Earlier this week, the Mobile Marketing Association set up its Asia chapter to spread the word on best practice and establish advertising guidelines, Channel NewsAsia reports. While the industry may be keen to explore mobile advertising, getting users to respond in kind will likely be a tall order. Users in richer nations like Singapore, for example, can?t be lured with free content alone; the offer has to be much more imaginative.
As Sandy Agarwal, MMA Chairman, Asia Pacific, is quoted as saying: ?It?s a little bit of a challenge ?unless you offer them something of real value. Whereas in other markets - I won?t name the countries - in those markets, let?s say you give away 5 free SMSes, they got 2 or 3 million people sign up to receive mobile advertising. But in Singapore, that?s a pretty tough sell to do. One of the ways you can do it is about understanding the customers. Now whether it?s cashback, or whether it?s discounts or whether it?s a suite of promotions, it?s the balance that can be worked out.? Japan is a different story because it?s a developed and connected country. Ad spend there is pegged at over $350 million, Agarwal said. (The article notes that worldwide spending on mobile ads is expected to grow about nine-fold from 2006 to 2011 to reach nearly $14 billion - but fails to say if this is an MMA stat.)
Fragmentation in the Asian market turns up the pressure on brands to come up with more than one-off promotions; they have to engage consumers and ? more importantly ? come up with measurements to rate their success. Leonardo O?Grady, Integrated Marketing Communications Director, Coca-Cola Pacific, said: ?For us, it?s becoming less and less about reach, and more and more about clear effectiveness. We?re unable to get really clear metrics around how this is affecting the business, driving sales other than very specific type of tactical things.?
Mobile advertising also presents mobile operators with new problems ? top of the list is how to even justify experimenting with mobile advertising schemes when other content services are popular and already making money. As Vinchi Cuyegkeng, head of mobile advertising at SMART (Philippines) put it: ?We?ve got to be able to balance bringing in outside money by advertisers. At the same time, not alienating your customers who use your services for basic things like voice, SMS, Internet. So it?s juggling something that is potentially huge money versus the existing money that is already happening right now.?