Mobile marketing can refer to one of two categories of interest. First, and relatively new, is meant to describe marketing on or with a mobile device, such as a cell phone using SMS Marketing. (this is an example of horizontal telecommunication convergence). Second, and a more traditional definition, is meant to describe marketing in a moving fashion – for example – technology road shows or moving billboards.
Although there are various definitions for the concept of mobile marketing, no commonly accepted definition exists. Mobile marketing is broadly defined as “the use of the mobile medium as a means of marketing communication” or “distribution of any kind of promotional or advertising messages to customer through wireless networks”. More specific definition is the following: “using interactive wireless media to provide customers with time and location sensitive, personalized information that promotes goods, services and ideas, thereby generating value for all stakeholders”.
In November 2009, the Mobile Marketing Association updated its definition of Mobile Marketing:
Mobile Marketing is a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.
Another definition comes from marketing professor Andreas Kaplan who defines mobile marketing as “any marketing activity conducted through a ubiquitous network to which consumers are constantly connected using a personal mobile device”. Within this definition, Kaplan uses two variables, i.e. the degree of consumer knowledge and the trigger of communication, to differentiate between four types of mobile marketing applications: Strangers, Victims, Groupies, and Patrons.
Mobile marketing is commonly known as wireless marketing. However wireless is not necessarily mobile. For instance, a consumer’s communications with a Web site from a desktop computer at home, with signals carried over a wireless local area network (WLAN) or over a satellite network, would qualify as wireless but not mobile communications.[
Mobile marketing via SMS Marketing
Marketing on a mobile phone known as SMS Marketing has become increasingly popular ever since the rise of SMS (Short Message Service) in the early 2000s in Europe and some parts of Asia when businesses started to collect mobile phone numbers and send off wanted (or unwanted) content. On average, SMS messages are read within four minutes, making them highly convertible.
Over the past few years SMS Marketing has become a legitimate advertising channel in some parts of the world. This is because unlike email over the public internet, the carriers who police their own networks have set guidelines and best practices for the mobile media industry (including mobile advertising). The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and the Mobile Marketing Association, as well, have established guidelines and are evangelizing the use of the mobile channel for marketers. While this has been fruitful in developed regions such as North America, Western Europe and some other countries, mobile SPAM messages (SMS sent to mobile subscribers without a legitimate and explicit opt-in by the subscriber) remain an issue in many other parts or the world, partly due to the carriers selling their member databases to third parties. In India, however, government’s efforts of creating National Do Not Call Registry have helped cellphone users to stop SMS advertisements by sending a simple SMS or calling 1909.
Mobile marketing via SMS has expanded rapidly in Europe and Asia as a new channel to reach the consumer. SMS initially received negative media coverage in many parts of Europe for being a new form of spam as some advertisers purchased lists and sent unsolicited content to consumer’s phones; however, as guidelines are put in place by the mobile operators, SMS has become the most popular branch of the Mobile Marketing industry with several 100 million advertising SMS sent out every month in Europe alone.
Mobile Marketing via MMS
MMS mobile marketing can contain a timed slideshow of images, text, audio and video. This mobile content is delivered via MMS (Multimedia Message Service). Nearly all new phones produced with a color screen are capable of sending and receiving standard MMS message. Brands are able to both send (mobile terminated) and receive (mobile originated) rich content through MMS A2P (application-to-person) mobile networks to mobile subscribers. In some networks, brands are also able to sponsor messages that are sent P2P (person-to-person).
Good examples of mobile-originated MMS marketing campaigns are Motorola’s ongoing campaigns at House of Blues venues, where the brand allows the consumer to send their mobile photos to the LED board in real-time as well as blog their images online.
The Basics of Mobile Internet Marketing
If you pay attention to both technology and marketing, you can’t get too far without hearing about “mobile marketing.” Mobile marketing is about engaging your customers and prospects on their mobile devices. It covers text message marketing, or SMS, apps, location-based marketing and mobile websites.
The proliferation of smartphones is the main driver of this trend. In fact, it is predicted that by the end of 2011 there will be at least 140 million smartphone subscriptions in the United States. To say “you can’t ignore this” would be an understatement. So let’s start with the mobile Internet.
The mobile Internet is where Web-enabled smartphones do their browsing. About 20 percent of Google searches are originated on mobile devices right now. Google also dominates the mobile search market.
So what can you do to take advantage of the mobile Internet long before your competitors?
First, you have to realize the mobile Internet exists. Browsing a website on your desktop or laptop from a broadband connection in your home or office is a much different experience than browsing from a mobile device. As you may have experienced, most sites move slowly, are hard to read and sometimes their content can’t even be displayed on the small screen. What’s the problem? These sites are not “mobile” – which brings the need for a new player to the Internet marketing game.
Mobile websites are meant to fit the small screens of smartphones and mobile devices. The key difference is found in the layout of the site. Graphics, text, offers, navigation and information is presented in a different way. And when it’s done right, the browsing experience for viewers is many times better than if they were viewing a traditional website from their mobile phone.
So how does a prospect or customer get to a mobile site?
There are few ways. One way is through the use of “quick response,” or QR codes. These codes can be scanned by your smartphone and take you to a mobile site. A quick note: At the time of this writing, Google is looking to replace QR codes with a new technology that uses “near-field communication” instead.
Another way someone can arrive at your mobile site is by doing a search. Then, when your mobile site is properly installed, a piece of code detects the mobile browser and serves the mobile version. You can also get traffic to a mobile site via text message and email marketing by providing links in your communications.
The trend setters in the mobile Internet world are the big retailers – think Best Buy, Target and Amazon. Beyond having mobile websites, these retailers conduct mobile commerce or “m-commerce.” Their customers buy right from their phones while on the retailer’s mobile site.
For the small business who may not be concerned with conducting mobile commerce, a good mobile Web presence with lead generation and basic mobile search optimization would put you way ahead of your competition. Unfortunately there are still many, many small-business owners who are totally unaware of this trend. It’s easy to get started with mobile Web marketing via mobile sites, but be sure your current traditional site is pulling its weight.