Kodak: A Lesson In Mobile Marketing

In India on July 20, 2011 by dariguti

iPhones, Androids and Blackberries have changed the way we live. Every time I have a few minutes, I pull out my phone and scroll my emails, monitor the breaking news, update Twitter, check out my Facebook news feed or even take the opportunity to chat with a friend through text or instant messaging. Without my phone, waiting time just feels like wasted time. Whether for doing research on the go or scrolling websites while waiting for the next train, my phone provides me with a powerful, and sometimes addictive, source of information.

Whenever I am in front of a computer, I am working on a specific task, any communication received during this time will probably be half read or even completely ignored. Considering that, I would say that the best way to engage me would be through my mobile device while I am waiting at the doctor’s office, at the line in Starbucks or on my way to the next event on my schedule.

Like me, there are many others. In fact, with 67% of the world population being mobile users and mobile Internet usage on the rise, I am probably an excellent example of where the world is heading. Mobile Internet use is close to replacing computers in many parts of the world and the way mobile technology is revolutionizing our lives is being noticed by businesses worldwide.

Why Mobile Marketing?

According to Mobile Marketing Watch the potential for this technology is obvious, especially in developing nations such as Africa and India where cellular penetration (CP) has more than doubled since 2005. A study conducted by Nokia in partnership with TNS India shows that mobile web users are using their mobile to access the Internet 2.4 days per week versus using traditional web 2.7 days per week and even more users get new product information via the mobile web (28%) than the traditional web (26%). Additionally, mobile banner ads have high penetration rates with users and are considerable conversation generators. The chart below further explains mobile usage in India.

Mobile Usage in India

Mobile Internet marketing is the way to engage consumers. Not only because of its reach but also its cost efficiency.  In the words of Sanjay Gupta, CMO of Airtel, a global communications company: “The cost of interaction of mobile is low, there is a huge cost efficiency to use mobile for interaction, low cost of transaction and, therefore, there are big opportunities for advertisers to leverage the use of this medium.”

Additionally, as Indus Mobile, a mobile marketing services and technology company headquartered in Mumbai, India, explains, this technology provides a unique communication channel that is direct, personalized, targeted, interactive and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  This powerful marketing tool broadens your reach by effectively targeting audiences who are not as accessible through traditional media channels.

In India, 65% of the population are mobile users and this figure is rapidly increasing at a rate 20 million new subscribers per month. Organizations in the Indian market know all this and are rapidly becoming innovators in this type of marketing.

Let’s look at a great example!


Kodak understood how to use mobile marketing to engage their customers and ensure strong results. This company turned to mobile advertising in order to increase their customer base at Kodak Express photo processing outlets in India.  But, it wasn’t just about increasing foot traffic to their shops, it was also about gathering customer information to create a database with profiles of preferences that could help them understand consumer behavior. Customers were willing to submit this information (through surveys) because, once they completed the process,—and completion included sending 50 prints to your local Kodak Express Photo Outlet—they would have the opportunity to win a 2GB iPod Nano or a 1GB memory card.

But the prize wasn’t the only reason customers engaged… With simple and concise messages such as “Kodak Express Shoot It Win It!” and “Print them now. Win them now!”, Kodak encouraged customers to click through banners and navigate to their site through an efficient and cheap channel.

More than merely seeking to engage mobile users, Kodak customized their approach and related it back to their brand by aiming towards camera-phone users, therefore potential consumers rather than focusing on demographics. “The mobile campaign was a sort of experiment—promoting Kodak to people with camera phones,” said CEO of the Singapore based advertising company. “The goals were to increase footfalls to the Kodak Express outlets in India and to consolidate user profile and behavior understanding from Kodak Express users.”

Additionally, I found this approach especially interesting because now that digital cameras are the preferred modus operandi not many people print their photos.  Personally, I still print a few pictures here and there, I like the feel of having them in my hand but I would never think of printing the pictures from my camera phone… and why not? This approach worked not only because the tactics clearly made sense when related to the product but also because it wasn’t about a developing a mobile campaign it was about reaching key publics to possibly change behaviors and introduce the consumer to new options by correctly choosing the tool to accomplish it.

How did Kodak do? During the one-month duration of the campaign, Kodak generated 11 million visits to the survey page, with a click through rate of 1.7 percent.  Even more, Kodak now has a database of profiles and preferences that will teach them about consumer behavior and will help them develop more strategies and tactics.

This campaign was not only creative, targeted and well put together, it also showed that the people in charge of strategizing it understood the medium and their audience, a skill that many struggle with in this era characterized by an overwhelming amount of available mediums. Cost effective and efficient marketing tools like mobile marketing are revolutionizing not only India but also the world. Considering all this, I think mobile can only get more relevant going forward. As for Kodak, they have an interesting head start.

One Response to “Kodak: A Lesson In Mobile Marketing”

  1. This was an interesting post and take on the mobile culture in India and opportunities for brands. Your example of Kodak was an unexpected brand using marketing to connect the experience of mobile phones and taking photos with something as real and tangible as getting those photos printed. The one piece of feedback I would share on this post is that it went on for a bit too long in working to make your point. I would encourage you to try and take a stronger editing lens on it to make sure you keep your intro and the overall statistics area shorter and more to the point. This will allow you to get to the Kodak campaign a bit sooner. Also, when you talk about the Kodak campaign, you also note that printing photos is a behaviour that you would never do. Why do you think this campaign works in targeting other consumers who are probably in the same category as you are and may not see the value or reason to actually print their photos? This was a great point to raise, but you didn’t really take the chance to explore whether you actually thought this was an issue for the campaign or how you felt they might have gotten past it. As a result, your post had good information, but your point of view faded a bit into the distance. (4 – 1 for late posting = 3)

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