By now, we all know the importance of being mobile. You can't walk down the street or have a conversation with someone without him or her pulling out a phone to text, check email, or just in the general hope that someone might have tried to contact them.

As with all new technology, mobile marketing has fallen victim to misconceptions. The world of mobile marketing seems to be full of hot air and flatulence: "Yeah, but you have to...," "Haven't you got to...," and "I heard you had to... ." So, let's try and put straight some of this mobile ignorance.

1. What I really need is an app before I start my mobile marketing campaign

No, you don't. You really don't. Unless your app does something spectacular that no other app does, chances are that if people actual download your app, then it will be opened once and never opened again. The keyboard-loving guys at BlackBerry have revealed that 99% of apps only get used once, so don't waste your time or money.

2. Mobile marketing just means selling stuff

It certainly can be used as a channel to sell products but that only tells part of the story. Many billions of pounds, dollars, and euros are thrown away every year by the loss in missed appointments at doctor surgeries, physiotherapists, hairdressers etc. Mobile marketing can help reduce the number of missed appointments with a simple appointment reminder text. But yet again that's not all. Many companies are using mobile marketing as a way to keep in contact with their existing customers and updating them about news, new products, competitions, delivery dates and times, job offers, anything, and everything. Mobile marketing can be as fun and creative or as dull and mundane as you want it to be.

3. Mobile marketing is only for big brands with big budgets

You certainly don't need a big budget. One of the delights of mobile marketing is that you can get the ball rolling on a ludicrously small budget; you shouldn't encounter set up fees, contract terms, or minimum credit orders. For example, when my company Text Marketer sends out 1,000 texts, the company doesn't have expensive bills to pay with designers, publishers, or printers. Mobile marketing is a cost-effective way to communicate with your customers.

Big brands obviously are going to use mobile marketing, but it is in no way limited to them. The fact that mobile marketing is relatively inexpensive, quick, and easy means that it is becoming more and more popular with small ambitious businesses around the world. Businesses that can't afford to appear in the trendy publications or on highest-ranking Google sites are managing to reach thousands of customers for an affordable price.

4. My customers haven't opted in so it's illegal to text them

The law differs from country to country. If you have collected a customer or prospect's mobile number as part of your discussions, or they are an existing customer, then you're entitled to send them a text. That is the rules of engagement for SMS marketing in UK, but every country will have different laws and rules on mobile marketing. Some are more relaxed and some are a little stricter, so it's worth checking them out first.

5. Mobile marketing is only for the younger generation

That may certainly have been the case in 1997, but now the use of SMS has genuinely spread right across the age ranges. The mobile phone is now owned by every man and his dog, with SMS becoming the communication channel of choice for many. The journey that SMS has taken, from being a niche service to being the most popular way of staying in touch, is quite extraordinary.

"When texting was first conceived many saw it as nothing more than a niche service," stated James Thickett, Ofcom's director of Research. "But texts have now surpassed traditional phone calls and meeting face to face as the most frequent way of keeping in touch for UK adults, revolutionizing the way we socialize, work, and network."

6. Mobile marketing is a flash in the pan, here today, gone tomorrow

Surprisingly, some people still seem to think that mobile marketing is still a fad, and there seems to be a resistance in some quarters to accept the reality that SMS is massive and it's here to stay.

Stan from Velocity Partners puts it very well: "Mobile is the juggernaut that we're all trying very hard to pretend we don't see."

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Every handset on the globe can send and receive texts. So if you were hoping that SMS might quietly die, I'm afraid that event is looking highly unlikely. With more and more companies diving into mobile marketing and seeing the huge benefits from it, the companies standing still reluctant to dip their toe in are being left behind and run the risk of becoming an outdated company.

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image of Jake Jeffries
Jake Jeffries is a freelance design consultant at Text Marketer.