most crucial marketing decisions for your company to reach the highest possible rank to ensure a high traffic to your site.

Murray (2005) mentioned how search engines are like an election process – all the website that exist are a candidate and each click on your link is a vote. This can be achieved by using Google as a marketing tool to reinforce your positioning for your website and link.

There are two main ways in which a company can go about presenting their companies link or URL to their webpage on Google. Firstly there is the natural search, which is free for any website to use. This works by identifying the content of the webpage and forming this into key words or phrases in which consumers would most likely to search for when looking for your company, therefore text within your site is key and pictures should have a tagline to be able to . The second is a paid for method, which would enable your site to reach the top of the page in the ‘ad’ section. As this method enables you to reach the top of the page after a search has been complete, seems like the most relevant option for the company to go with – however some consumers are aware of the ‘ad’ section and may avoid the links there totally.

The paid for option is extremely popular within organisations as it is an easy thought of route to increase traffic to either the official or a micro site. However I would like to argue, that when consumers are on the internet, this is either for one of two options: information gathering or entertainment. As this is personal times for the consumer to either relax or specifically searching for something – this may be perceived as a nuisance or an invasion of personal space while surfing the net. Although these paid for links are marked within the ‘ads’ box, it is not particularly clear and therefore may be clicked on by accident and result in annoying the consumer and creating a poor perception of your brand, product or company.

As Xiang et al (2010) mentioned search engine marketing can be extremely beneficial for tourist destinations. When searching for a holiday, either accommodation or travel, there is so many companies to choose from. When going on holiday last year to Santorini in Greece, I was searching for a Hotelto stay in, in a little town called Oia. This area is extremely popular with tourists and therefore when searching in Google ‘hotel Santorini’ millions of options came up. Having no idea which to choose I decided to ask a friend for recommendation, and she told me about a great Hotel call ‘Alexanders’. When it comes to booking a hotel, word of mouth is extremely trustworthy as you personally know someone who has visited before. When searching for this hotel in Google it came up as the top search, only if you typed in the exact name of the place. This hotel was absolutely amazing, but the manger mentioned that in the past few years bookings in the summer were not as strong as previous years. I believe that this company would have benefited greatly from Google ad words or even a google natural search for ‘Hotels in Santorini’ or ‘Hotels in Oia’. If the company was within the first page of the natural search I believe so many people would click through to the home page and from there been impressed by the website and reviews etc.

 

Week four – The Seamless Brand

23 Feb

Creating a seamless brand seems somewhat difficult. Creating a brand that is smooth and consistently branded throughout all form of its touch points requires a great deal of attention for detail, interactivity with each aspect of the brand and most importantly innovation.

Verganti (2009) mentions that innovation can be categorised into two management techniques:

–         Radical innovation ( including – Technological innovation)

–         Insight: people buy meanings not a products

His study is useful when analysing some current company brandings, as he explores the way in which designers approach the concept and design of a new product. He identifies three aspects that are involved when in this process:

–         The technology push

–         The market pull (user centred design)

–         Design driven

It helps us to understand that as well as taking into consideration the technology developments happening around us, and as well as the consumers’ needs and wants – the designer must sometimes go-with-the flow of innovation and trust instinct. Henry Ford said:” If you had asked consumers what they wanted, they would have said faster carriages – not a car!” – this helps us understand why sometimes for designers and innovators it is most worthwhile to follow instinct as sometimes inspiration does not come from the consumer – as if it doesn’t exist – they don’t know they want it.

Mike Crossman, from EMC Consulting gave us an interesting guest lecture regarding seamless branding, in particular the digital aspect – the companies websites. The consistent point raised throughout was that whatever the touch point of the brand, it has to have to same consistent message throughout – to crease a smooth positioning.

A great example Mike Crossman gave was the department store Selfridges in London. The complete retail experience, at each and every brand touch point portrays the constant brand position to create a smooth and seamless brand. For example the on-shop floor experience, the packaging, website, and even toilets within the store embrace the values of luxury and trend setting within the retail sector.

The design of a company website is as much at the utmost importance for the company branding as the product itself. A company’s website can be the perfect branding tool within the market sector – each and every aspect:

–         Logos

–         Design

–         Colour ways

–         Layout

–         Font

–         Images

–         Functionality

Encapsulating the technology developments, consumer views and innovation as Verganti mentions, is hard to consider all aspects when evolving your brand. However one brand I feel has given the consumer an excellent ‘creative brand experience’ is Burberry. This is mainly for one reason, on Tuesday 22nd February, Burberry was the very first designer to stream live their London Fashion Week show – on their official website as well as on huge screens in Piccadilly Circus and to over 150 countries.

This was a huge marking point within the fashion industry, as usually each Fashion Week show is keep secretive with an air of exclusivity for those who are fortunate to attend. However they seem to be at the leader of the pack for all things digital. By steaming their catwalk show to over 150 countries through their web page, did not just mean they were able to give a mass viewing potential – but had a re-launch of their website to co-inside with this to ensure that as soon as the consumers had viewed the show – the website gave them the capability to purchase most of the items viewed. This is a perfect example of innovation teamed with the development of new technological online implements.

This design aspect of their website (even after the show had finished) – playing a video of the show in the background of the site – created an enriching brand experience for the consumer, so they felt part of the brand. This design, innovation and technology ‘stunt’ instantly caused a great conversation point within the social media between fashionistas – on many blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

This helped to make the Burberry website and brand more than just about design – but about the website as ‘a way of life’ for the consumer. This shows that the design and innovation is critical to the success of the design and its identity. The Burberry website now allows the viewer to have a high level of engagement and therefore can create the relationship between brand and consumer.

The company website, along with the other main touch points within a company together can create a seamless brand if done so correctly and innovatively.

Week three – Mobile Communications: Developments & Challenges

17 Feb

The technology of mobile phones has developed greatly, especially over the past 10-15 years. With 1G (first generation) phones, which was the development of wireless telephone technology was developed and introduced to the west from Japan in the 1980’s. Second Generation (2G) phones where introduced in the 1990’s, 3G in 2003 and 4G in 2007. Today most people I know at least use a 4G phone, they are becoming the ‘norm’ within the mobile sector, their advantages are great, and some include:

–          The speed at which you can receive data (such as emails) direct to your mobile phone

–          Mobile internet – Access to the World Wide Web through the mobile device

–          The ability to send images, videos and audio messages through MMS

The integration of this new mobile technology has altered the way society go about their day-to-day life. Now mobiles are inherently part of our daily lives, they are the first things we engage with in the morning (turning off your alarm) and the last thing at night – checking for emails and messages. Where would we be without them? As they are such a crucial part of our life, surely this would be the perfect opportunity for marketers to reach consumers on a personal level – engaging with us anytime of the day, where ever you are?

But while all these mobile technological developments are changing our daily lives, there are many people, cultures and countries around the world that are not involved in this huge digital madness on mobiles, this is causing a ‘digital divide’ between people, cultures and countries.

Stump (et al, 2008) researched into exactly this – the digital divide, concentrating on mobile phones and the adoption levels across countries and demographics. He found that different countries, as well as different demographics (such as age) had a huge variation on adoption-levels to using mobile phones.

Over the past 10 or so years the adoptions levels of people over the globe has increased greatly. In the UK alone there are 48million mobile phones, in comparison to 35million PC’s – so we can see that the use of WWW on the mobile device is extensively popular. However although the adoption levels are extremely high, and have been growing in the UK this is not the case across the world. This may be due to a number of factors, some mentioned by Stump in his study:

–          Age

–          Education

–          Wealth

–          Socioeconomic

–          Political

–          Cultural

–          Technological

These are the main factors that Stump recognises are the influences in mobile adoption levels – however not much research has been completed in all of these areas. I believe that when such counties as Iraq start to build up their economy as the war is nearing an end, for the majority of the nation, a 3G mobile will be the first phone they have ever owned. This will be a big culture shock for them as going from the lack of digital technology and thrown into the thick of it – research could be done on how this will affect their culture and development – will it be positive or negative?

Within the Western world such factors as age, wealth or education may affect individuals adopting the use of mobiles, for example the older generation are less likely to use mobile phones as they have not grown up. Also the wealth factor is crucial here, even though western countries generally lower unemployment rates – however this is still very relevant, even in the UK. As smartphones are very expensive these days with the choice and technology available, this instantly

Mobile marketing developments:

–          QR codes

–          Apps

–          SMS/MMS messages to data base

–          WWW coupon usage – eg: McDonalds

Originally my thinking was that Europe was on top of the digital wave, including the mobile developments; however after having a guest lecture from Matt Findel-Hawkins – a mobile-marketing specialist in Japan. This made me realise just how much far advanced Japan is within the use of mobile phones on a consumer and marketing level.

However over the past 6 months marketers within the UK have begun to introduce more creative digital platforms to promote their products to consumers. In particular the use of QR codes has begun to rise. Rohit mentions that Japan have adopted the QR codes for a number of years now on: products, posters, billboards, TV ads and magazine ads. Reportedly now Pepsi have decided to bring this idea to the UK on the back of their cans. The idea is that consumers will scan the code with their mobile and it will direct them to a microsite dedicated to Pepsi.

As this has not been used much within the UK marketers are uneasy to adopt this vastly across Europe. However I believe that as the Code will be on the back of the can, and usually when consumers have packaging in their possession they read the back – maybe out of boredom or out of interest…so maybe this will be a good move for Pepsi – however maybe if QR codes are presented on a TV magazine advert – the engagement may not be as high as their prerogative is not within that brand – it lays with the media, e.g.: reading the magazine or watching the TV – whereas on the back of a branded good the consumer has already made the brand choice so would be more passive to finding out more about that brand.

Costa has also used a similar QR code promotion, by sending SMS message’s to a database they hold of Costa customers – giving them a discount. However I feel that marketers with the Europe will adopt mobile marketing it its extreme as the number of smartphones are increasing continually – but we need to ensure that  it isn’t taken to the extreme as it could back fire and annoy and pester consumers to much – as mobiles are seen as a personal space for the consumer.