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Mobile coupons for all, not just smartphone users

MixMobi has launched a mobile coupon platform that lets retailers use text messaging, RSS, email and social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook to create offers and send them to all mobile devices.

The service debuted in September with two clients, ShoppeSimple (see story) and Sprout, a green business promoter that has 25 to 30 mobile offers through MixMobi. Mobile Commerce Daily’s Chris Harnick spoke with Minneapolis-based MixMobi founder Lisa Foote about her company and the state of mobile coupons.

Here is what she had to say:

What’s the strategy behind the MixMobi service? 
Our strategy is giving customers the ability to create compelling offers in real time that work on any Web-enabled mobile device, and can be shared across any digital media, including SMS, email and any social media. This was a very common request I heard late 2008 and early 2009.

What challenges does your platform address for retailers and brands that want to serve coupons to on-the-go consumers?  
MixMobi addresses these needs for merchants and brands:

1. Reach all mobile devices, not just the 18 percent that are smartphones
2. Easily integrate social media with mobile offers
3. Create offers in real time to address what consumers are interested in right now
4. See sophisticated reporting in minutes, including the ability to compare mobile offer performance across SMS, email, Facebook and Twitter to optimize ROI

Do you target by demographic? What is the key demographic for mobile coupons?
We do not target by demographic, but our clients do. 

Since we work with any Web-enabled mobile device, any sharing method, clients can use MixMobi with any demographic and tailor to target that demographic. 

So, if a MixMobi client has end-customers who are into Facebook, he can share through Facebook.  Another client might have more SMS-using customers.   

What is your outlook for mobile coupons for the rest of 2010?
We share Yankee Group’s assessment that mobile offers are poised to grow at least 11 times the amount from 2009 to 2010.

As more merchants find easy to use, accessible method for creating, sharing and measuring mobile offers, they will become a norm for promotions.

Why is it important for marketers and brands to target the whole mobile community, not just smartphone users?
If you are a mass marketer, you must reach beyond the 18 percent of mobile devices that are smartphones. 

As a marketer, you need to reach 100 percent of your potential audience. While MixMobi integrates well with smartphone applications, we believe merchants need to maximize their reach. 

What has been the most popular coupon type of offer on your platform?
One of Sprout’s merchants achieved 31 percent redemption with a Sunday brunch offer. 

Clearly, spot offers and incentives, especially those shared through social media, are showing results.

What industry have you gotten the most feedback from or use of your services? For example, food and restaurants or clothing retailers.
Our strongest response so far has been from marketers and advertising agencies who are using the platform on behalf of a broad array of merchants.  

How is MixMobi different from other mobile coupon companies?
Unlike smartphone applications, merchants can reach the vast number of consumers who do not own smartphones. 

Another differentiator is the ability for merchants to share their offers through various media and in minutes see results, helping them understand ROI and what channels are most effective for them [and] at what time of day. 

For example, a merchant might send an offer through an existing SMS list, email, Twitter and Facebook, and see that his most effective channels are SMS and Facebook, with weekdays being optimal for SMS, and evening and weekend being best for Facebook posts.

Here is a video detailing MixMobi’s platform: