Although mobile marketing in Vietnam made its inaugural appearance in late 2006 when the VNPT (Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group) collaborated with several national businesses to provide such services, the previous two years have ushered in a new era for mobile marketing in Vietnam.
Released in a report by the VNPT, Vietnam now has more than thirty million cell phone owners. Not only does this exploding number equal bigger business opportunities, it is also bringing people together and, according to one US report, fostering a spirit of democracy. Today in Vietnam, for example, mobile marketing is particularly popular with interactive game shows, where viewers can “vote” for contestants or participate in the game itself.
The leading practitioners of mobile marketing, however, remain the financial, insurance and securities companies located within Indochina: The Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), Technological and Commercial Bank of Vietnam (Techcombank), and Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank). All have “informed its clients about interest rates, promotional campaigns, new financial services, etc. by mobile messages.” Similar to services offered in the US, some Vietnamese banks now provide mobile banking service, which, of course, enables account holders to monitor their accounts and even pay bills or send payments via text text messages.
Although mobile marketing is “rapidly developing,” it has a long way to go in terms of overcoming many of the negative (and unfamiliar) connotations associated with basic product advertising. According to the VNPT, many Vietnamese mobile phone customers “misunderstand that advertising on mobile phones is sending spam messages.” Further complicating the ease and acceptance of mobile marketing are unstable networks and strict regulations on spam messages.
Nonetheless, mobile marketing is hastily traversing the world and undeniably opening new doors, opportunities, and minds in the farthest reaches of civilization.