Nowhere in the world is the mobile space developing as fast as in Asia. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) estimates there were 2.65 billion mobile phone subscriptions in Asia and the Pacific as of October 2010.
Sustained high economic growth in China and India has translated to increased mobile phone usage in those countries. Mobithinking reported that together, these twin giants of Asia have added 300 million new mobile subscriptions in 2010, more than the total number of mobile subscribers in the United States.
However, new concerns are arising and governments across the region are looking closely at consumer protection. Singapore’s government has announced plans to regulate the telecom sector more closely, and others are likely to follow suit. The policy changes are aimed at protecting consumers against unanticipated data charges, misleading advertising, and other misuse of personal information and data.
Consumers must feel that mobile marketing provides them with true utility, and that their privacy is not compromised or likely to be invaded by mobile marketing efforts. What is needed is a position of cooperation where consumers and marketers are working together, and where consumer protection is of the utmost importance.
Called opt-in marketing, this cooperative position stands the usual marketing paradigm on its head. Consumers choose to participate (by opting in) and, in return for their attention, they receive something of value. This may be, for example, advance notice of concerts or special discounts, electronic coupons, freebies or other incentives.
At the same time, consumers are offered the chance to share information about themselves such as general demographic data that is not too specific – like age and gender -- and their interests. This way, consumers do not receive material that they are not interested in. They can also opt-out at any point, which leaves control squarely in their hands.
Combining opt-in with profiling is a highly effective way to create a comfortable and trusted mobile advertising eco-system. Consumers give consent in order to receive valuable information, offers and promotions tailored to their lifestyle, which leads to higher-than-average engagement rates with campaigns from brands.