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To celebrate the launch of our new digital marketing and ecommerce awards, #TheDigitals, I've rounded up six brilliant examples of innovation in mobile.

It follows a recent post that flagged up five great examples of social media marketing excellence.

To avoid any accusations of bias, these are all examples that fall outside the eligibility period for the current awards, but give an idea of the sort of thing we are looking for.

#TheDigitals are the new awards that recognise the best in digital marketing and ecommerce. Award entries must be submitted online before the deadline March 13, 2013.

Award categories cover both industry and platform specific areas. There are special categories for best new technology, rising star (free to enter) and the overall Grand Prix winner. Further information on categories and entry requirements is available at thedigitalsawards.com

So without further ado, here are the six innovative mobile campaigns...

Debenhams

In 2011, Debenhams launched the UK’s first virtual pop-up stores at different locations around the UK using a dedicated app.

People were encouraged to visit famous landmarks, including London’s Trafalgar Square and Glasgow’s George Square, and look at the location using their iPad or iPhone.

If the user is not in the right location, a counter tells them how far away the zone is and the view button on the app will display a map.

Shoppers could then view ten party dresses that were only available at that specific location, try them on using augmented reality technology, purchase the item and get it delivered to a location of their choice.

Shoppers at each location also received an exclusive 20% discount. An additional feature of the virtual pop-up store was that shoppers could upload pictures of the virtual outfits that they tried on, and share this with friends on Facebook or Twitter.

Nike

This campaign may have lost some of its sheen following recent events, but it’s still a good example of how brands can use mobile to involve consumers in marketing campaigns.

Nike’s campaign revolved around printing messages on roads around the Tour de France route.

The 'Chalkbot' was automatically programmed to paint personalised text and online messages in yellow chalk along the route as part of the Lance Armstrong Livestrong campaign.

The aim was to provide messages of hope, support, and perseverance to the cyclists who took part in the race, and inspire them to push themselves that little bit further. 

After the Chalkbot printed the message, it took a picture of the road, logged the time and GPS location then sent it back to the user.

The campaign also aimed to generate money for a charitable cause, as 100% of the profits from Nike’s Livestrong collection go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The campaign was not only innovative, but also effective in terms of increasing the bottom line. The campaign coincided with a 46% jump in sales, generating $4m for Lance Armstrong's fight against cancer.

Nokia

Nokia’s smartphone vending machine was launched during Glasgow’s Social Media Week. The technology allowed users with Foursquare-enabled devices to check-in with a #NokiaConnects hashtag.

Users that checked in received a free gift from the vending machine. Participants were allowed to check-in once a day and received prizes ranging from sweets to free smartphones and other Nokia accessories.

The campaign was part of Nokia and 1000heads’ on-going ‘random acts of kindness’ campaign.

IBM

IBM was the first organisation to develop an augmented reality mobile application with live data streaming that can be used by the public.

IBM created an app called “Seer” for its VIP business leads to use at Wimbledon that combined AR with real data, allowing people at events to use their mobile to see more, and obtain useful data and stats about the game.

Seer works by simply pointing the phone at a court, and then tells you players, scores, seat availability and live updates about what is happening.

It can also help VIPs to avoid the crowds by providing real-time information such as where the nearest toilets are, how long the queue is, and if there are any strawberries and cream left.

IBM said that Seer was a great success at Wimbledon, as it added to IBM’s business guests’ enjoyment of the tournament and proved an impressive demonstration of cutting edge technology and data management.

BMW

An oldie but a goodie, way back in 2008 BMW ran an MMS campaign to sell snow tyres to its German customers.

BMW had data on its recent customers, including their mobile phone number, car model and wheel types. From this, BMW could work out which winter tyre model would need to be fitted onto each car.

Using data about recent sales, BMW segmented its customer base, focusing only on those BMW customers who had owned their car for less than a year and purchased their car in the summer or autumn.

Customers with cars older than a year old would already have purchased winter tyres during the previous year.

BMW’s MMS campaign customised the image of the car that the customer had bought with the colour of the car and the rims purchased.

They then virtually placed the tyres that the customer would require onto the image and waited until the first day that it started to snow in Germany, before sending out the MMS.

The MMS also included a link to a separate mobile site with other tyres and rims, enabling the customer to experiment with the tyre simulator before making a purchase.

The campaign was successful due to BMW’s ability to recognise the key opportunities from the mobile channel. The results speak for themselves: the conversion rate from messages sent to actual tyres purchased was 30%, and the campaign earned a staggering $45m in new business.

Quidco

In May 2011, Quidco released its first mobile application, the first in the UK to reward users with cash for checking into a location. 

As well offering cash, the application offers real-time location-specific targeted offers to the user, including vouchers, bar code vouchers, and in-store cashback deals.

Instant discounts are available to users of the app by displaying the voucher or bar code on their website. The check-in function rewards the user with cash and bigger discounts than previously shown. 

The cash is paid into the user’s Quidco account and can be withdrawn twice monthly.

The in-store cashback is awarded to customers using their registered credit or debit card, which allows retailers to have a definitive understanding of return on investment on ad spend. 

Retailers can also target consumers based on demographic, location and previous spend behaviour.

Using check-in helps to drive footfall in-store. Targeted deals and in-store redemption help to drive conversion of sales. By October 2011, Quidco found that app users had used the check-in function 65,000 times, and for in-store alone, spend increased by 200%.

David Moth

Published 14 February, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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