American Marketer


Is television the next mobile frontier?

August 26, 2011

Alex Romanov is founder/CEO of iSign


By Alex Romanov

Phenomenal mobile developments present dizzying opportunities for networking, shopping, and navigating, also marking communication milestones.

With companies expanding mobile marketing efforts, these developments are at the forefront of business discussions. Parallel to mobile marketing talks are the necessary technologies and tactics: SMS, location-based marketing, QR codes and proximity marketing.

And now the latest development is hitting a lot closer to home for many consumers – in their living rooms, to be exact.

New vision for television marketing

Like it or not, U.S. consumers are watching more television than ever, combined with increased access to mobile video.

Total TV use in the United States averages more than five hours per day, according to Nielsen data from April.

Add to that stat mobile phone usage by consumers of an average three hours daily, together with 24.7 million viewers of mobile video in 2010's fourth-quarter – a 41 percent increase over last year – and the potential for in-home access to consumers via their mobile devices is staggering.

Besides the obvious benefits of having a captive audience that is probably doing one of three things at any given time – texting/talking on a mobile phone, surfing the Web or watching TV – there are other signs that TV marketing provides uncharted opportunities.

Mobile and online video viewing continues to increase, while TV advertising spending went up 8 percent in 2010, per Nielsen.

TV advertisements are getting shorter, leaving experts to rethink techniques.

While we have capitalized on the popularity of the Internet/mobile medium with mobile Web, the next step is a powerful fusion of mobile and TV.

And I mean really powerful.

TV and mobile integration

As TV viewership becomes more engaged and on-demand, a new fusion of technology fosters true multichannel interaction.

Seamlessly integrating mobile marketing with TV ads, the technology enlists Bluetooth solutions to send messages to consumers' phones while they are watching a corresponding commercial.

Those with Bluetooth-enabled devices in-range first receive a prompt to verify that they actually want to receive messages to their mobile phones. Once opt-in is confirmed, of course, they can receive coupons and other offers direct-to-device.

Picture this scenario: someone watching a 30-second commercial for a new product receives a coupon directly on their mobile device to try a sample, without even leaving the couch. Talk about immediacy.

What benefits can this hybrid TV-to-mobile integration deliver to its audience and to the advertisers using it? The potential impact is tremendous.

Inexpensive and compatible with all TV – broadcast, satellite, cable and IP – the technology offers significant revenue-producing potential.

Marketers can coordinate and time interactions to reach consumers via a truly interactive experience.

Consumers get the advantage of samples and rewards with a lot less effort on their part. And then you have the measurability.

Solution to privacy concerns

With increased use of both the Internet and of mobile applications, sharing personal data is more commonplace.

Digital mass distribution of content using questionably-culled mobile numbers and email addresses are regular intrusions. However, marketers and brands do not have the ability to collect consumer data without express permission.

The hybrid technology presently available to advertisers actually removes the need for email address or phone number collection, requiring consumers to opt-in prior to receiving targeted offers and other messages.

This marketing solution provides consumer protection and allows users to interact with the newest technology to streamline shopping experiences, save money and explore new offers.

Business intelligence captured in unprecedented levels

Real-time results for advertisers are ideal, particularly as budgets shrink and cost-effectiveness is stressed across the board.

This new mobile technology serves to capture viewership data, making campaigns measurable in real-time – an extremely valuable tool that is even more important in our economic climate.

In addition, phone-TV fusion technology provides more than just basic viewer response data.

A tremendous data-capture opportunity is offered along with this technology's ability to monitor the number of phones in a room and the type of phone used by consumers while viewing TV. It also collects valuable business intelligence about consumers’ behavior and preferences, such as what messages are accepted or rejected.

After reviewing this information, marketers can easily adjust their campaigns, and the information is saved for future use via an administration panel.

Spending patterns show promise for mobile marketing technology

The current economic state dictates that consumers are less inclined to spend in stores or online.

With mobile fusion marketing, brands will be able to link customer loyalty to instant offers that require little effort on the part of the consumer.

With valuable interactions on mobile phones, consumers are encouraged to continue their relationships with brands they like, building a quality community of consumers seeking valuable information and exclusive offers.

The use of coupon offers in digital media is incredibly promising, as recessionary environments grow the coupon marketplace.

The printed coupon business, according to NCH Marketing Services, showed 7 percent growth in 2010, while the digital coupon arena saw 60 percent growth with only 1 percent of total U.S. distribution.

Redemption rates for digital coupons are at least twenty times higher than freestanding inserts.

Studies also show that watchers of action and reality TV programming are more likely to remember advertising between breaks – Nielsen – and that provides yet another opportunity to develop a loyal customer base with fusion TV marketing.

The more targeted the mobile outreach, the bigger impact brands will have with potential customers.

Unique mobile experiences have the opportunity to be remembered even more than carefully-planned television ad spots.

Apps beyond mobile and TV marketing fusion

Mobile and TV marketing represent a small piece of the interactive marketing frontier.

The same proximity marketing can be effectively leveraged in the digital-out-of-home market, allowing direct communication with consumers within a certain radius.

Instead of receiving Web offers for group deals miles away – or for unwanted products – marketers can send contextually-appropriate deals to consumers who are on-site.

This same Bluetooth-enabled marketing can also work in tandem with TV marketing schemes.

When developing a loyal base using such a hybrid marketing technology, advertisers can interest a select number of consumers to also visit bricks-and-mortar locations.

Digital sign interaction begun at home can be extended using hyper-local proximity marketing, with the same real-time monitoring to ensure cost-effective campaigns and maximum results.

Simultaneous multichannel advertising at its best

Fresh technology goes a step beyond previous attempts at integrating mobile and TV viewing experiences, such as TV ads that prompt users to download an app or a send a text to enter contests.

Indeed, it provides a true multichannel marketing experience and, after the initial opt-in, the process requires very little from consumers. There is no additional cost or inconvenience.

Thanks to mobile offers and coupons, users will benefit by staying informed about brand favorites and initiatives, while being given an opportunity to maximize savings.

Serving as a secondary channel through which consumers interact with a brand, the technology also has the potential to develop and increase consumer brand loyalty.

Brands looking for a competitive edge will find that a simultaneous, multichannel interaction with consumers is much more effective than advertising through either channel – mobile or TV – as a standalone outreach.

As technology continues to develop and move forward in the mobile medium, the key is to keep up with trends and use them for ROI and revenue production.

Communication channels are constantly evolving, providing new opportunities for companies willing to capitalize on such change.

And from the looks of the market and current predictions, hybrid TV-to-mobile technology could very well be the newest marketing frontier.

Alex Romanov is founder/CEO of iSign, a Toronto-based interactive marketing company specializing in mobile and digital out of home and digital signage. Reach him at