According to several email newsletter marketing studies, over half of respondents don't plan to add mobile marketing to their marketing strategies soon. However, one-third of them say they're keeping their eye on mobile marketing.
Obviously, mobile marketing has potential, but it's too early for most organizations. They want to watch others go first and see how it works out rather than lead the pack.
We saw a photo on the Internet recently from a fried chicken chain's bulletin board. The photo says if customers text the chain, they receive free food and great deals.
Rather than marketing through mobile devices, companies are attempting to push customers into sharing their text addresses so they can become a part of their "text mailing list."
Article after article related to online and Web 2.0 marketing states that mobile marketing and phone interactions are the future. An ABI Research study estimates that by the end of 2007 mobile marketing and advertising will be worth about $3 billion, and up to $19 billion by 2011. But few studies say how effective mobile marketing is and what works.
Should an organization get into mobile marketing? Well, the evidence shows mobile marketing leans toward the business-to-consumer segment. Many brands offer free music downloads and ring tones to reach the 18-34-year-old demographic. Even Yahoo has announced plans to expand its search product to include mobile publishing so its publishers can reach a broader audience through Yahoo's mobile network.
Read on to find out whether or not other readers think the time is right for mobile marketing.
How can we best take our marketing mobile?
As the number of Internet-enabled mobile devices grows, more owners use them. This has led to much discussion about mobile marketing and its potential. We believe it's time to take mobile marketing seriously. Of course, it depends on our audience. But we want to know whether we should invest the time to understand and pursue mobile marketing, and convince clients to take this route, or wait a little longer because it isn't ready. What should we do?
In response to whether organizations should take advantage of mobile marketing or not, half of the responding readers are for it, and half are not. They give the following advice.
- Go for it.
- Wait and see.
Go for it
Some readers believe jumping in the water early can help an organization get miles ahead of its competition. Better yet, an anonymous reader says, "Try it and report the results. Develop a publicity campaign around your experience because many want to know how mobile marketing works out. This could lead to article interviews and free publicity for an organization."
Two good resources to start with are the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) homepage and its executive director's columns. A recurring theme is that mobile marketing reaches customers when they're in a situation where they have nothing better to do than to interact with their mobile devices.
Thomas Edison failed many times before reaching success. Mobile marketing requires taking risks and having patience, but tweak a program enough... and you might have a hit. After all, you're ahead of the game before it gets crowded.
Be warned, however, that it may be difficult to come by customer behavioral data with regard to mobile marketing. Even if you can collect the data, it may take time to create meaningful metrics from the data to satisfy managers who want to see proof.
Wait and see
While people of all ages own mobile devices, mobile marketing still requires understanding the target market and what it does with devices. Since it's common knowledge that the 18-34 age group loves music and videogames, companies targeting that segment can do well if they organize a campaign around those interests.
How can a B2B take advantage of mobile devices? Even if a business offers free music downloads in exchange for signing up to join their mobile mailing list—what can the business send by way of mobile to interest its audience?
One reader says, "Perhaps, companies can offer free ring tones in exchange for customer information, including mailing addresses, email addresses and phone numbers."
Some marketers are apprehensive about trying something new when little data exists to prove the usefulness of the marketing program. Also, most of them are not experts on the mobile medium in terms of usability and interaction. So kicking off your mobile media campaign may call for outsourcing or working with an organization with mobile expertise.
Gord Hotchkiss, a search expert, says "When you look at local and mobile working together, with GPS-enabled devices, you have this perfect storm: a convergence of usability, advertising opportunity and technology that makes sense because it makes our lives better. Your mobile device will become, over the next 10 years, your computing device of choice. That's what you're going to use for most of your interaction with online."
Most of us have our mobile devices with us all the time, but not our notebooks and computers. With an attentive audience like this, marketers would be remiss to ignore mobile marketing.
Though few know whether or not mobile marketing is a worthy pursuit, most agree that the number of mobile device users continues to grow. It's a matter of if your organization wants to be a leader or follower. Either jump in—or wait to see how it works out.