Of Malls, Music and Mobile Marketing

Irvine Spectrum Center wants to connect to your phone.

Shopping malls and other marketers are increasingly using mobile text message marketing to connect more closely with customers.

It’s a smart move. As mobile marketing company Emarcom points out, three things that all consumers now carry at all times are: keys, wallet, and phone. That means text message marketing is a highly effective way to get close to your customer’s pocketbook.

Reach Out and Text Someone

Emarcom’s J.M. Bernstein notes, “Of the 280-plus million mobile phones in the U.S., rarely is one’s phone more than four feet away.” Ain’t it the truth.

Music and mobile are merging in big ways.

Forrester Research reports that 57% of all U.S. consumers over age 18 use text messaging on their phones. Of 37,000 respondents to Forrester’s survey, 73% said their cell phone is the electronic device they use most. PCs are second-most-used at 58%. For many teens and young adults, emails are passé. This audience prefers to communicate via text or not at all. Studies show that text messages now outnumber actual phone calls. Per Nielson Mobile, less than 40% of marketing emails sent are actually viewed. On the other hand, over 90% of text messages received are viewed within 15 minutes.

Join the Mobile Club

The Irvine Spectrum Center has jumped on the bandwagon by inviting shoppers to text a message and join their “mobile club” to receive discounts, alerts, and special offers. (Not sure what the difference is between “discounts” and “special offers”, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to receive “alerts” if there’s no deal attached.) It got more interesting at another mall a little further down the freeway.

Text Your Song Request

Table tent tells how to text for tunes.

The Shops at Mission Viejo offered a modern twist on the old-fashioned jukebox. Instead of the one-genre-for-everyone Muzak system, the food court featured a video jukebox, hosted by Akoo.com, which bills itself as the “world’s largest social music television network.” Mall patrons could request a song by texting. I tried it and was surprised to have my request played a mere 30 seconds later. (I chose OK Go’s “End Love”.)

Pick a song, any song.

Unfortunately, the song’s audio could barely be heard over the din of the diners. It was more like visual wallpaper than a musical experience. But fun nevertheless.

Mobile Music Marketing

Not only are malls using texting to market music and shopping, but musicians are using it more and more to market themselves. Earlier I blogged about how Hollywood Park offered mobile discounts to their summer concert series, which we took advantage of to see Devo.

It used to be that bands toured to support an album release. Now it’s the other way around. Artists don’t make much money from album/CD sales these days, so music is the loss-leader. Touring and merchandising is where the profits are being made.

Building a List By Giving Away Music

During the recent Tom Petty/ZZ Top show at Irvine Meadows (okay, “Verizon Wireless Amphitheater”), concertgoers were informed that their ticket price included a digital copy of the new Tom Petty album, “Mojo.”

Tom Petty at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.

By texting “GetMojo” to the mobile code, then their email, participants received a download link 48 hours later. (Prior to the concert, I didn’t even know he had a new album out.) Once you’ve sent your text, you’re automatically part of the Tom Petty list.

Mobile Message Crawls

Another creative use of texting came during the concert intermission. Attendees were encouraged to text a message, which then appeared in a crawl across the giant video screen for all to see. My son got his message up on the screen (about how he loved ZZ Top).

Tom Petty is giving away his new Mojo music to get email addresses.

There must have been some monitoring or censoring involved, because only positive messages got put up, like “I love this venue” or “… will you marry me?” (My own message complaining about $13 beers didn’t make the cut. No surprise there.)

If I was going to buy an overpriced beer, I might have patronized the Most Interesting Beach Bar, just because I like the interesting Dos Equis pitchman.

The Most Interesting Beach Bar in the World was at the Tom Petty concert.

Test Texting

If you’d like to learn more about how to apply mobile marketing for your business, check out Emarcom at http://www.emarcom.com or text “emcsite” to 32020 for a demo.

Have you seen other creative uses of mobile text marketing or consumer engagement lately? If so, leave a comment. It’s almost as easy as texting.



6 responses to “Of Malls, Music and Mobile Marketing

  1. It’s not only the customers that want more mobile marketing. My clients are demanding access to texting for dollars, (I made that up). Good info Mitch, and it’s all free. Thanks

    • Thanks, Ken! Last night I attended a great event by O’Neill that involved text-voting by the audience, with results tabulated before the end of the night. (Future blog post!) Always good to hear from you.

  2. Pingback: O’Neill Fashion Show Features Student Designs | Love Hate Advertising

  3. Hey Guys,
    Really nice work that you are doing 🙂 keep it up…. 🙂

  4. Un grand oui !

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