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Consumers Accept, Welcome Mobile Marketing

By Pamela Parker     Feedback

A Nokia-funded study finds that 88 percent of those surveyed would be receptive to certain types of marketing messages on their cell phones.

A new study funded by mobile phone manufacturer Nokia and conducted by HPI Research found that an overwhelming majority of mobile phone users surveyed (88 percent) would be receptive to receiving electronic coupons for bricks-and-mortar stores on their cellular phones.

In fact, the study found that nearly a third (31 percent) would actually welcome such marketing.

The findings arise out of a survey undertaken by HPI Research in June 2001, when 3300 people in eleven different global markets were questioned. The markets covered were Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.

Consumer acceptance of mobile marketing messages has been one of the greatest fears of the nascent industry, but, despite numerous studies documenting people's willingness to receive such messages, mobile marketing has thus far failed to take off in any meaningful way. So, as the industry remains in a testing -- rather than an implementation -- stage, the Nokia study, though obviously funded by a party with a stake in expanding the uses of cellular technology, sheds more light on the factors that need to be in place for consumers to accept such messages.

First, consumers needed to feel that they had the choice whether or not to receive messages. Secondly, the ability to bypass messages easily and quickly was important. Thirdly, people surveyed sought customization -- the ability to filter the types of messages received. And lastly, mobile phone users wanted a mutual benefit; for example, they wanted a reduction in the cost of mobile service in exchange for getting marketing messages. Nearly nine out of ten (86 percent) of those surveyed said mobile marketing would be acceptable if it helped keep the cost of service down.

In a move that reflects the mobile phone industry's interest in developing higher bandwidth networks, the study also asked users about mobile visual entertainment. Of the consumers that expressed an interest in such capabilities, 76 percent said they wouldn't mind if the programming was interrupted by very short advertisements. Fifty-one percent said they wouldn't see advertising as intrusive if it resembled the way ads are presented on television.

This article was originally published on January 30, 2002
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