SMART Marketers Call on Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is here and lighting up our phones and PDAs in record numbers. As a matter of fact, new mobile ad spending projections seem to appear (and increase) every day. Strategy Analytics predicts that advertisers worldwide will spend $2.4B on mobile in 2009, up from $1B this year, suggesting mobile to be at a point that internet was 10 years ago.

So, are you implementing a mobile marketing strategy as a part of your competitive marketing mix to sustain and/or grow your business? If not, are you considering one? How could your business benefit from mobile marketing? What do you need to get started?

Mobile Marketing Defined

According to the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), an association which is fast becoming the headquarters of the mobile marketing revolution, mobile marketing is defined as “the use of wireless media (primarily cellular phones and PDAs) as an integrated content delivery and direct response vehicle within a crossmedia marketing program.”

Mobile marketing can be a SMART marketer’s dream mostly because it provides brands with a way to reach their target demographics throughout the day instead of just when they’re at a computer, watching TV or reading a magazine. Who doesn’t leave the house these days without keys, a wallet/purse and a cellphone/PDA? Using our traditional definition for marketing of “reaching the right audience at the right time using the right message and media,” it is clear that, when executed effectively, mobile marketing can stimulate immediate response at the most influential time and place (proximity, such as lunchtime near your favorite Mexican restaurant!)

As for reaching the right audience, like any marketing initiative, it is imperative that you know your target customer before embarking on mobile marketing. According to comScore Networks, based on a 2007 survey of U.S. consumers who use a wireless phone, the following key wireless consumer segments were identified:

  • The Cellular Generation – Ages 18 to 24, these young adults grew up with cell phone awareness, experiencing cell phones as a part of their everyday lives.
  • Transitioners – Ages 25 to 34, these people fall in between two distinct groups: those who grew up with cell phone knowledge and those who did not. Cell phones began to infiltrate everyday life during their teen years and early adulthood.
  • Adult Adopters – Age 35 or older, this group was not exposed to cell phone until adulthood.  Adult Adopters tend to have the most functional view of cell phones, with many requiring just the basics and showing limited interest in emerging technologies. 

We can assume that each segment has different attitudes and behaviors based on their experience with mobile technology. Hence it behooves us as marketers to be sensitive to their needs.

There are several benefits to consider when deciding if mobile marketing is right for your business and your customers:

  • Mobile marketing can help you efficiently reach a wide yet targeted audience, when and where their decision to respond is most influential.
  • Mobile marketing is immediate and allows for spontaneous campaigns, eliminating response delays.
  • Mobile marketing is trackable. It can help you gather valuable customer information customer demographics and preferences.
  • Mobile marketing is interactive and can help strengthen your dialog and relationship with your customer.
  • Mobile marketing can be extremely viral in nature.

Mobile Marketing’s Do’s

A few things to be aware of when developing your mobile marketing campaign include:

  1. Be sure your mobile customers double opt-in via the signup form on your website or when someone texts you their number to your short code. Having double opt-ins will support higher response and fewer complaints.
  2. Tell recipients how many times they will receive messages from you so they know what to expect. Keep in mind that many mobile users have standard billing rate plans. Also, like with email, give users the ability to opt-out at any time.
  3. Make your message personalized, relevant and timely. Relaying a message that is happening in realtime (Obama’s choice of a Vice Presidential running mate, a special one-hour sale at your favorite clothing store when you are within proximity) has a greater chance of high response than something that is happening next week or month.

Next Steps

Keep in mind when developing a mobile marketing strategy that the fundamentals of marketing still apply: Understand your audiences’ demographics and psychographics; clearly develop and communicate your key message by campaign; develop a mobile marketing strategy that ties in with other forms of marketing; and provide value incentives to stimulate response.

Furthermore, mobile marketing, like most other forms of marketing, is most effective  and can help build stronger, more loyal relationships with consumers when used as part of an integrated marketing mix to include TV, print, radio, outdoor, cinema, online and direct mail, to name a few.

Whether your marketing message is to vote for a specific candidate, save money on a Mexican lunch, or alert rangers you’re “coming soon to a farm near you,” it’s a good idea to consider adding the mobile option to your marketing mix!


  1. Mobile Marketing Association, “Mobile Advertising Overview,” April, 2008.
  2. Mobile Marketing Association, “Understanding Mobile Marketing, Technology and Reach,” May, 2007.
  3. Ravilla, Raphael, “How to Launch a Mobile Marketing Campaign,” BKV Direct Response and Interactive,

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