Joshua Maa | July 29, 2011
My previous columns talk about how mobile targeted ads, mobile campaigns, and apps can work best for reaching out to desired audiences and are good for user experience. Today, I am going to share my thoughts on how mobile marketing can indirectly reach and engage consumers to help channel salespeople to do their jobs easier and with more fun!
We know FMCG clients have to face these challenges everyday from what kind of marketing campaigns can actually satisfy their bottlers to channel dealerships and sales. It is hard to measure how the new TVC campaign will impact sales instantly and it always seems a headache to manage the offline promotion girls and beauty ambassadors to ensure they deliver exactly what they have been trained. Every brand will give away little gifts for incentive, but how can you differentiate your staff from others?
Here is a good example.
Last summer, local beer brand Harbin Beer launched its first branded mobile augmented reality app campaign to promote sales during the FIFA World Cup period. The original concept of this campaign was to encourage consumers to interact with the ice football printed on Harbin FIFA edition bottles and find out the prize through an augmented reality experience with their friends. People will see the ice football slowly melt and the prize will pop out. The game required at least two consumers to be equipped with certain smartphone models to download the app and complete the whole customer journey.
The application itself was all about innovation and the fun of discovery. However, as you might be able to sense, we were a little worried that the mechanism might be too complicated for most consumers and thus the result wouldn’t have too much impact on the app itself.
But the result showed there were over 46,000 downloads during the one-month campaign, which is considered not bad for a branded multi-players mobile augmented reality campaign. The positive feedback from channel distributors made the brand even happier. When beer promotion girls took out their mobile phones to try the new mobile game with their clients in restaurants, consumers responded well and recognized Harbin beer as one of the premier cool beer brands in China because it was the first brand to leverage their high-end smartphones to do something that makes them feel exclusive and high tech.
Restaurant owners asked the brand if they could continue with the mobile campaigns even after FIFA ended. They felt premier too that their restaurants were offering the mobile app to keep customers engaged during dining.
Now that the brand image of Harbin beer is well established among these restaurant owners, they want to keep selling Harbin and felt the brand was doing something real to support sales. Mobile application is no longer just a gimmick to play with on the bottle, but it becomes a great sales tool for the beer girls.
After Anheuser-Busch InBev (the mother company of Harbin Beer) learned that mobile is a good opportunity to improve the relationship between the brand and the dealership as well as differentiate from other brands in the market, most importantly, helps sales volume just using this little mobile game, a new plan took off soon after.
Another major brand under AB InBev, Budweiser started to be more aggressive on mobile media in China. Mobile Internet sites are built to offer mobile online games and application downloads. Promotion girls in bars and clubs are trained to use smartphones and even equipped with iPads to demonstrate the latest branded apps offering popular bar-games. And after playing the game, there is a lucky draw where the brand will be able to collect consumer data for further CRM use.
From the example above, the point we’re trying to make is: mobile is not only a promising media to reach and engage consumers, but there are also opportunities to use mobile to manage and enhance the efficiency of sales staff, especially for FMCG brands that need to use channel sales and hire salespeople to boost sales volume.
Mobile and iPad applications make excellent presentations to demonstrate product benefits and branded entertainment in a more interactive way. And it creates a more comfortable and friendly way for promotion girls to approach and interact with customers while selling more products.
With mobile media and mobile marketing getting more and more matured in China today, we believe one day, mobile will be the centre of every 360 degree campaign and make its way to help in every aspect of the marketing objective. To make this little effect to help channel distributors, I would say it is a good start!