Home > Uncategorized > Mobile marketing in Japan

Mobile marketing in Japan

As researching on mobile engagement for the book project, I asked my friend living in Japan about Japan’s mobile marketing development. I would like to share our conversation about the mature development and various applications of mobile marketing in Japan.

Japanese cell phones have different operating systems from all other countries in the world. Accessing the Internet is the essential function of every mobile phone. Each mobile phone has its own email address. Unlike text messages, email can carry as many words and images as users want. So, most Japanese people send email rather than text messages through their mobile phones. And, one thing that I admire most is permit-based mobile marketing. Their mobile phones have the system which could filter spam. It’s even illegal to send advertising message/email without users’ permits. Thus, people don’t usually receive spam. The fact that users wouldn’t be bothered by spam enhances user experiences.

Since every Japanese people can connect to the Internet through their mobile phones, companies build their own mobile Websites to reach consumers. For the majority of products, consumers can scan QR barcode by their mobile phone to get further information about the product. Consumers can even link to the Websites of products and place orders. For restaurants or stores, consumers can go to the Websites to type promotion codes to get coupons. With GPS built in, mobile phones read 2D barcodes and would automatically link to navigation. Consumers would know how to go to the restaurants or stores without looking up the addresses. For movie theaters or trains, consumers can also go to the mobile Website to book tickets in advance.

Just like iPhone, lots of applications are created for Japanese mobile phone. Users can download all kinds of applications, such as local search for restaurants. For example, McDonald’s in Japan has its app, which can find a nearby store for consumers. Consumers can also download coupons on their mobile phone and show it in the stores. These applications enable the communication between companies and consumers more effective.

Besides, Japanese people can do almost everything in their daily life through mobile phones. The mobile phones could be PDA, checking out weather and subway/train schedules. The mobile phones could be “electronic money” (like credit card) for users to pay in the convenience stores and vending machines. The mobile phones could even be subway/train tickets (just like Charlie Card in Boston.) Users can add value and tap the machine to enter subway/train stations. Mobile engagement did create a lot of convenience for people.

Except Japan and South Korea, mobile marketing is relatively new to other countries. With different culture, mobile marketing in the US might have some limits for its development. Especially, American people don’t rely on mobile phones so much, I am looking forward to seeing what other factors would accelerate mobile marketing development in the US.

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