Research, analysts and rumors say 2004 is going to be the year of wireless. The sentence probably assumes a different meaning in different places, but no matter where you hear it… it doesn't lose its relevance.

Wireless is (in Asia and Europe) and is becoming (in the North America) a part our everyday life. With mobile phones we can check our bank account, take and send pictures, purchase a plane ticket, pay the parking fee, watch the goals of our favorite football team and (even!) get in touch with other people. Although, from a linguistic point of view it might sounds like a paradox, wireless connects our lives, as Nokia brilliantly states: “Connecting People.”

It's called “mobile,” but this world of business opportunities is here to stay and to become more and more strategic for carriers, content providers and brands. Yes, brands. Because wireless, like any other media, could also be a powerful marketing means.

Wireless Marketing Magic Words

Let's go straight to the point. It's not difficult to understand why marketers should like so much wireless: it allows a direct, and personal communication, hypothetically anytime and anywhere. Direct and personal, in particular, are the magic words every marketer likes to hear.

But, since they are magic, they must be handled with care. As you might have (also) learned watching The Lord of the Rings, what is magic is usually powerful but very dangerous if used in the wrong way. Wireless marketing is no exception. It can either please or annoy a consumer; it can consolidate but also destroy a relationship between a brand and a prospect.

Wireless devices provide marketers with powerful tools to connect with their target public, but they need to learn playing by the rules. Avoiding this fundamental assumption, the risk is to compromise forever a promising communication channel. And with more than 159 million mobile users out there (by the end of 2004, according to eMarketer), this is a kind of risk no brand can bear to take.

Let's explore in detail the characteristics of this media that make it so appealing to marketers.

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Martina Zavagno publishes about Web and wireless advertising. Reach her at