July 6, 2012
Are Marketers Ready For the Social Olympics? As Wi-Fi Comes to London's Underground, Marketers Need to Better Understand How to Engage With Those Traveling, Advises Consumer Research Firm Cint
Just in time for this summer's 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, British rapid transit system London Underground has begun its program to provide a wi-fi service to its passengers — and Cint, a global provider of consumer research tools, is advising marketers to start gaining insight into how people are engaging online when on the move, in order to effectively integrate mobile usage into their strategies. According to Transport for London's website, over 1 billion passengers are carried each year. Furthermore, as people will be able to connect to the wireless service for free until the end of the summer, businesses — in particular those who are running ad campaigns in tube stations and train carriages — have the opportunity of reaching the millions of people who will attend the Games. "London Underground's new, and currently free, wi-fi service is creating a huge opportunity for marketers to engage with commuters and visitors in the city, especially those attending the forthcoming Olympic Games," said Bo Mattsson, CEO of Cint, in a news release. "However, as with any marketing activity, it should be intelligently informed — and one of the best ways for brands to properly understand how, when and why people are connecting to the tube network's wireless, now and in the future, is to ask them directly." For example, a brand that asks people if they have turned to their mobile devices in response to a station poster or whether they plan to use the service after the free access period has ended will obtain market insight that could inform a strategic approach for the coming months.
Wi-fi is only available in the stations themselves and up to 80 will be connected across the city by the start of the Olympics at the end of July, with a further 40 to follow. One valuable method of understanding how regular commuters have already been making use of the wi-fi service since it started to roll out at the beginning of June is to undertake a survey targeting those who live in the capital city. In Cint's OpinionHUB there are almost 37,000 people in the London area alone, all of which are associated with reputable brands, publishers or charities and are available to respond to research questionnaires.