The prevalence and convenience of mobile devices have made them indispensable for users. Not just for making calls anymore, mobile phones are redefining the digital lifestyle - from text messages, social media, photo sharing and gaming etc.

Similarly, the mobile marketing industry is poised for a tsunami of growth in the Asia region. While SMS marketing still commands the lion's share of mobile advertising revenues, mobile web advertising is gaining major traction. Innovative mediums of advertising, such as augmented reality, QR codes and in-app advertising are also becoming increasingly popular.

Asia is a unique region for mobile marketing because of its rich geographical and socio-economic diversity. For example, Singapore, Korea and Japan are mature markets with a high penetration of smartphones and mobile data, while emerging markets like Philippines remain the SMS capital of the world.

However, one of the most common mobile marketing tactics today includes the sending of unsolicited messages to customers' mobile devices. Because it's often considered an invasion of privacy, many customers do not appreciate such tactics and will either choose to opt-out or ignore such forms of advertising. That being said, such practices have unfortunately become commonplace in recent years and given mobile advertising a bad reputation.

Asian markets are moving towards an opt-in and permission-based marketing system, to ensure a justified ROI on marketing investment via a targeted and profiling based marketing strategy to ensure that consumers are not spammed. Increasingly, governments are taking an active role in defining regulations for controlled advertising on the small screen.

To better improve ROI on mobile marketing campaigns, brands should qualify their mobile marketing target audience as those who have expressed interest in receiving such communications from an advertiser. At the same time, advertisers should also make it simple for users to unsubscribe should they wish to not receive such messages.

Gemalto's Mobile Marketing Solution, known as Smart Message for Mobile CRM, takes this approach. Completely focused on the interaction and targeted communication with consumers, Smart Message enhances the messaging model, allowing brands to develop real and interactive relationships with their customers.

Smart Message works on 100% of mobile devices, making it one of the most egalitarian interactive channels providing the same user experience on every handset regardless of the model of the user's mobile device and it allows messages to be fully personalized to match the profile of each end-user.

What's truly unique about Smart Message is that it allows consumers to have a dialogue with the mobile advertisement. Advertisements through this channel come in the form of a pop-up on the phone's screen. Users are able to navigate the advertisement through pages and clicks, much like a browser. Smart Message campaigns can have multiple screens and decision trees, each providing a customized message.

By providing this interactivity, Smart Message campaigns increase consumers' exposure to the brand's communication. Smart Message's on-screen pop up feature is also easier to read and increases the text-reading index in comparison with traditional SMS.

Smart Message advertisements are designed to be completely non-intrusive. Users can simply cancel or exit the advertisement when it pops up on their screens. Since Smart Message isn't delivered in the SMS inbox, users don't have to go through the extra hassle of deleting the message from their SMS inbox.

Saurabh OhriThe tool's versatility is another one of its big advantages, since Smart Message can be used not only for campaigns to sell products and mobile services, but also for mobile marketing or advertising activities, qualifying the user base (CRM), and cross-selling or up-selling flows.

These features all combine to give Smart Message marketing campaigns a click through rate that is up to 20 times greater than campaigns using traditional SMS.

Consumers today are over-loaded with information. Permission-based mobile marketing, such as the opt-in methodology, not only increases the chances of getting the message across, but also deepens a brand's engagement with loyal customers. This allows brands to fulfil their CRM's promise of one-to-one marketing – dealing with each person as an individual.

By Saurabh Ohri, Solutions Sales Manager - Asia (Mobile Marketing), Gemalto