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Increasingly, organizations are using customer data and behavior to direct and refine marketing strategy and tactics, creating a closed-loop system between their marketing message and their customers that continuously evolves.

According to a recent report from Aberdeen, "The CMO Strategic Agenda: Automating Closed-Loop Marketing," 88 percent of best-in-class companies have adopted this full-circle or "closed-loop" marketing approach, and they have procured technology to help automate the process.

As these companies look for ways to expand their closed-loop automation efforts, the mobile channel—with increased adoption of technologies like SMS (short message service, or text) and MMS (multimedia messaging service)—stand out as a new frontier.

While mobile marketing can be invasive on its own, integration with the larger marketing campaign mix and proper tracking of customer response can ensure that customers are drawn in, rather than turned off, by mobile messages.

The mobile medium has achieved staying power as a gateway for marketers to reach customers in motion. For example, SMS can serve as the initial point of contact with customers, with the intention to drive the customer somewhere (to a store, kiosk, Web site, etc.).

Also, because the mobile medium is not as cluttered as others, such as email, its response rate has been higher. According to the Nielsen Company's March 2008 Mobile Advertising Report, half (51 percent) of all data users who recalled seeing mobile ads in a 30-day period responded in some way, and 26 percent responded by SMS message.

Neolane conducted a survey of North American direct marketers which found that four out of five marketers plan to incorporate at least one additional emerging marketing channel by the end of 2008—most likely SMS or MMS. However, fewer than half were confident that their current tools could effectively manage emerging marketing channels, or coordinate campaigns across emerging and traditional channels.

To truly execute on a closed-loop approach in which all customer responses can be incorporated into future marketing messaging, and to ensure that each message reaches prospects at the right time via the right channel, mobile marketing data must be incorporated into existing marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) tools.

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Stephan Dietrich is president of Neolane Inc. (www.neolane.com). He is responsible for driving its corporate vision, worldwide marketing strategy, and international business development.