Mexico’s mobile telephony penetration is significant – an impressive 81.3% according to COFETEL statistics, which translates into more than 90.1 million active lines – a fact that sets the stage for great communication opportunities with users at different times throughout the day.
In seeking to opportunities to leverage on this, generally the requests and solutions that are being considered are directed more to developing applications (the app store surpassed 350,000 and android market 250,000 around the world), occasionally these are considered ‘a first option’ because they are “sexier” and offer greater “creative” impact, however, I feel that as with any other communications channel, what should matter most is the application’s objective, or the proposed campaign.
A particular application becomes relevant and makes more sense when the target audience it intends to create an impact upon, has a given profile and especially when it solves a need or provides a user experience that would otherwise not have the same impact (Angry Birds and Foursquare are great examples of this). As is the case with many other technological applications, what matters is what it enables me to do – rather than the technology itself.
Considering that Smartphones currently have market presence of over 39% and provide capabilities that go way beyond installing applications, including the capabilities to connect to 3G/EDGE networks and WiFi – resources used to search for information— that’s where optimized sites for mobile phones (CSS/HTML, WAP) become ever more relevant. If your company offers relevant information that user groups might need to search for, an optimized site for mobile platforms is the ideal option to consider.
Now, on the other hand, when we think about information that can be distributed in a brief and simple format, and further, that can be useful to the total universe of mobile phone users, an SMS-based platform is what makes perfect sense, as everyone has access to and is familiar with this type of technology (indeed, even users ages 45+ and with basic devices). Again, what matters is to take into consideration that the user needs to be interested in taking action (sending an SMS) to interact with your brand – so whatever is offered via this service must be useful to them.
As with all communications platform, tactics and implementation depend on the fact that the strategy must consider the benefits that will be provided to target audiences. I recommend we bear in mind that, for this technology, and pretty much for any online initiative, the end user is the one who decides whether or not to actually use it, which is why the challenge becomes to be sufficiently attractive right from the beginning, so the interaction does in fact take place and provides a value-add.