A powerful and natural message
You can't always get what you want. But what if you really could? A marketer's dream is an available reality, where one can increase brand awareness and directly drive action -- with targeted demographics -- all through a media used in everyday life. It just requires recognition of new options that already exist and the common sense to take advantage of them. This opportunity lies in leveraging the strongest media platform, television, with the next evolution of mobile media.
Interactive television, or iTV, which uses the mobile phone as the response mechanism to content from within a show, is an ideal media. It has visual impact, sound possibilities and the internet. And it is already in more than 253 million consumers' hands. The mobile phone offers true interactivity, and if leveraged properly, it can guide the consumer to a powerful brand experience.
Producers add these interactive elements to their shows for several reasons. By engaging the viewer through games or voting, the entertainment factor becomes more encompassing, and hopefully makes the overall show itself more intriguing. Many of these services run only within the timeframe of the actual broadcast, so it can also minimize the impact of DVR usage, making broadcasters happy. Additionally, many early adopters of iTV charge consumers a premium of around $1 per play or vote, creating an additional revenue stream from the show itself. Shows ranging from "American Idol" to "Deal or No Deal" to "Make Me a Supermodel" have made interactivity a fundamental aspect of their shows.
These interactions usually consist of the viewer responding to a call-to-action from within the show, which may be further teased by the host. The consumer calls into an 800-number, or more popularly, sends in a text message from their mobile phones. Both of these processes, as a byproduct, have created real media that can feature brand messages and drive direct actions from the consumer's phone. Audio placements can be used in the dial-in scenario and response text messages in a text-in environment. Currently, this space is mostly unused by advertisers. Considering that text messages actually get read by the recipient, why would a brand not take advantage of that visibility? It is unfiltered (as third-party mobile delivery is much more controlled than email) direct advertising with opportunities for clickable direct action. If you combine that platform with a TV spot or product placement, you have delivered a very powerful -- and natural -- message to the consumer.
Author notes: Jordan Greene is VP, head of mobile marketing at MindMatics.