The Importance of Mobile Marketing

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Published: 29th October 2012
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A few years ago email marketing was all the rage, now the latest technology trend is mobile marketing. Most phones sold nowadays include a browser application so you can surf the web on your phone, from wherever you are if you have an internet connection. Further it is the use of applications (small software devices) on people's mobile phones and smartphones and tablets to bring the advertising of a product or service directly to their phone. It is anticipated that mobile marketing will overtake all other forms of marketing in the next few years.

In 2011 there was $20 billion spent on mobile advertising with 85% of phones sold containing an internet browser of some type. It is anticipated that the number of smartphones and tablet devices sold will easily outstrip the number of PC computers sold in the next year or so, making mobile marketing incredibly important. In the US alone its thought around 50 million people engage regularly in mobile advertising with around 12 million actively purchasing through a mobile advert.

Mobile marketing has been defined as a way to engage and acquire social interaction with the public and present products and services to them at a time when they may require that product. It is the distribution of promotional and marketing material through wireless networks on mobile devices, such as a cell phone, directly to the consumer. There are different ways in which the advertiser can interact with the consumer but the three main types are text messaging, viewing a website on the mobile device and accessing a special application.

With text messaging the consumer usually must opt-in to receive the advertising message and then they receive marketing messages and special coupons and sales offers directly. Sometimes multimedia messaging is used to send pictures, audio clips and videos. This has become a massive form of advertising in many parts of the world, with the networks and carriers setting their own guidelines as to what can and cannot be sent. However, in other parts of the world, often developing areas, carriers are selling their list of mobile numbers to third parties who then spam the cell phone user. A text message is usually read within 5 minutes of being sent so is a quick, immediate marketing message, with a response usually triggered within an hour.

When consumers are asked to visit a particular website they are sent to a 'Wireless Application Protocol' site (WAP), which is a website specifically designed and formatted to be viewed on a smartphone or tablet.

In-game mobile advertising as become more popular. Many smartphone users have interactive 3D games on their cell phones or social networking games as well as just casual one player games. Companies are now promoting their brands within these games, known as advergaming or Ad-funded mobile game.

Statistics for mobile phone users show that in 30 countries in the world there are more mobile phones in circulation than the number of people. Around 80% of people living in the United States have a mobile phone and around 60% of the world's population are mobile subscribers. There are over 400 million in China alone. On average the American mobile phone user sends close to 400 text messages a month and makes or receives over 200 calls.

The start of mobile marketing can be traced back to around 2002, when the World Cup was held in China and large firms like Coke and McDonalds looked to engage consumers in text-to-win competitions. The consumer would buy a bottle of Coke or a meal from McDonalds and see a call to action on the side - text this number to win………the consumer would then be sent back a coupon or an invitation to play again. This worked very well and was an immediate response but mobile marketing has come along way since then and now includes streaming video, photos, advertising based on your location. Mobile marketing for business should be a key strategy for building business brand awareness and engaging with the end consumer.

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