1105 Media adds mobile tool for trade shows, but not at the expense of traditional marketing
To boost attendance for its FOSE and GovSec conferences, 1105 Media deployed the usual array of marketing tools, including print ads plugging the events, online registration and e-mail campaigns to both existing and prospective customers. But the company was also able to find room in the budget to include another marketing channel.
For the first time, 1105 Media added to the FOSE and GovSec shows' marketing mix a technology application designed to provide cell phone users with mobile registration.
Leading up to the conferences, which run March 10-12, ads with a mobile call to action, or “short-code marketing,” ran in four 1105 Media publications (Defense Systems, Federal Computer Week, Government Computer News, Washington Technology) and The Washington Post, as well as on outdoor signage throughout the District of Columbia and a motorized billboard driven through Washington, D.C.
People with Web-enabled cell phones were able to access the mobile registration by texting a keyword to a short phone number. In return, they received a link to a mobile landing page with conference information and registration details.
“There are high-level IT folks attending these conferences, and we need to be able to message them in a way that's relevant—and [know] that we're being perceived as relevant,” said Carmel McDonagh, VP-attendee marketing at 1105 Media. “Just because the industry is feeling the pressures of the economy doesn't mean you can't leverage technology to get in front of your customers.”
Despite the economic turmoil, 1105 Media is moving ahead with mobile marketing, albeit gradually. McDonagh said she devoted about 10% of the conferences' overall budget to the mobile registration, adding that she expects the effort to pull in 500 “incremental” attendees (out of a total of 18,000). “We hope that this new source will complement the rest of our traditional marketing mix,” she said.
She added that, depending on the ROI, 1105 Media is open to extending the relationship with the vendor, ConnectMedia Ventures, which was formed last August to provide mobile technology for marketers, publishers and trade show organizers.
In addition to creating a landing page for mobile registration to conferences, the company also works with publishers and advertisers to deliver multimedia information that can be integrated with print advertising, said John Miller, president of ConnectMedia Ventures.
“The mobile channel provides an opportunity to connect static media—a trade show booth, print advertising—to a more robust interface via mobile phones,” he said. “It allows marketers or advertisers to provide more detail on a personal device that's resonant with consumers on a daily basis.”
Miller stressed that a pay-for-performance model will give b-to-b publishers more of a comfort zone with spending on mobile marketing. “They've not a lot of dollars available to test the mobile channel, so many of our pricing models place heavy emphasis on pay for performance,” he said. “Even though it's traceable and measurable, it still needs financial commitments from publishers that are struggling in a downward economy.”
Spending on mobile messaging advertising is expected to grow from $2.3 billion this year to $4.5 billion in 2012, according to eMarketer. Total spending on mobile advertising is projected to pass $6.5 billion in 2012.
“The penetration rate for smart phones is reaching a critical mass,” said Dave Rowe, media director for b-to-b ad agency Doremus. “Advertisers need to develop content for mobile and publishers need to explore different ad units for mobile rather than tiny banner ads.” He added: “We've looked at similar opportunities [to 1105 Media's mobile campaign] but we haven't pulled the trigger.”
McDonagh said that business publishers have to tread carefully in using new-media channels. “We've been doing podcasts for years and it hasn't resulted in a significant change in the way we promote online events, but we're certainly willing to continue being innovative,” she said. “When you stop being innovative, you may as well close the business.” M