INSIGHTS INTO THE
IMPLEMENTATION OF MOBILE
Heikki Karjaluoto, Heikki Lehto, Matti Leppäniemi, Tiina Mustonen
The paper offers insights into the development and planning
of mobile marketing campaigns. In the theoretical section
the study develops a model of the mobile marketing
campaign development process and management. With
the use of a case study method, the empirical section
presents an analysis of the implementation process
of three mobile marketing campaigns. The case study
confirms the theoretical model, as well as adds new
elements to campaign management processes that have
not previously been identified in literature. The study offers
fresh contributions to the existing knowledge of mobile
marketing campaign management and gives suggestions
for better campaign management.
Keywords: mobile marketing, campaign design, case study, Finland
The use of the mobile channel in the promotion of goods and services
is booming due to several reasons, including technological advances
that bring forth new and innovative media (Bauer, Reichardt, Barnes, &
Neumann, 2005; Li & Stoller, 2007); changes in advertising philosophy
toward one-to-one marketing (Barwise & Farley, 2005; Peppers, Rogers,
& Dorf, 1999) and interactivity (Vargo & Lusch, 2004); and increased
mobile penetration and m-service usage (Nysveen, Pedersen, &
Thorbjornsen, 2005; Scharl, Dickinger, & Murphy, 2005; Sultan & Rohm,
2005). Meanwhile, academic research on mobile marketing is flourishing
around the world. However, as prior literature on mobile marketing has
concentrated merely on the technical aspects of the mobile channel
and consumer acceptance (Bauer et al., 2005; Leppäniemi, Sinisalo, &
Karjaluoto, 2006), academics have put little effort into the investigation
of how mobile marketing campaigns are planned and implemented, who
are the responsible parties for the planning and implementation of the
campaigns, and whether the planning and implementation differ from
each other in traditional and digital advertising campaign management.
It has been stated that academic studies do not provide sufficient
insights required for designing mobile marketing campaigns step by
step. Thus, calls for further research in this area are being made (Scharl,
Dickinger, & Murphy, 2005). Marketers are now in the process of realizing
the importance of mobile phones as a viable sales and marketing
Insights into the Implementation of Mobile Marketing Campaigns 0
DECEMBER 2007 • VOL. 2 NO. 2
channel due to several reasons, such as the growing next phase we will integrate mobile marketing literature into
penetration of mobile phones and the ability of the channel other advertising literature in order to present the phases of
to target marketing communication on a one-to-one basis mobile marketing campaign process in a new light.
(Balasubramanian, Peterson, Järvenpää 2002; Barnes
Scornavacca, 2004; Barwise Strong, 2002). Marketers, Campaign Design
agencies and carriers need to know how to design mobile Before companies rush into mobile marketing, they need
marketing campaigns and how to use this new marketing to understand in what ways mobile marketing differs from
channel effectively. Because mobile marketing creates traditional approaches and how it should be integrated
new opportunities for companies (Sultan Rohm, 2005) within a firm’s overall marketing strategy (Sultan Rohm,
and because as a business mobile marketing is a new and 2005). All marketing communication should be designed
constantly developing area (Mort Drennan, 2002), it is with a particular target market in mind (Shimp, 1997, p.
important to investigate it further. In spite of the increasing 224). In other words, in order to be successful, a marketing
number of companies investing in mobile marketing campaign should target specific groups with specific needs
campaigns, the nature and implications of this marketing and wants that the advertised product or service could
channel are not yet fully understood (Bauer et al., 2005). satisfy. The target audience influences what to say, how to
On this basis there are both theoretical and practical say it, when to say it and where to say it (Kotler, 2003, p.
justifications for this study. In order to fill this gap in the 566). Mobile marketing facilitates the targeting of an ad on
literature, the objective of this paper is to provide new the most precise level possible. In theory, it enables targeting
insights into the implementation of mobile marketing individual consumers anywhere and anytime based on their
campaigns. For the purposes of this article, the term mobile preferences and past purchases (Gopal Tripathi, 2006;
marketing is understood broadly, in accordance with the Karjaluoto Alatalo, 2007). Moreover, mobile phones offer
definition of the Mobile Marketing Association (2006), as a real chance to advertise interactively. In the future, ads
“the use of wireless media (primarily cellular phones and will be more and more targeted not only to individuals
PDAs) as an integrated content delivery and direct response based on their user profiles but also based on the context in
vehicle within a cross-media marketing communication which they are (Facchetti et al., 2005; Merisavo et al., 2007;
program.” According to this definition, mobile marketing is Turban et al., 2002, p. 184).
seen to include both push and pull type marketing in all he advertising budget is the most important decision
mobile technologies ranging from SMS to mobile web. made by advertisers in the planning stage. On one
The next section of the paper deals with the theoretical hand, if too little money is invested in advertising,
background of the study. In this part, we review the relevant the sales volume will not usually achieve its
literature on mobile marketing campaign process (Kavassalis potential. On the other hand, if the company spends too
et al., 2003) and reflect this process with traditional models much money, unnecessary expenses will reduce the profits
of advertising campaign management (Kotler, 2003). This (Shimp, 1997, pp. 238–239). Budgeting decisions are quite
will be followed by a discussion of the case study and its similar when implementing a mobile marketing campaign.
results. Finally, we present the conclusions, provide the However, in the case of new media channels, budgeting can
contributions, outline the main limitations and suggest become problematic due to the lack of previous experience
avenues for further research. with the channel and the lack of knowledge of the channel
and its costs. The main cost in a text messaging campaign,
for instance, can be the acquisition of an opt-in database.
However, it is a necessary cost only if the company does not
To get an overview of the implementation of a mobile already have a database or if it cannot convince consumers
campaign, it is essential to discuss the steps involved to opt in. On the other hand, in the European Union (EU)
in developing an advertising campaign in general. An area, for example, it is not allowed to sell or buy permission
advertising campaign usually follows a five-step procedure, databases without the customer’s permission. In other words,
labeled the five M’s of advertising (Kotler, 2003, pp. 590-609): the subscriber should be informed of the possibility that the
1) setting the advertising objectives (Mission), 2) deciding on data might be transmitted to one or more third parties (EUR-
the advertising budget (Money), 3) choosing the advertising Lex, 2002).
message (Message), 4) deciding on media (Media) 5) and
The message is in the key position in implementing a
measuring effectiveness (Measurement). With the help of
successful campaign. Once the budget is established, the
the five Ms, the major decisions involved in developing an
advertising message has to be chosen. Mobile marketing
advertisement campaign can be made. The development
messages can include text, games, ringtones, icons,
of a mobile marketing campaign loosely follows the same
screensavers, pictures, sound, music, and other entertainment.
procedure (Kavassalis et al., 2003). Kavassalis divided
The content can cost money or be free. According to Barwise
mobile marketing campaign management into four phases:
and Strong (2002), the content can include six types of
1) campaign design, 2) campaign development, 3) campaign
advertisements: brand building, special offers, timely teasers,
execution, and 4) tracking, analysis, and reporting. In the
International Journal of Mobile Marketing
requests, competitions, and polls. Good text advertisements Campaign Development
are short and compact, funny and entertaining, relevant to
The second stage in the campaign implementation process,
the target group, eye-catching, and informative about prizes
campaign development, includes the building or acquiring
and promotions (Scharl, Dickinger, Murphy, 2005).
of opt-in lists (Kavassalis et al., 2003). In permission-
Marketers must be aware that the language used in based mobile marketing consumers give their permission
messages is extremely important to the success or failure to marketers to send them advertisements or other kinds of
of the advertising message (Mort Drennan, 2002). In communications. It is important to respect the end users’
addition to this, the personal nature of the mobile phone privacy (Barwise Strong, 2002; Leppäniemi Karjaluoto,
makes the content extremely critical. The marketer has to 2005), and permission-based mobile marketing is regulated
decide what is being said and how to say it. Both of these in legislation in the EU area (EUR-Lex, 2002) and in the
decisions affect the success of a mobile campaign. United States. Thus, consumers must have an opportunity
to choose whether they accept mobile communications
Special Features Of Mobile Marketing Campaigns from marketers or not. Corporate websites often serve as
It is vital to identify the special features of the mobile the primary source of first contact. That is to say that it is on
channel to better understand the background for campaign those websites that the companies ask for the consumers’
planning. For example, wireless devices are accessible, permission to receive mobile communications, such as text
meaning that mobile phones are portable and available to messages, and participate in campaigns (Scharl, Dickinger,
users at all times. The mobile channel is also immediate, Murphy, 2005). Other media such as TV, radio and
intimate and everywhere. Various studies summarize print media are also used frequently in collecting mobile
time-sensitiveness, personalization and permissions (Mort Drennan, 2002). Effective mobile
location awareness as the key drivers of the
development of successful mobile services
(Leppäniemi Karjaluoto, 2005; Swilley
Hofacker, 2006). “Our results suggest that mobile is not
The essence of mobile services lies in
the idea of reaching customers and friends
an attention media, but rather a call-to-
regardless of their location (Siau Shen,
2003). In other words, the primary advantage
action media…that offers challenges and
of mobile marketing is mobility; users can opportunities due to its unique nature. On the
get any information they want whenever
they want, regardless of their location (Mort other hand, at its best, mobile marketing can
Drennan, 2002; Siau Shen, 2003). The
mobile channel is also an interactive two- be very efficient if it generates viral effects.”
way communication channel. The mobile
phone includes all characteristics necessary
to establish a direct dialogue between the
marketer and the potential customer (Bauer et al., 2005). marketing depends on the ability to acquire mobile phone
In particular, the mobile channel is able to deliver a higher numbers and permissions to establish a point of contact. Only
extent of interactivity from the end user’s point of view by doing so can the marketers conduct mobile campaigns that
(Facchetti et al., 2005; Liu Shrum, 2002). An additional offer real value for consumers in the long run.
special feature of mobile marketing is its viral marketing
element. Short messaging service (SMS) marketing can Campaign Execution
include a viral element, as recipients can forward messages
to their friends (Rettie, Grandcolas, Deakins, 2005). This There are different ways to implement a campaign in
type of viral marketing is very beneficial for the advertiser. the mobile channel. Although the SMS still remains the
The mobile phone lends itself to enlarging the reach of a most popular mode, new services like the multimedia
campaign through viral effects (Bauer et al., 2005). messaging service (MMS), mobile e-mailing and a variety
of other services based on the mobile Internet are steadily
On the grounds of existing literature, the special gaining popularity (Haig, 2002, p. 164). SMS advertising is
features of the mobile channel can be listed as: mobility thought to be the most effective when it invites to respond
and reachability, direct marketing, interactivity and two- and includes an incentive (Merisavo et al., 2007; Rettie,
way communication, branding, viral-marketing, time, and Grandcolas, Deakins, 2005). SMS is seen as an immediate,
personalization. Most of these features are positive in nature, automated, reliable, personal, discreet and customized channel
but, for instance, personalization and direct marketing can which efficiently allows the marketers to reach customers directly
sometimes be perceived as spamming or as too disruptive. and provides mobile phone users a direct call-to-action (Barnes
Scornavacca, 2004). SMS and WAP, a proprietary format for
Insights into the Implementation of Mobile Marketing Campaigns
DECEMBER 2007 • VOL. 2 NO. 2
web pages on small devices like mobile phones, are considered campaigns while they are still running. Traditional media
the key platforms in Europe and in the United States (Barnes can be effective as well when companies transmit messages
Scornavacca, 2004). Barwise and Strong (2002) report that the to consumers, but it can hardly pass on messages in the
low cost and high penetration of SMS among wireless subscribers opposite direction, from consumers to companies like the
make it an attractive service not only for ad deliveries but also mobile channel is able to do (Hoffman Novak, 1996).
for most other wireless data services. According to Rettie,
Grandcolas and Deakins (2005), the main disadvantage of SMS is Summary Of The Literature Review – A Conceptual
its 160 character text-only format. MMS has suffered around the Model
world from several technological and pricing-related problems, On the basis of the discussion of the phases of a mobile
and therefore it still only plays a minor role in today’s mobile marketing campaign, Figure 1 shows the four phases and
marketing campaigns. highlights the overall process. In sum, a mobile marketing
Transmission process poses problems to campaign delivery. campaign includes four main phases: campaign design,
For SMS, especially in global campaigns, message delivery campaign development, campaign execution and campaign
can take too long, which might affect the whole campaign control. In the first stage, the target audience is designed;
negatively. However, real problems also occur in the other the business objectives are set; the budget and the media
formats, such as in WAP-based applications, JAVA and MMS are determined; the campaign type, either push or pull,
(Salo Tähtinen, 2005; Sultan Rohm, 2005). Campaign is chosen; and the special features of mobile marketing
execution includes also the planning of the campaign logic are taken into account. The second stage, campaign
that must be built into the mobile marketing server used for development, includes collecting permissions. In this
sending and receiving the messages. At minimum, a well stage, opt-in lists are either bought or created with the
designed campaign logic in a mobile context includes plans help of other media, or the company uses an existing opt-
for the keyword, a storage of the messages, opening up the in database. In the third stage the campaign is executed.
gateways into operators, and a short code message number This stage is divided into four phases. First, the mobile
(Sinisalo et al., 2007). technologies or the mobile channels are decided. Then
the message is delivered and responses are received and
Finally, as mobile marketing rarely works alone, it has to processed. Decisions concerning cross-media marketing
be integrated with other media. In doing so we talk about and mobile customer relationship marketing are made
cross-media marketing, which refers to the idea that mobile in this stage. The final stage is campaign control, which
marketing needs connections to traditional media (Ranchhod, includes measuring and analyzing the campaign, producing
2007; Wang, 2007) Companies must figure out exactly how reports and collecting customer feedback.
to integrate the mobile platform within their overall marketing
strategies (Sultan Rohm, 2005). The mobile marketing
channel should be understood as a complementary channel
to other marketing channels. In most cases a traditional
advertising medium like television, press or flyers is needed
in order to broadcast the invitation to participate in a mobile
marketing campaign (Kavassalis et al., 2003).
Most advertisers measure the communication effect of
an ad. This refers to the ad’s potential effect on awareness,
knowledge, preference or sales. The evaluation of the
effectiveness of an ad must be conducted from the point of
view of the campaign objectives. For example, if the objective
of the campaign was to increase sales, then the growth of sales
should be evaluated (Kotler, 2003, pp. 606–609). Measuring
and reporting the results of the campaign helps to understand
campaign successful (Narez, 2006). Since mobile campaigns
allow individual targeting, as opposed to broadcasting in other
media, it also helps to measure the ad effectiveness at the Figure 1: Conceptual Model
individual level (Gopal Tripathi, 2006).
Mobile marketing enables interactivity and makes giving METHODOLOGY
and collecting feedback very easy (Liu Shrum, 2002). This empirical study follows a case study research
Since people carry their mobile phones with them almost method (Yin, 2003). The aim of the case study was to attain
all the time, mobile marketing is an extremely fast media. It as specific, comprehensive and detailed a description of
is possible for marketers to get the first feedback from their the phenomena as possible. Case research is particularly
International Journal of Mobile Marketing
welcome in new situations where only a little is known about not sent beforehand to the interviewees in order to be able
the phenomenon and in situations where current theories to gather more spontaneous and unaffected answers. The
seem inadequate (Eisenhardt, 1989). Most of the research interviews were recorded, verified with handwritten notes
questions in the interviews conducted with practitioners and transcribed afterwards. The themes of the interviews
were ‘how-questions,’ which are typical for a case study were the same for all interviewees, but each interviewee
research. ‘Why-questions’ were also presented as part of talked about a specific campaign. After the interviews were
the ‘how-questions,’ as cases that address why-questions held and transcribed, the material was read several times,
are most appropriate when the purpose of the study is to notes were made, and themes outlined. Items that related
explore a new phenomenon (Yin, 2003, pp. 5–9). to same themes were colored correspondingly. Besides the
interview material, the case study included material from the
Certain cases for the study were chosen because it
campaigns, campaign data, company reports and meetings
is believed that understanding them will lead to better
as well as seminars in which the researchers were present.
understanding of a larger collection of cases. The purpose
of a case report is not to represent generalizable results,
but to represent the specific case under study (Stake, RESULTS
2000). This research conducts a single case study method An Overview of the Three Campaigns
with three example cases. The case study was carried out
by interviewing four individuals who work in the mobile The first campaign was labeled “Ginger Cookie Friday,”
marketing field (see Table 1). The key interviewees within a digital direct marketing campaign organized by SK-
each firm were chosen because of their special knowledge Restaurants to its opt-in mobile and e-mail customers. The
and experience of mobile marketing campaigns, as campaign invited night club customers to a special theme
suggested by Kumar, Stern and Anderson (1993). night in December 2006. During the campaign, close to
40,000 invitations were sent in five different messaging
formats (SMS, MMS, e-mail, mobile web page, accessed via
Table 1: List of Interviewees a WAP-push message, and a downloadable JAVA solution) in
Interview order to examine the response rates in the various message
Interviewee/Company Title of the Interviewee
Date delivery formats. In other words, around 7160 messages
were sent in each format. The pull (response) percent for
BrandSon Ltd, Digital Marketing Agency CTO, Owner March 2007
the whole campaign was around 3%, resulting in 1.055
registrations for the theme night. The most used reply mode
Max Rumpus Ltd, Technology Provider CEO March 2007
was SMS with a proportion of 33% of all registrations,
followed by the mobile web page opened via the WAP push
SK-Restaurants Ltd, Advertiser Marketing Manager April 2007
message with 28%, and e-mail with 16%. The messaging
formats and response logic are displayed in Figure 2.
FS Film Ltd, Advertiser Marketing Manager April 2007
The authors felt that four interviews were enough because
answers were quite similar between the interviews and the
saturation point was reached after these interviews. Besides,
these interviews were based on three example campaigns, and
these campaigns were supposed to provide an extensive view
of campaign management. The two advertisers are among
the most innovative digital direct marketers in Finland. Both
advertisers have large opt-in mobile marketing lists that are
used on a weekly basis in various direct marketing campaigns.
The agency BrandSon was chosen in the study not only due to
the fact that the advertisers are its customers, but also because
it is one of the agencies in Finland specializing in digital direct
marketing (e-mail and mobile marketing). BrandSon designs
and executes all digital marketing for these two clients. Max
Rumpus either provides technological grounds for BrandSon Figure 2: Campaign Logic of “Ginger Cookie Friday”
or implements campaigns itself.
The length of the interviews ranged from 50 minutes to As can be seen, four out of five messaging formats offered a
nearly an hour and a half, and the total time spent conducting reply (a confirmation of the invitation) in the same messaging
interviews was around four hours. All interviews were format. For example, if a respondent received a text message,
conducted in Finnish because it is the native language of he/she could reply to the message by SMS. The only exception
all the interviewees and the interviewer. The questions were was MMS, which could only be replied by SMS.
Insights into the Implementation of Mobile Marketing Campaigns
DECEMBER 2007 • VOL. 2 NO. 2
The second campaign was called “The Club Turku,” Overall, approximately 70,000 people participated in the
a night club opening campaign organized by BrandSon competition, and 63% of them gave their permission for both
and SK-Restaurants, targeted to opt-in customers of the mobile and e-mail marketing. The people who participated
night club chain in the area of Turku. Each opt-in user was in the competition received an e-mail just before the
approached with a mobile message, which was a recorded film’s premiere. This email encouraged respondents to go
phone call where a female voice said: “Hi, here is Mirella. to the movie theatre on that specific night and watch the
I had to call you. Next Friday, the 10th, Turku’s hottest night film. The e-mail was targeted to 15- to 25-year-olds and
club, the Club, will be open. Would you like to come along included information on the nearest movie theater of each
with us to the opening party?” This was followed by a male participant.
voice: “You will soon get a text message. You can answer
to the message by following instructions. The quickest Mobile Marketing Campaign Implementation
respondents get an invitation to the Club’s opening.” After The interviews dealt with the management process of
this the SMS message arrived with instructions. When the mobile marketing campaigns in the light of the conceptual
person responded to the message by sending his/her name model developed. After the empirical data analysis, the
and a friend’s mobile phone number, he/she got the SMS following revised model was constructed (see Figure 4).
code needed for registering and the friend got the same
recorded voice message. The general instructions for how
to register in order to receive tickets to the opening night
through the Internet were also available in the SMS. Finally,
the formal invitation arrived by e-mail. The logic of this
campaign is presented in Figure 3.
Figure 3: The Club Turku Opening Campaign
In the first phase 500 invitations were sent to opt-in
customers. The viral effect created an eight-fold increase
compared to the original amount, as the number of
additional voice messages sent reached 3,900. Eventually,
a total of 3,000 registrations were made and SK-Restaurants
executed two openings because so many people were
Figure 4: Revised Model
interested in coming.
The empirical model shown in Figure 4 is a more detailed
The third campaign was the launch of “The Dudesons
description of a mobile marketing campaign implementation
Movie,” conducted in 2006 by BrandSon and FS Films in
than the conceptual model. According to the empirical
cooperation with four other partners (television channel
data, mobile marketing campaigns can be divided into two
Nelonen, IRC gallery, Suosikki magazine, and Habbo
categories which are a) campaigns where the opportunity
Hotel). In this campaign the mobile channel was a part
for mobile marketing is created (pull campaigns to build
of the promotion mix. The websites of the partnering
opt-in lists), and b) campaigns aimed at opt-in lists (push
organizations were used for attracting people to participate
campaigns). Besides these, there are various occasional
in a lottery with changing prizes.
5 International Journal of Mobile Marketing
pull campaigns that do not aim at collecting marketing It also became obvious that according to the interviewees,
permissions, but even in those cases the campaign logic mobile marketing does not operate alone. The mobile
usually follows the same procedure as in other pull channel is usually utilized to support overall marketing.
campaigns. The stages outlined in the conceptual model Mobile marketing is a relatively cost-effective form of
were also found in the empirical material, although in a marketing, and therefore companies generally want to
much more detailed form. include it in their overall marketing mix.
“Mobile marketing does not operate alone. I have not
seen any digital media or campaign having operated alone.
The main decisions to be considered in the planning If I have understood correct, SK-Restaurants has used only
phase include the elements from the conceptual model text messaging and e-mail advertising in their marketing.
with more emphasis on the analysis of the target group and But that is an exception because restaurants themselves
its receptiveness to mobile marketing, such as information are already one type of media. But otherwise it does not
about target group’s handsets and attitudes to personalized operate alone.” (Interviewee 4)
marketing as expressed by the interviewees. In the planning
“This regular customer system, the 180,000 names
phase, the interviewees agreed that the objectives of mobile
we have collected during four to five years, has made it
marketing are similar to those of general marketing.
possible to carry out multiple marketing operations. Plus,
“… We try to respect people’s free time and privacy, so what is essential from our part is that our marketing costs
we do not send messages during weekends if it is not a have halved, including all the investments we have done for
necessity.” (Interviewee 3) this system.” (Interviewee 3)
“I would like to say that… in the future we will do it It also appeared that mobile marketing was considered,
so that we send a message on Friday at six o’clock in the alongside e-mail marketing, to be an essential part of
evening. ‘What are you going to do today? Go to a movie.’ companies’ marketing mix. As one interviewee said, mobile
That is… the effectiveness of mobile marketing is highest in marketing often goes hand in hand with e-mail marketing.
these kinds of cases because it is not possible to control any
“We might send an invitation to a party beforehand by
other media as efficiently within a day.” (Interviewee 4)
e-mail and there is a registration link in the e-mail message
“Well, it depends on the customer. As is the way with and this way we invite people to register and…when the
marketing in general, the advertiser has its own needs to occasion is coming up, possibly one or two days before, we
advertise…” (Interviewee 2) then send a text message to remind customers of the party
“Mobile marketing is, in the first place, niche marketing. in the lines of ‘Hi, do you remember…’.” (Interviewee 3)
Because people have registered to our regular customer
Message Execution, Technical Infrastructure and Testing
database and they have shown themselves to be interested
in our services and products, it depends on us how we According to the interview data, it would appear that the
can make a 160-character message so informative and planning process is followed by message implementation
interesting that it appeals to them and activates them…” relating to content development, which was not considered
(Interviewee 3) as demanding in SMS than in other formats that often require
graphics. In the execution phase the needed technical
The findings also revealed that in many cases the objective
infrastructure, such as a server for message delivery and
of a mobile campaign is to increase sales by creating instant
response mechanisms, is typically already established.
The empirical material supported the view that all
“...It is an integral quality of mobile marketing that we
mobile campaigns should be tested beforehand, at least
typically strive to increase sales in very straightforward ways
in the technical sense. Minimum functionality, different
compared to other forms of marketing.” (Interviewee 1)
terminal devices and their capability to show messages and
In the planning phase it is important to utilize the special graphics in the right format are always tested. Testing the
features of mobile marketing, especially personalization, as functionality means testing that messages go through the
highlighted by the advertiser: telecommunication networks and that they are received by
“If somebody watches my television, I do not flinch. mobile phones.
If somebody uses my PC, I will become irritated. But if “…Certainly we have interest groups with whom we might
somebody reads my text messages, I will become furious.” discuss that we have this kind of idea, what do you think?
(Interviewee 4) They, you know, consult us…they are our interest groups
Other important features mentioned during the interviews and we know they have good comments.” (Interviewee 3)
were accessibility, time criticality, allocation, exactness, After the campaign is tested it will be implemented. If
and cost savings. Relevant target group selection, which can a campaign is push-based, then the customers’ mobile
create a viral effect, was also stressed by the interviewees. phone numbers are needed. After the numbers have been
Insights into the Implementation of Mobile Marketing Campaigns 6
DECEMBER 2007 • VOL. 2 NO. 2
entered into the system and the message is ready to go, the content and message sending play the most important part.
execution of the campaign is done. In the latter case, it is common that the campaign is lead by
the web and the mobile either redirects to the web or there
“In digital marketing almost always, especially when
is some supplementary service marketed on the web but
we are talking about text-based advertising, everything
executed via mobile. In this case the main implementation
becomes concrete after pressing a button, and at the same
concentrates on the development of the web page.
time everything comes true and, typically, after a few
seconds nothing is reversible and the whole advertising is
actually over already after a few hours, and damages are CONCLUSION
in the know. That is one thing that distinguishes mobile This research was born out of a need to better understand
marketing and digital marketing as a whole from other ways the implementation process of mobile marketing campaigns.
of marketing. When you think about publication advertising The research presented here provides a theoretically and
or print advertising, you probably send some kind of paper empirically grounded exploration of the subject. The main
somewhere and after a couple of weeks it is published findings of the research indicate that mobile marketing
somewhere. But in digital and mobile marketing specifically, campaign implementation follows six main stages:
there is no concrete moment when the marketing is
actualized.” (Interviewee 1) 1. Planning
2. Execution of the message
The last stage of the implementation process is the 3. Technical infrastructure (systems for sending and
measuring and analyzing of the campaign. It was mentioned receiving messaging)
that one of the biggest advantages of mobile marketing is 4. Testing (both technical testing and content testing)
that it allows the company to monitor very closely how 5. Execution of the campaign
things are evolving. 6. Follow-up and evaluation
“After all, marketing is not worth doing without monitoring In the campaign planning stage the target group is selected
what happens.” (Interviewee 2) and their terminal devices are mapped, if possible. This will
“Results are directly measurable. And that is clearly what be followed by the decisions of the campaign objectives and
we want. And evaluation takes place afterwards. Indeed, the budget. The planning stage also includes the designing
we check how much money and time and efforts have of the content of the messages. Moreover, if more than one
been spent and what kinds of results we have attained.” mobile technology or mobile channel is to be used, the
(Interviewee 3) content has to be planned individually for each of those
technologies. The next step is, then, to decide the campaign
Participants in the Campaign Implementation type, which can be either push or pull. If the campaign is
push-based, the time when the messages will be sent will
Based on the empirical material it would appear that
be decided. Because mobile marketing rarely works alone,
there are only few partners participating in the planning
connections to other media are planned.
and implementation of a mobile marketing campaign. An
advertiser/marketer is usually one participant. However, its After the campaign is planned, the message is executed.
role varies depending on its background and knowledge This includes planning and executing the keywords and
of mobile campaigns. Usually they are the customers of the content made separately for each technology. First, the
an agency. Agencies and technology providers are often message or the text is drafted, entered into the application
involved in some part of campaign development and platform and sent. For MMS messages content providing is
implementation. Carriers are involved in message delivery, similar to SMS, but it is possible to include pictures and
but their role is often just to provide the pipeline. Both videos in a message. Other possible ways to create MMS
advertisers that participated in this research have outsourced messages are to use SMIL, a description language in which
the technology side of mobile marketing. MMS messages are constructed, and the mobile Internet,
which requires webpage production. Then, for example, a
“They have earlier coded some SMS gateways and
WAP push message is sent to customers as an SMS message.
application platforms and then they have made some user
This way the customers access web pages where they can
interfaces through which others can use them, and in this
use various functions. Different kinds of applications, like
way they are purely technological providers who have given
Java-applications, can also be used for marketing.
their product to the use of others and they do not directly
take part either in the implementation or the planning.” Technological infrastructures refer to the required
(Interviewee 1) technological systems. Systems which relate to the execution
of the campaign, such as systems for content providing
In the case when a mobile marketing agency implements
as well as systems for message receiving, are created or
the whole campaign there seems to be two alternatives. First,
handled some other way in this stage. In the fourth stage the
the campaign can be implemented alongside an existing
campaign is tested. The idea behind technical testing is to
campaign. Second, the campaign can be planned for the
find out whether messages are received by mobile phones.
mobile environment from the start. In the first case, the
7 International Journal of Mobile Marketing
Technical testing also includes device-specific testing, such learn how to use electronic channels like mobile efficiently,
as checking that messages appear on screen as they ought customers and the company will benefit.
to and that everything functions as it should. Meanwhile, According to the case study, Finnish advertisers utilize
content testing includes checking spelling mistakes and mobile marketing in varying ways. Some companies use
evaluating the content in general. This kind of testing is not mobile as a part of a campaign out of a desire to try it,
very common, but it is good to be done. In the fifth stage whereas others utilize mobile as a communication channel
the campaign is executed. Finally, there is the follow-up in CRM. Regardless of the role, it is essential to use some
and evaluation phase. other media simultaneously, and by doing so integrate
mobile marketing into other marketing channels. Thus,
organizations should not consider implementing mobile
Previous research on the implementation of mobile applications without a deep consideration of its role and
campaigns is scarce. Thus, while considering the position in the overall marketing and promotion mix.
contributions of this research, the handful of studies used
ur results suggest that mobile is not an attention
in building the conceptual model will be used as the main
media, but rather a call-to-action media.
source in outlining the contributions of the study. The
Mobile is a medium that offers challenges and
theoretical framework was formed based on the mobile
opportunities due to its unique nature. One
marketing campaign process, traditional advertising
of the most important things to remember is that sending
campaign development and other literature concerning
too many messages to customers might create a message
mobile marketing. By comparing the empirical model to
blizzard. In addition to these points, being different and
the theoretical framework, only minor modifications are
standing out among others is crucial. On the other hand, at
needed. In line with the theoretical framework, the empirical
its best, mobile marketing can be very efficient if it generates
study shows that a mobile marketing campaign includes
defining the target audience, deciding the budget and
objectives, and designing the message. As the theoretical From the point of view of a marketer, the final framework
framework already proposed, permission marketing is key gives marketers and advertisers advice on how to implement
to mobile marketing (Barwise Strong, 2002; Leppäniemi a mobile marketing campaign. The implementation differs
Karjaluoto, 2005). from traditional marketing and advertising campaigns
because mobile campaigns include special features that
The main difference between the theoretical and empirical
other campaigns do not. Finally, the importance of the
models relates to the planning process. Based on the case
timing of the campaign has to be stressed. If marketing
study, planning includes much more than the theoretical
messages arrive at 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday, for instance, they
framework expected. For example, this stage also includes
will most likely annoy people and the marketing campaign
planning the campaign content and the content for each
will not be successful.
mobile channel and the technology involved. Special
features of mobile devices are observed in tandem with Limitations and Further Research
content planning. Based on the interviews, there are more
channels than those that were disclosed in the theory (Barnes Since the present study is among the first to offer insights into
Scornavacca, 2004; Scharl, Dickinger Murphy, 2005). the area of campaign implementation, more conceptual and
Different kinds of applications, as well as voice calls, are empirical work is needed in order to validate and generalize
used in campaigns. The results of the case study confirmed the results. We observe three main limitations of the study.
that the mobile channel should be integrated with other Firstly, as mobile marketing evolves, the campaigns and their
channels, and that the integration should be planned in implementation processes might be very different in the future
the campaign planning phase (Ranchhod, 2007; Scharl, than they are now. Secondly, the theoretical framework needs
Dickinger Murphy, 2005; Wang, 2007). Although prior further work, as the model was constructed mainly based on
literature did not emphasize the delivery time of messages one similar study. The third limitation relates to the empirical
in the campaign, our results emphasize the importance case. The case study offers insights into only three campaigns
of timing in the implementation process. Moreover, our and their implementation, which might affect the reliability
results are the first to discuss the importance of testing the and validity of the results.
campaigns beforehand. The conclusions as well as the limitations of this study
bring forth some fruitful and interesting possible avenues
Managerial Implications for future research. We suggest further research tackle the
This research provides several specific managerial implementation of campaigns using different technologies
insights. Currently, electronic channels like mobile, the (e.g. MMS, mobile web); outline success factors of successful
Internet and e-mail are used increasingly frequently, and for or unsuccessful campaigns; review channel combinations and
some companies they act as the most important marketing cross-media integration; and investigate the timing decisions
channels, as occurred in the case study. When marketers of campaigns.
Insights into the Implementation of Mobile Marketing Campaigns 8
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