Mobile Marketing: The Next Great Advertising Platform

    2007—already dubbed by many the year of the iPhone—will likely be remembered as the year that the handheld advertising market exploded in to an essential distribution platform, especially for marketers looking to reach the much desired 18 – 34 demographic.
    Unlike radio, television, and even the internet, mobile marketing promises to deliver advertisers narrowly targeted, uniquely personal messages, broadcast to multiple users on diverse platforms. An advertiser who implements a mobile marketing plan is now able to reach users via text messages (SMS), the mobile web, enhanced multimedia messages, rich content (ringtones, ringbacks, graphics, & games), and even voice and video.
    A nightclub owner can send patrons on his opt-in VIP text list a short message about a drink special that evening, or, he could send out an invitation, which the patron could show the bouncer, rewarding the loyal patron with expedited entry.
    Well known female oriented magazines send out weekly text blasts filled with tips on food, clothing, exercise, and more.
    People vote for American Idol contestants on their cell-phones, and cast ballots in the MVP polls for major sporting events.
    Instead of the bottom of a soda bottle cap having printed on it, "You win a free liter of soda," you now text in a special code to the number that spells out the name of the beverage company.

    As mobile web browsers mature, the speed of American cellular networks increases, and the screen sizes of phones and other handheld devices expands, a presence on the mobile web will be as essential for your business as a regular web presence is for it today.
    Why 2007? When you combine an ever-growing group of Americans who have grown up experiencing cell-phones as a part of their everyday lives, with the maturation of data services, and the imminent arrival of the iPhone, it becomes clear that we have reached a tipping point. Cellular data services have been around for a long time—witness the popularity of the Blackberry in the business world—and it seems that the release of the iPhone or an imitator will likely put us over the top. MP3’s and digital music files, as well as portable MP3 players were around before the iPod came out; it was the iPod’s runaway success as not just a technological marvel, but a status symbol, that led us to a 2007 where older adults who are afraid to use a computer have their children (and grandchildren) load up iPods with their favorite music for them.
    And this brings us back to the rise of the mobile marketing platform. As users become more and more comfortable using their cellular phones as more than just phones, whether because of device functionality convergence (eg a Cameraphone, an MP3 Player/Phone) or the rise in popularity of rich-media products such as ringtones and mobile applications, users will understand, respond to, and come to expect personalized mobile marketing campaigns delivered to the palm of their hand. 

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