Ajax Persaud Ajax Persaud has published a study of consumers’ willingness to accept marketing through their smartphones. Technology continues to change at a brisk pace; apps that allow consumers in a physical store to use their smartphone to take a photo of a product and immediately receive price comparisons and customer reviews are only the beginning. But Persaud, professor of marketing at the Telfer School, says the speed of innovation has also left marketers scrambling to adapt. He says this same challenge confronts Facebook as the company looks to bolster its share price. “Facebook, like other marketers, is struggling with how to monetize the mobile interface.”

Prof. Persaud and his co-author Irfan Azhar explain that marketers need to:

  • Recognize that consumers' shopping style, brand trust, and value are key motivations for engaging in mobile marketing through their smartphones.

  • Tap into consumers’ motivations and emotional connections when trying to engage them with their brand.

  • Respect privacy. A customer who gives her permission to participate in a certain campaign has not given a company unfettered access to involve her in all of its mobile marketing efforts.

  • Stick to creating awareness, encouraging dialogue, and gaining consumers’ trust (for new and lesser-known brands).

  • Integrate their mobile marketing strategy with their traditional and web-based marketing strategies as much as possible.

Says Persaud: “Delivering value to the consumer is about more than providing useful information or coupons; mobile marketing must result in tangible benefits in terms of convenience, efficiency, flexibility, and relevance. When a marketer finds a way to develop brand trust and deliver the value that you demand, that’s the beginning of what could be a long relationship.”

At the same time, Persaud adds, while mobile marketing can deliver relevant, personalised, and contextualised information and marketing offers via Bluetooth, shopping apps, and other technologies, “it should be recognized that not all consumers will want all of these features, no matter how many advantages they offer.”