Making mobile marketing matter

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You've heard the hype, seen the numbers, and been wowed by the unbelievable growth of the new buzz word: Mobile.


According to CTIA The Wireless Associa­tion, there are now 255 million US wireless subscribers — roughly 84% of the population. The mobile channel is the new Holy Grail for brands, and its market spans ages, ethnicities and economic strata.


But mobile is not television. It is not radio, neither is it print nor Web. Mobile is a medium all its own, with its own rules. It is an active — not passive — device for communicating. It is a status symbol and a customizable fashion accessory. But, most importantly, it has become the connector and lifeblood of our social network.


Mobile has enabled people to communicate anytime and anywhere, offering marketers an opportunity to engage consumers on a unique, personal level. Beyond phone calls, mobile provides an entirely different realm of possibilities for transmitting value-added messaging to consumers, whether through mobile coupons, instantaneous contest par­ticipation, voting or text-to-buy.


The bottom line is consumers no longer need to be sitting at their desktops to get the product or information they want. The grow­ing use of short codes — numbers consumers can text directly from mobile devices to opt in for purchases or information sharing — shows the enormous potential of mobile.


Already, big consumer brands are testing these waters. But before investing in this medium, marketers must be sure to create content that is not repackaged or simply rehashed from another medium. Content must be optimized for download speeds, as well as easy to view and navigate.

Creating value and relevancy is essential for mobile too. Sending intrusive messages with little value only serves to annoy the target consumer. All communications must make sense and provide value to the recipient.


Likewise, mobile marketing can't thrive in a vacuum, so cross-media integration is key. Mobile makes the most sense when integrated into larger campaigns, and not used as a standalone tactic.

Simply put, the mobile world is where the Web was a decade ago. It won't be long before the short code will be as common as the URL in bringing brands and consumers together. Those direct response marketers who embrace mobile now will reap the ben­efits even sooner.

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