Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Will 2008 Be the Year of Mobile Marketing?

That’s in the US, and AdAge thinks it will be(free registration required). Mobile use, and consequently mobile marketing is already well-established in Europe and the Pacific Rim. Marketers need to watch developments there because they are several steps ahead of us. The site of the Mobile Marketing Association and their case studies are an efficient way to find out about some of the best campaigns outside the US.

Back here, why mobile? Why now? Why mobile is straightforward—wireless penetration is now substantial among both adults and teens. Why now is also pretty straightforward. Until now wireless bandwidth has been insufficient to support anything except calls and text messaging.

The FTC will auction wireless spectrum early next year that will greatly increase access to high-speed wireless connections in the US. The auction has received more attention than usual since Google announced its attention to participate. Their intentions are not entirely clear; they have until December 3 to detail them to the FTC. In the meantime, wireless users indicate they are willing to accept some types of ads on their mobile devices. Paul Martecchine gives some examples of good mobile marketing. Click here to view the video.

Mobile advertising can be a minefield for the unwary marketer. Advertising on small screens to people with small keyboards who may not welcome your communications is a whole new field of activity. Let’s begin with the fact that it requires what I call “Expanded Permission Marketing.” You have to ask not only “if” I may contact you, but also for “what” reason, “where” and “why.” This month Boston’s MBTA is conducting a beta test of wireless alerts for subway and train delays. Sounds like a good idea, right? Riders interviewed were concerned about how they would cost if there were actually a lot of alerts. Marketers beware!

The recommendations of one mobile marketer include using mobile to accomplish customer conversion and designing campaigns that are relevant to their lifestyles and interaction with your brand. In today’s lead article in iMedia Connection another mobile marketer warns that mobile must be an integral part of your strategy and gives more examples of successful campaigns.

Mobile marketing is just over the horizon—after a long wait—for US marketers. It’s not just the web on a wireless device. It’s a new channel with its own requirements for success and its own traps for marketers. It’s another train that is leaving the station and marketers should be considering what makes sense in terms of mobile initiatives.

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