Best Practices in Mobile Marketing
A best practice is a technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has proven to reliably lead to a desired result. Once best practices are determined, commitment is the key to ensuring success in overall adoption and support.
The Mobile Marketing Association and its members have developed the Consumer Best Practices Guidelines to ensure that, as the mobile-content market develops, consumers not only have a positive mobile experience, but also are treated fairly by all in the value chain.
Most important in establishing best practices is to ensure appropriate representation from the companies and/or individuals in the ecosystem. Representation is important not only from a knowledge and awareness perspective, but also to ensure adoption of the guidelines once published. Released twice annually, these guidelines are developed by the industry through collaborative input from the mobile, media and marketing sectors, and they are adhered to by all in the U.S. mobile-marketing industry.
The December 2007 CBP document includes a focus on several new areas, based on industry feedback and development. The areas include:
Guidance on Free-To-End-User messaging. This refers to messages that are paid for by marketers, making them free to the consumer.
Sweepstakes and contests. For example, all sweepstakes must offer an alternative method of entry, allowing participants to enter via mail, Internet or Interactive Voice Recognition via a toll-free number.
Affiliate marketing. The guidelines here refer to ensuring that products and services offered via affiliate marketing are described clearly and accurately.
Participation TV. These guidelines refer to participation TV, where home viewers can interact with their TVs via their mobile devices.
Word-of-mouth verification. These guidelines refer to viral marketing. Prohibited viral marketing practices include forwarding a message to a consumer’s contact list or address book.
Last year, MMA also launched a new Code of Conduct reference, as developed by the MMA Privacy and Preference Committee, and launched two new initiative areas to focus on key areas within the CBP Guidelines. The new sub-committees include Marketing to Children and Interactive Voice Response committees, which will join the Participation TV and Mobile Web committees in contributing to and providing thought leadership to the guidelines and industry.
The CBP Guidelines highlight important areas in regard to cross-wireless-carrier mobile content services to help ensure a sustainable mobile channel. The guidelines have been integrated into carrier and aggregator contractual agreements with brands and content providers and, as such, are adhered to by all players in the ecosystem.
The guidelines are built upon the MMA’s Code of Conduct for Mobile Marketing, which was first ratified by the MMA board in 2003. The code of conduct itself is organized around six main themes:
1. Choice. The consumer must opt in to a mobile-marketing program.
2. Control. Consumers must be allowed to easily terminate or opt out of a program.
3. Customization. Any data supplied by the consumer must be used to personalize content (such as restricting communications to those categories specifically requested by the consumer).
4. Consideration. The consumer must receive or be offered something in return for receiving the communication (product and service enhancements, entry into competitions, etc.).
5. Constraint. The marketer must effectively manage and limit mobile-messaging programs to a reasonable number of programs — defaulted to a maximum of two new campaigns per week — unless the consumer opts in for further information.
6. Confidentiality. Commitment to not sharing consumer information with non-affiliated third parties (unless given permission to do so by the consumer).
Best practices help to ensure a level playing field — and consistent consumer expectations in all mobile data services. Standards and best practices are important to not only grow the industry, but also to ensure a positive consumer experience. Understanding and adhering to the industry best practices is a key element to the success of all the players in the growing industry. Make sure you understand the “rules” the mobile industry follows.
For copies of the best practices developed by the MMA, please see www.mmaglobal.com/bestpractices.pdf.
Reach Laura Marriott at firstname.lastname@example.org.