The CAM Model: Conceptualizing Wireless Advertising Strategy in Mobile Commerce Environments

The work on conceptualizing advertising strategy in wireless environments is summarized below. It started in 2003 and it was nearly published in the Journal of Advertising in 2005. Unfortunately, one of the reviewers could not get their head around the proposition that the mobile channel is fundamentally different from the web. After 3 reviews and a protest it was rejected. But like any good work, it endures. 

Here we go…

As you know, the mobile device has rapidly become an important way in which consumers connect and communicate ubiquitously. What is interesting for marketers is the increasing use of the wireless medium for commerce. Stimulated by this, marketers have started to explore the role of advertising using SMS (text messaging) MMS (picture messaging) or VMS (video messaging services) in the mCommerce medium, but despite the promise, researchers have been slow to adapt existing advertising strategies.

This gap was addressed by exploring the perceptions of senior marketing executives across the mCommerce industry who, over the last 4 years, have been involved in the implementation of advertising strategy.

The primary intention of this work is to inform practicing managers through the development of a conceptual model of advertising which proposes that wireless campaigns leverage the community structure and peer-to-peer communication process being enacted in the mCommerce medium. Furthermore, it is suggested that within this structure, advertising is channeled to and through the ‘pivotal’, individuals that nurture social groups and builds social cohesion, to maximize the strategic value and outcome of the campaign.

This approach leverages word of mouth communications and minimizes the risk of the perception by the community of intrusion from external communications. For instance, the content strategies used in wireless advertising to stimulate the response of the pivotal and the community may provide information about money savings or better service. Secondly, the content form may be used to enhance the pivotal and the community’s mood and be bundled as entertainment to enhance mood framing strategies. This may facilitate the peer to peer communication process and interactive dialogue between the pivotal, their community and the marketer. Finally, the content form may also leverage the user’s hedonistic desire for play and impulsiveness.


Role Propositions

Theme Description Executive Evidence Authors


The pivotals facilitate and protect the peer to peer communication process of group belonging and social cohesion as well as content.

“Most of the communities, they will always have a leader… organizer….they would like to…send things to their community…and they’re the connection.” [OC_4]: President

Mobile Literature

[1] Carroll et al. (2002), [2] Jones (2002), [3] Dholakia and Dholakia (2004)

Non-Mobile Literature

[1] Schouton and McAlexander (1995), [2] Muniz and O’Guinn (2001), [3] Chan and Shekhar


Role Change

The role of the pivotals may change depending on the activities required to facilitate and protect the peer to peer communication process.

“I wasn’t sort of pleased with the various models. I thought a lot of what was trying to transplant what was going on in the web onto the phone, and I just don’t think those are really good models to kind of superimpose onto this type of media…Unless it really benefits the consumer. I’d be really frustrated of people were sending me you know SMS advertisements…or people get Spam quite a bit….I mean so that’s a little intrusive…” [OC_12]: Senior Programmer    “I say like a kind of organizer. then if can push some message to these consumers then they are going to pass it around.” [OC_4]: President

Target Pivotals

To gain entry to the community and peer to peer communication process, wireless advertising should be channeled through the pivotals to maximize the strategic value and outcome of the campaign.

“…it’s a community and when you belong to a group of community you tend to adapt yourself to that group of people. Same thing with advertising strategy. You can hit one hot spot and then it will spread out for you…” [OC_27]: General Manager – Marketing

Mobile Literature

[1] Carroll et al. (2002), [2] Jones (2002), [3] De Kerckhove (2002)

Non-Mobile Literature

[1] Schouton and McAlexander (1995)


Word-of-Mouth and Intrusion

Channeling wireless advertising to and through the pivotals leverages word of mouth communications and minimizes the risk of the perception by the community of intrusion from external communications.

“Word of mouth.. allows advertises to get access to friends. Friends play a really important role in this kind of group of consumers.” [OC_13]: Graphic Designer

“I see that type of approach to be a little bit more effective. Cause if it’s passed on, it’s like more of a word of mouth, and I think if it’s passed on that way it’s got much more validity with regards to the content or to the information, or to the advertiser.” [OC_12]: Senior Programmer

Mobile Literature

[1] Anckar and D’Incau (2002), [2] Ratsimor et la (2002), [3] Ratsimor et al. (2003), [4] Barwise and Strong (2002), [5] Jones (2002), [6] Haig (2002), [7] Nysveen

Non-Mobile Literature

[1] Woodside and Delozier (1976)

P9 Pivotal Values

To effectively target the pivotals, marketers must understand what the pivotal values in terms of group belongingness and social cohesion, to generate group ‘nurturing’ and ‘feeling’ as well as content (context, meanings, rituals).

“If you talk about advertising via the community-based [model], I think it’s quite effective. You have to carefully select the community that you are going to push your advertisements to…who are they?” [OC_4]: President

Mobile Literature

[1] Carroll et al. (2002), [2] Barnett et al. (200),

[3] Haig (2002), [4] Jones (2002), [5] Ratsimor et al. (2002)

Non-Mobile Literature

[1] Muniz and O’Guinn (2001), [2] Otnes and Scott (1996), [3] Zhang and Gelb (1996), [4] Hirschman (1989)

P10 Pivotals Motivation

The pivotals perform this role to enhance their own ‘face’ (respect and status) awarded to them by their community, as well as the ‘face’ of their community to external groups in society.

“Consumers care about themselves [and] they care about how consumers will look at them. [They want to] be accepted into the community and the society.” [OC_6]: Technical Marketing Executive

Mobile Literature

[1] Carroll et al. (2002), [2] Balasubramanian et al. (2002), [3] Barnett et al. (2000), [5] Buellingen and Woerter (2004)

Stimulus-Response Propositions

Theme Description Executive Evidence Authors

Content Information

Content in wireless advertising may inform the pivotals and their community about “money to be saved” or promises of “a better level of service”.

“It’s a form that would bring the consumer into the shop and at the same time motivate them to come. it’s something that they would opt in for because they’d feel that they’re saving money on that service.” [OC_12]: Senior Programmer

Mobile Literature

[1] Ratsimor et al. (2003), [2] Barnes (2002b), [3] De Kerckhove (2002), Buellingen and Woerter (2004), [4]Barwise and Strong (2002), [5] Siau et al. (2001), [6] Yuan and Tsao (2003), [7] Balasubramanian et al. (2002)


Content Form

The content form may be used to enhance the pivotals and their communities’ mood towards a wireless advertising campaign.

“Not only advertising, but because of the contents of the [television] program that we show to them, they receive entertainment – they have been entertained [by] it. So they’re in a good mood, when you show something and when they’re in a good mood they positively receive it.” [OC_28]: Technology Director

Mobile Literature

[1] Carroll et al. (2002), [2] Anckar and D’Incau (2002), [3] De Kerckhove (2002), [4] Kleijnen et al. (2004), [5] Dholakia and Dholakia (2004), [6] Barwise and Strong (2002), [7] Buellingen and Woerter (2004)

Non-Mobile Literature

[1] Hung (2001), [2] Zinkhan and Johnson (1994), [3] Homer and Yoon (1992), [4] Zhang and Buda (1999)


Content Bundling

The content form may be bundled with entertainment content and related channels to enhance mood-framing strategies as well as facilitate the peer to peer communication process and interactive dialogue between the pivotals, their community and the marketer.

Mobile Literature

[1] Carroll et al. (2002), [2] De Kerckhove (2002), [3] Carroll et al. (2002), [4] Dholakia and Dholakia (2004), [5] Ratsimor et al. (2003), [6] Ancarani and Shankar (2003), [7] Nysveen et al. (2005), [8] Watson et al. (2002)

Non-Mobile Literature

[1] Coutler (1998), [2] Varshney (2002), [3] Stern 1996, [4] Stern 1994


Hedonistic Behavior  

The content form and deployment in a campaign may also leverage the pivotals and their communities’ hedonistic desire for play and impulsiveness with the advertised products and services.

“No, I think consumers are definitely in a fun, play stage. I think they will be moving to use wireless text and to make consumers more interested to go and play with their products.” [OC_20]: Business Development Executive

Mobile Literature

[1] Gerstheimer and Lupp (2004), [2] Ratsimor et al. (2003), [3] Sundqvist et al. (2005), [4] Jones (2002), [5] Barnes (2002b), [6] Buellingen and Woerter (2004)

Non-Mobile Literature – Impulse

[1] Rook (1987), [2] Hoch and Ha (1986), [3] Rook and Fisher (1995), [4] Tauber (1972), [5] Jones et al. (2003), [6] Holbrook et al. (1984)



Advertising Implications



Explanation of M-Commerce

Anckar and D’Incau (2002)

Finnish mCommerce Consumers’ Perception of Value

The Value of mCommerce Services

The proposed value of mCommerce is based on filling the consumers needs which include: [1] Entertainment, [2] Spontaneous Needs, [3] Efficiency Ambitions, [4] Time-Critical Arrangements, and [5] Mobility Related Needs

Advertising Value in the Services Valued by the Consumers

The following services were considered potential drivers for the of mCommerce services,: [1]  Sending and Receiving Emails, [2] Conducting Routine Bank Services, and [3] Booking Cinema/theatre tickets

Clarke (2001)

Advertising effectiveness is based on the unique propositions embedded in mCommerce communications.

Advertising Effectively

Advertising is effective in the mCommerce medium when the communication is [1] based on the situational context of consumers, [2] personalized to the consumers’ personal preferences, and [3] aids the consumers in terms of convenience to their lifestyle or behavior.

Balasubramanian et al. (2002)

The value of advertising in the mCommerce sphere is based on the temporal and spatial flexibility of this communication medium.

Factors Determining the Advertising Effect in mCommerce

Advertising effectiveness is based on the following three critical factors: [1] whether the consumers’ are location sensitive or insensitive, [2] whether the communication is time critical or time non-critical, and [3] whether the advertising communication will be generated by the consumers or the marketers.

Siau et al. (2001)

A project management perspective of the key areas of consideration with the development of mCommerce services.

Developing Effective Advertising Applications

Advertising applications in the mCommerce medium should consider the following:

[1] The ability to deliver easy, timely access to information, [2] to enable the consumers to take advantage of an immediate purchase opportunity, [3] to provide the consumers with wireless coupons based on their profiles, [4] conduct banking transactions, and [5] Location based services (LBS) such finding friends or stores.

Dholakia and Dholakia (2004)

Conceptual discussion of value drivers occurring with the mCommerce sphere.

Advertising in the mCommerce Sphere

The value of mCommerce applications is contextually based on a set of complex relationships with the consumers that includes: [1] location (work, home, and other), [2] stance (busy, waiting or time on hand, and open to diversion) and [3] Role (professional or Private).

Key Emergent Themes in m-business

The following themes have an overarching influence on the nature of how businesses will build effective advertising strategies which are as follows: [1] User Experience, [2] On-the-Go Flexible Services, [3] On-the-Go Flexible Configurations, [4] Geographical Position, [5] Field Third party Applications, [6] Enterprise Integration, [7] Multi-transaction Services, [8] Different Terminals, [9] Flexible Location.

Yuan and Tsao (2003)

Proposed system architecture to ensuring that the wireless advertising communication is effective. 

Advertising; Developing Software to Measure the Consumers’ Situation

The value of mCommerce advertising is dependent on the advertisers’ ability to identify the consumers’ context at the time of transmitting the communication.  Identifying the consumers’ context determines the consumers’ likelihood of communication acceptance. 

Kleijnen et al., (2004)

An examination of wireless gamers’ interests.

Developing Effective Advertising Strategies to Attract Gamers

The value of mCommerce success is based on a consumer orientated perspective.  Acceptance and usage of gaming content is strongly a trust-based argument.  One way in which trust can be bridged with the consumers’ is through communicating the service through word-of-mouth peer-to-peer communications.

Nysveen et al. (2005)

Explores the determinants of developing an effective advertising brand in mobile advertising.

Four Determinants of Effective Brand Advertising in the mCommerce Sphere

The four determinants of developing an effective brand through the mobile sphere are as follows: [1] brand satisfaction, [2] quality of the alternatives, [3] direct relationship investments (friends and family already related to the brand), and [4] indirect relationship investments (such as mutual friends, personal identity, shared material possessions attached to the relationship).

Barwise and Strong (2002)

London based study of mobile consumers

Typology of Advertising used in the mCommerce Sphere

Six types of advertisements are considered to be appropriate for the mCommerce medium which include: [1] Brand Building, [2] Special Offers, [3] Timely Media Teasers, [4] Product, service or information request, [5] Competitions, and [6] Polls and Voting

Effective Advertising Findings

Effective advertising requires is based on three dimensions: [1] consumers will only respond to text advertisements that grab their attention, [2] The text advertisements must be personally relevant to the consumer, and [3] Explicit permission from the consumers must be obtained.






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  1. […] Boundary ← Conceptualizing Wireless Advertising Strategy in Mobile Commerce Environments […]


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