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Microsoft talks B2B mobile advertising strategy in Mobile Marketer webinar

In a business-to-business webinar organized by this publication, a Microsoft executive explained the strategy behind a mobile campaign to boost awareness and drive demand for the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server among technology decision-makers.

The campaign's goals were to drive high-volume traffic to a custom mobile Web site and increase brand awareness within the target market, attendees were told on this webinar sponsored by mobile ad network Millennial Media. Also, Microsoft wanted to measure the impact of customized audio/visual content for mobile.

"Mobile allows us to focus on a specific target audience in the B2B space," said John Cosley, digital marketing lead for Microsoft, Redmond, WA. "Mobile lets us target down to a fairly granular level through hyper-targeting via demographic, psychographic and geographic information.

"We used mobile to extend our traditional media and reach out to an audience on a unique and uncluttered medium," he said. "This campaign also took advantage of the immediacy and intimacy when someone is using their mobile device."

The B2B mobile campaign was meant to gauge the impact of social functionality on site stickiness and aimed to generate qualified email registrants.

The campaign generated exceptional results and exceeded expectations, with mobile driving traffic 11 times more effectively than other media channels.

Additionally, the site's community features resulted in a 20 percent increase in engagement and customized content and resulted in a four-fold increase in registrations.

The most successful use of budget came from broadly targeted media placements and the highest volume of qualified leads came from non-technology-oriented sites.

"We wanted to get information on handset data," Mr. Cosley said. "We were relatively surprised with the outcome of registration via a mobile device.

The traditional notion is that less is more in terms of fields someone has to fill out.

"We decided to put eight fields in, but we felt it was an interesting opportunity to see if people would go through a full registration process," he said. "We were pleasantly surprised that it didn't really act as a barrier to entry and that we exceeded our goals when it came to lead generation."

According to Markus Startzel, senior vice president at Millennial Media, the social aspect of the mobile phone is highlighted in this case study.

The size and reach of the mobile Internet has reached 59 million users, a 48 percent growth year over year.

"The iPhone, new Palm Pre, BlackBerry devices and Android are driving a lot of usage of the mobile Web," Mr. Startzel said. "Fifty-nine million is almost three times newspaper circulation in the U.S. and three to four times the average primetime broadcast event.

"It really has hit a scale point," he said. "At the end of the day, you're trying to reach an audience.

"Build that audience through sponsorship or handset targeting."

The biggest challenge for B2B mobile marketing is there's a smaller audience.

Mr. Startzel suggested relevant media targeting, whitepapers, content to-go, mobile video communities, making traditional media interactive, registration and lead generation, integrating mobile into events and, ROI and savings calculators.

Microsoft was able to see success with this campaign through ad banners placed on targeted mobile sites and mobile search buys that drove people to a mobile landing page where they could get an overview of the content.

Once people got to the page, they could register, view the content, interact with social features or request more information.

Niles Lichtenstein, director of strategy and integration for mobile agency Ansible, discussed the mobile behavior of the B2B audience.

Ansible has been working with Microsoft for a year and a half, taking mobile out of the evangelizing stage and really integrating as part of the company's architecture.

Microsoft has taken the lead in using mobile for a commercial audience, targeting executives (6.5 million) and technical decision makers (5.4 million) with this mobile campaign.

Microsoft's strategy was based on the behavior of the B2B audience.

The majority of executives use smartphones and companies are still spending on mobility and productivity tools for small to medium-sized businesses.

"This group has been using smartphones the longest and uses mobile email, alerts and browses the mobile Web," Mr. Lichtenstein said. "Also this audience is browsing and downloading apps and games.

"We targeted video-enabled phones," Mr. Lichtenstein said. "Mobile SEO pays off, as we got organic traffic from search.

"We also very much believe in the 'no phones left behind' theory so users who have a less advanced phone can still interact with the brand," he said.

Please click here to experience the archived version of the Microsoft webinar.