To understand the importance of mobile marketing, here are 2 figures that might be shocking to some people: the number of smartphone users in 2016 will be approximately 2.1 billion (Statista 2016); while the number of tablet users in 2016 will be 1.12 billion, with an excepted rise to 1.15 billion (Statista 2016). In the words of Keller et al. (2011): “Personal digital assistants and mobile phones are playing an increasingly important role in consumer’s lives, and more marketers are taking notice”.
An elaborate definition of mobile marketing for this would be: “any marketing activity conducted through a ubiquitous network to which consumers are constantly connected using a personal mobile device” (Kaplan 2012). At this point we can all agree that that mobile phones have become an indispensable part of our lives and that successful companies are required to use this medium to reach its consumers. It has been widely adopted in developing countries (Donner 2008), but it has many barriers in rural areas; barriers include superstitions (Gakuru et al. 2009), usurpation of oral communictation (Barrantes Cáceres and Fernandez-Ardevol 2012) etc. Outside of these situations, it is highly possible that omitting marketing on mobile can be devastating to businesses and it should be a must-do activity for marketing teams. There are many techniques to advertise on mobiles, so I will summarise them and provide examples, where possible.
This has been very popular in the early 2000s, but it still used today. My personal experience has been with Toyota Service sending me monthly SMS, to remind me of my decision of “probably” buying a car after graduation. The major advantage is the simplicity. It can be very useful tool for customer retention, a reminder of “hey! I’m still here”. But this is a double-edged sword as if done too often it can be considered “spam”, so the consumer will become frustrated/angry. A successful example of this technique is the music label Decca trying to go digital in reaching an audience for the Proms classical music event (skeptical to tech usage and restricted marketing). With the help of Weve and tailoring messages to individuals, the messages peaked to 4000 in the middle of campaign (compared to 45 in day 1), click-through rate of 2.5 cent at the peak, and click-to-conversion rate of 70 per cent (Sear 2014)
This could be referred to an extention of SMS, wherein SMS is only text, while MMS can include any video, images and audio as well. Motorala has used this in a campaign for House of Blues venues, where the consumer could send mobile photos onto a LED screen in real-time, or blog their images online. (Jscarbo 2007)
Marketing through apps
Apps allows for better engagement, payment and targeted advertising (Gadzoog 2013). One of the most commonly used apps are those of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc. It is effectively tailoring the websites to a mobile device. And the best part of it all: no adblocks (yet)! It may also be important to consider gaming apps too, as it is known that ads in games are remembered better, because the user is more involved (Picurelli 2013)
These are 2D images that can be scanned by mobile phones, which will then redirect the user to a webpage. 5 years ago, there was a successful scavenger hunt started by Starbucks and Lady Gaga, via QR codes (Grove 2011). As a wine world insider, some wineries add QR codes to their bottles so the consumer can reach the website easier. There are many other techniques such as Bluetooth and location-based services (GPS), the latter being helpful for travelers.
So, if mobile has so many different possibilities, there must be some criticism to it, no? In recent years, there have been big concerns about consumer privacy (data collection). On the one hand, companies need data on people to tailor content to specific targets, but on the other hand, mobile phones are considered very personal and intimate (Banerjee et al 2008). Mobile medium is too important for companies to leave out, therefore companies must keep a balance when collecting and using customer data.