Mobile Deals, Coupons, & Alerts- Saving Money with Your Cell Phone

October 23, 2008

Mobile devices will have a growing impact on how people manage, track, and spend their money in the coming years.  Mobile banking, mobile shopping, and even personal finance tracking on our cell phones or other devices will give us additional flexibility and functionality in spending and managing our money.

One thing consumers need to be aware of is how mobile devices will become another channel for interacting with businesses and service providers.  Some businesses are starting to take notice of the potential of mobile marketing to customize targeted offers, notifications, and deals to their customers. 

Mobile Marketing Good for Consumers?

For some insight into what mobile marketing means to consumers and how we can benefit from it, I talked with Kim Dushinski, author of the upcoming book (Nov 2008) the Mobile Marketing Handbook.  The book is a step by step guide to creating dynamic mobile marketing campaigns.  Kim wrote the Mobile Marketing Handbook to help businesses learn how to reach out to their customers on mobile devices with text messaging, Bluetooth, and the mobile web.

Of course everyone’s first concern about mobile marketing is that we’ll start seeing spam on our cell phones.  I wanted to talk with Kim because she’s done an enormous amount of research into effective methods of mobile marketing that benefit not just the business but also the consumer. 

First I’ll let Kim address our spam and privacy concerns, and then we’ll go into more detail on the mechanics of mobile marketing from the consumer standpoint and how we can use it to save money.

1) What do we need to know about avoiding unwanted mobile advertising, or “mobile spam”?

You should know that the mobile industry is already looking out for you in this regard. First of all, mobile marketing is a permission-based marketing tool. You have to actually agree to be marketed to you on your phone before a business can contact you on it. The exception of course is seeing banner or text ads when you are on a mobile website. That is pretty much the same as any online advertising, it is just there.

Text messaging is highly regulated. In order for a business to begin a text message campaign they have to get it approved by the cell phone carriers first and they have to give you a way to stop any further messages from coming to you. Typically this by sending the word STOP or REMOVE to the number that sent you a text message.

With Bluetooth marketing the best way to avoid being contacted when you don’t want to be is to keep your Bluetooth device turned off and/or in undiscoverable mode. Otherwise you could receive a message asking if you want to receive a message.

If you receive something that you don’t want, try first to send STOP or REMOVE. If you get further messages contact your cell phone carrier and they can shut the campaign down.

 2) What kinds of benefits will consumers see from opting in to receive mobile offers, notifications, and deals?

When businesses do mobile marketing right you will find a lot of value being provided to you via mobile. In addition to coupons and other financial incentives you will also be able to get alerts – something you want is now available (maybe a seat at your favorite restaurant that always has a line) or something is happening that you want to know about.

Smart businesses will first figure out what you want to get from them via mobile and then offer it to them. So, if you think of something that you wish you could get from a business, tell them.

3) What types of businesses are best suited for sending mobile alerts to customers and which ones are already starting to use them?

Many types of businesses are suited for mobile alerts from hair salons (your stylist has an appointment available) to dry cleaners (your rush order is ready to be picked up) to restaurants (we’re having a two-for-one dinner tonight). Gas stations are even signing people up to get a pricing alert when prices are about to go up.

More Mobile Marketing Answers

Kim took the time to answer several more questions about mobile marketing, I’ll publish those questions and answers tomorrow so stay tuned to hear more about what mobile marketing means to consumers and how we can benefit from it.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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3 Responses to Mobile Deals, Coupons, & Alerts- Saving Money with Your Cell Phone

  • Giorgos Saslis

    I think that as with all forms of marketing, it is up to the business to ‘do it right’. If it doesn’t, the marketing message simply doesn’t get through to the consumer. Neither the business, nor the consumer benefits from this.

    I agree that, with mobile, the potential is even greater for penetration, for those ‘smart businesses’ that choose wisely in their mobile marketing campaings. There is a lot of room for passing a marketing message through a Value-Added Service for the consumer, as the medium is now the mobile phone, that people are highly interactive with.


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