Mobile marketing - hype or a hope?

Steinbeis student sets up new international communication channel

For many companies, the advent of smartphones has pushed mobile marketing – the use of mobile devices for marketing purposes – to the top of the agenda. In 2011, the commercial power tools division of Robert Bosch GmbH saw this as a key opportunity. As part of his degree project, Claudius Pscheidl, a graduate of the School of International Business and Entrepreneurship at Steinbeis University Berlin, and now an e-marketing manager at Bosch Power Tools Asia Pacific, was in charge of establishing mobile marketing as an innovative communication channel.

For corporations like Google, mobile business is an integral part of the company strategy. But for others, it’s completely uncharted territory. They all face the same challenge, however: how to successfully promote products via mobile devices, convey the brand positively in the mobile environment, and strengthen the connection between customers and the company. All this may have to be worked out for target groups that in socio-demographic terms are nothing like early adopters. These were challenges that Claudius Pscheidl faced with his project, as well as the complexities of coordinating a project with international stakeholders, inside and outside the company.

These days, mobile marketing is in a variety of campaigns in all areas of the marketing mix. It can involve using the communication channel to place advertising in third-party campaigns, use of the company’s own website, or even stand-alone mobile solutions such as apps. The aim of the Steinbeis project carried out by Pscheidl was to set up mobile marketing as a new communication channel and establish a bridgehead from which to expand into further areas of the marketing mix.

Pscheidl’s degree at the School of International Business and Entrepreneurship (SIBE) at Steinbeis University Berlin ran in parallel to his fulltime work, and this helped him define a strategic foothold for the project. The design concept for the communication instruments focused strongly on users, and it was based on an underlying principle called utility marketing. The aim of this is to provide users with offerings that provide real benefit (utility) and high levels of user relevance, thus leaving a positive imprint on the brand. This relevance dimension is central to success, especially in mobile marketing, as smartphones have evolved into one of modern society’s most personal companions in everyday life.

Pscheidl implemented his project through key instruments such as an analysis of the requirements of his target group and the market, and a definition of potential benefit-based app functions. Services were tested through market research with handymen to assess whether they were actually user-relevant and to check certain hypotheses. The main output of Pscheidl’s project was a Bosch toolbox app – the first-ever digital toolkit for handymen. It contains a variety of professional tools tailored to their needs, such as a digital measurement camera.

Pscheidl’s project is certainly a success: Having racked up over one million app downloads within a year, it has established a new and unique communication channel for the company. This has allowed Bosch to communicate directly with handymen and other professional users, and feed them with relevant information, such as new products.

The Bosch toolbox app also resulted in a number of positive spin-offs, polishing the brand image as a leading innovator and helping differentiate the company from competitors. It provides a springboard for developing the solution into a comprehensive marketing instrument. And with it, Bosch Power Tools has become part of the future of marketing. Claudius Pscheidl laid the foundations for this success during his degree at Steinbeis University Berlin.

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