July 19th, 2005

Contextual Mobile Marketing & Sales

These hypothetical situations have been articulated by start-up’s for years, and it looks like they are inching closer to reality here in 2005. Fox has signed a deal with WideRay to allow them to distribute mobile content associated with the movie via bluetooth kiosks in a handful of theaters worldwide. See story.

This marketing initiative is a good first step by Fox to promote the mobile content that has been developed in association with the movie. If consumers have free ring tone and wallpaper trials, they are more likely to purchase games and ring tones.

The effort falls short, however, in terms of driving traffic into the theater. Movie posters, TV adds, magazine ads, web sites, etc. should have short codes that enable mobile phone users to download trailers and content teasers before they hit the theaters. Yes, it won’t be free – they’ll have to pay for the data download, but it offers an excellent marketing opportunity.

Moreover, I think they are smart in limiting the initiative to a handful of cities at the start. Most handsets do not have bluetooth capability, and many consumers with bluetooth capable devices do not understand how to use the technology.

Consumer education and a simplified user experience will be a key to success in this market.

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