NEW DELHI: India's marketers have yet to fully understand the mobile marketing medium and to exploit the possibilities it offers in a nation with 900m mobile subscribers, industry experts have argued.

S. Yesudas, managing director, Indian subcontinent at media agency Vizeum, told the Economic Times that marketers first needed to properly appreciate the way consumers interacted with their devices before attempting to deliver branded messaging.

"Mobile has the maximum potential to create memorable connections as it is the most personal channel," he said. "But, much like what happened to the internet, communication through irrelevant messages irritates the consumers."

One company seeking to address the issue is Hindustan Lever (HUL), which recently invited a number of companies involved in digital marketing, including Google, TechShastra, Netcore and Vserv, to participate in an exhibition in its Mumbai office as a way of enthusing brand managers about mobile.

"Everyone speaks about mobile but few know what it can offer," said Atith Mehta, media manager at HUL. "This is a great opportunity to break that myth and foster education and participation."

HUL has already had some limited success in this area. Mehta's colleague Dushyanth Jayanty, marketing manager for tea, explained that a campaign for Red Label tea had resulted in 2.8m phoning in over a three month period.

Now he had to figure out what to do with all the phone numbers collected. "We don't know which circle they are or whether they are male or female," he said. "We are trying to profile them and target them differently."

Both he and Yesudas remarked on how mobile was forcing marketers to change the way they think.

"We no longer need to look for GRPs or an additional insertion but at new ways of engaging," said Jayanty.

And Yesudas noted: "It has to begin with an inside out thinking – what's in it for the consumers … Mobile marketing consultants should take cues from the device manufacturers on creating new user experiences successfully with every new device."

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff