Mobile Marketing: The Past, Present and Future

When Martin Cooper invented the first mobile phone in 1973 I bet he never would have imagined the scale of growth in both the technology and our society’s dependency on this that is apparent today. Over 4000,000,000 people worldwide use mobile phones, and this is expected to reach nearly 5000,000,000 by 2015, making mobile marketing the obvious next step for marketers worldwide.

The main reasons why mobile is a unique platform for marketing are the fact it’s the only mass media that is always carried and permanently switched on, with built-in payment capabilities and  accurate audience measurement, not to mention it captures the social context of media consumption. It also encapsulates a wide variety of tools, from the traditional SMS and MMS allowing text and multimedia messages to be sent to numbers on a database, to the more recent technology that comes with smartphones such as mobile apps, QR codes, barcodes, mobile search and mobile websites which allow the consumer to directly interact as part of the marketing campaign.

Due to these additions that have come with advancements in mobile technology, mobile now offers various functions to both consumers and marketers. As a technology platform it can be used to promote and seek out both local businesses using location based applications and social media and ‘remote’ products or services using the internet and online based ‘marketplace’ apps, a channel for two way communications and a route to the market through advertising and information retrieval as a company as well as media and e-commerce as consumers. It also provides people with general utilities, mainly in the form of apps such as e-book readers, camera and video recorders, e-wallet and more.

 All things considered, mobile marketing may have its many advantages, but that doesn't mean that it is without its disadvantages. 

When planning a successful mobile marketing campaign, there are 10 key points to consider:

  1. Objectives – What do you want to achieve?
  2. Strategy – What are the business goals?
  3. Channels – What’s appropriate for the target audience?
  4. People – Who is involved? E.g. In house, agency?
  5. Creative Concept – Who will develop the concept?
  6. Programming – Any technical help needed?
  7. Timing – Any critical factors?
  8. Budget – Plus any extra carrier charges, licenses for ringtones or images?
  9. Promotional Plan – How will the target audience know about the campaign?
  10. Action Plan – Who is doing what, when and where?

So what comes next for mobile marketing? Well as technology evolves as an alarming rate, further increasing the attraction of the mobile device to an ever expanding market, increased mobile ownership is a definite. And in this bid to further attract people with shiny new technology comes the ever increasing functionality of the mobile device, with more apps to enable lightning fast access to any information, at anytime and anywhere. As tablets become the next must have technology item (next to the mobile smartphone) there is an increasing number of companies experimenting with ‘Tabvertising’, i.e. advertising on tablets, which is soon expected to become as widely used as mobile marketing campaigns.

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