One of the little-reported stories from Japan’s wireless webs is how companies big and small are using mobile for marketing, sales support, and CRM. Today, WWJ goes behind the scenes for a never-before-seen preview of the Java-based m-marketing system built for major auto maker GM’s Opel brand by Tokyo-based BeTrend Corp. Based on a custom version of BeTrend’s BeatCast engine and due to launch next month, the system provides customer support, sales and marketing information – and cool pics of the newest cars. Japan mobile at its most sophisticated – and sublime!
Comments from Wireless Watch Japan Editor-in-Chief Daniel Scuka:
As I mentioned in a recent WWJ mail newsletter (see Viewpoint, No. 92), it’s rare for this somewhat-jaded, been-lied-to-before tech journo to be “Oh-My-God!” impressed by mobile applications, but BeTrend Corp.’s “BeatCast” e-marketing engine strikes me as really terrific.
BeatCast is an ASP-based, Java-powered, sales-and-marketing tool that allows all sorts of content (text, graphics, images, audio) to be push- and pull-delivered to a celly using the always-on “desktop” Appli feature built into most newer handsets. The system uses some pretty neat tricks to achieve near-painless keitai-based marketing for any client selling any product.
One problem that has dogged any sort of mobile e-marketing/e-advertising plans has been the fact that the subscriber pays for every single packet that zips to or from the handset. According to conventional wisdom, all such services will be self-limiting (and self-destructing) once the target of the advertising or marketing realizes that she is paying to be marketed to. The BeatCast mobile mail center uses compression to get past this.
The company claims that its service achieves an effective packet fee of 0.3-0.5 yen per 250 characters, compared to 1.1-2.1 yen per 250 characters for regular i-mode, J-Sky, and EZweb mail. If this is true, it is significant and considerably lowers the barrier to m-marketing success.
We saw a demo of the new custom-built mobile marketing and customer support system that BeTrend built for major auto maker GM’s Opel brand; using the magic of Java, the system provides great animations, effective sound effects and you can access pictures of all the latest car models (these slide onto the screen from the left or the right).
If there’s a better way to sell cars via mobile, this may be it.
All in all, the BeTrend folks appear to have put their thinking caps on, and this looks to be precisely the sort of system that will do well in Japan and can do well elsewhere (as soon as Java is available elsewhere).