Sounding Off: Ismalis Mendoza “Direct Marketing Is a Love/Hate Relationship”

Direct marketing is a love/hate relationship. It is the stair master of advertising. You love to hate it, but it is so good for you.   There are many media tactics out there. There’s broadcast on PI, direct response rates on broad rotators, direct mail, email marketing and online on CPA/CPC/CPL models and now mobile. Yes, I said mobile.   The buzzword of the year is probably one of the most cost-efficient direct response tools out there for US Hispanics. 

Last July, E-marketer released a very insightful study on US Hispanics and their mobile marketing behavior and consumption. The report had some interesting insights into tendencies and behavior that can be easily exploited by marketers to hit their target audience in the most efficient manner.  The study found that U.S. Hispanics over-index in almost all mobile categories including text messaging behavior, technology adaptation, downloading of applications and music, price comparison when shopping, searching for information and mobile web usage.  

The most telling of these findings, besides the technology adaptation, is the fact that the mobile web is being considered as a tool for decision-making during the buying process. Marketers who are smart will figure out ways to exploit the fact that the mobile web is becoming a purchasing resource guide, especially for those who require sensitive information such as social security numbers and credit card information.

A mobile display campaign linked to a simple WAP page with information and a call button is one of the best tools for direct marketing advertisers who haven’t necessarily seen low CPL/CPA for online display campaign and, in fact, any other direct response effort. Mobile on a click-to-call model works in the following manner: it involves the purchase of inventory on a mobile web ad network that is similar to an online ad network. Depending on the network you are working with, you can either purchase the inventory on a low CPM or even a CPC, if allowed. You can either link the banners to directly place a call to the client’s dedicated 1-800 number or direct them to a WAP page. 

I really don’t recommend the first course of action. Setting up a click-to-call directly off a banner will lead to a large amount of dropped calls and false leads. People who do not lock their phones and either put them in their pockets or let their children play with the phone will be prime offenders for causing false leads and blank calls. Instead, I recommend that you direct the banners to a simple landing page with the offer and information and a button to call directly. Do not put the 1-800 number and a call button on the page at the same time. This will confuse the consumer and lead to blank calls and false leads. When implementing the call button, make sure that the technology that places the call works on all devices, not just new models.   Failure to implement a call button that will work with all handsets means you might lose up to 75% of your leads and inbound calls. 

Mobile campaigns can be optimized to improve success ratios. You can play around with the layout of your page and where you place the button.   Additional optimizations include moving inventory from one carrier to another, excluding handsets that don’t produce results and also limiting the hours in which the campaign is on air. 

Don’t be afraid of mobile as a direct response tool. Your target consumer is open to the messaging and they are already interacting with the technology.   Remember the stair master looks painful, and there will be times when you’ll question yourself for getting on it. But at the end of the day, it will give you the results you need just like mobile marketing.

Ismalis Mendoza is a graduate of Boston University, Bachelor of Science in Communication.She has previously worked at Zenithoptimedia handling Hewlett Packard for the Latin American region.  Additionally, she also worked at Universal McCann handling their online advertising initiatives for MasterCard, Texas Tourism and GM and the Hispanic Group as a Digital Media Strategist handling the mobile and online display advertising for DishLatino.  Ismalis currently works as Media Supervisor at Marca where she handles PNC Bank and Norwegian Cruise Lines for the Hispanic market.