Monday, April 19, 2010

The Mobile Bandwagon

By Philip Wocken
It seems that every white paper, every article, every webinar that I’ve come across lately has been about mobile marketing. It’s Mobile Madness! If you would have asked me a year ago about the prospects of mobile marketing, I would have told you that mobile would be a difficult (if not impossible) channel for marketers to penetrate. I mean, honestly, who would be willing to surrender the last bastion of their privacy and offer up their mobile number? You’d have to be crazy to willingly give up that information. It was for that reason that I felt like the mobile craze was nothing more than a phase.

I’ve since begun educating others and myself on the promising prospects for mobile marketing. Yes, I’m embarrassed to admit that I had my doubts. I also owe Drew Dahms an apology. Last year, Drew visited this blog and boldly declared that mobile marketing was going to become a major player in the marketing landscape. Drew, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry…you were right.

Now I find myself inserting my own personal QR code in my email signatures, researching out mobile marketing platforms, drafting mobile marketing proposals for clients, soaking up “best practice” articles and upgrading my own mobile device to enhance my mobile experiences.

A few months ago, I began to finally understand the power of mobile. As people upgrade to smartphones, they realize that the $70/month they spend on their cell phone data plan gives them access to so much more than standard phone calls or text messaging. Now, smartphone users can also use their cell phones to access the Internet, as a GPS device, as a digital camera, as a camcorder, to access email, for portable gaming, for mobile banking, as an mp3 player and thousands of other functions that downloadable applications can provide. That gets you quite a bit for $70/month. Consumers are seeking out applications and mobile websites that help improve their efficiency. For instance, Target is now adding additional value to its customers by offering mobile coupons.

Consumers are also beginning to demand that companies offer mobile options to help improve their brand experiences. We no longer have to wonder if consumers will offer up their mobile numbers. Apparently, some consumers are more than willing to sacrifice their privacy if it means saving money, winning prizes or getting valuable information from brands.

I’d like to now officially announce that I’ve hopped on the mobile bandwagon and I have no intentions of hopping off anytime soon.

How about you? Are you still skeptical about mobile or are you sitting next to me on the bandwagon?

Philip Wocken is the Director of emerging media at d.trio marketing group, a Minneapolis-based marketing agency. He can be reached on Twitter (@pwocken) or at

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Jackie said...

I am a bit skeptical (but am also behind the times sans smart phone). But I think that marketers who can do it right (love the mobile coupon idea)by building useful apps that integrate something useful with their brand messaging will find customers thru mobile marketing.

Philip Wocken said...

Definitely. Thanks for your comment Jackie! There's that delicate line between invading people's privacy and delivering a product/service that adds sufficient value to the end-user.

Keep in mind that while smartphone adoption will continue to grow, only 21% of mobile phone users are able to use smartphone applications and/or mobile websites. As for now, text message campaigns (ie "text COUPON to 54382") are the easiest ways to implement the mobile channel

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