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Mobile Marketing-an Overview

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mobile marketingStatistics indicate that the use of smart phones and tablets is increasing at a rapid rate all over the world. As the mobile world continues to release updated versions of their technologies like the BlackBerry, iPhone or Android phones and tablet PCs like the iPad and BlackBerry Playbook, more and more people are harnessing the power of mobile.

The reality is: we live in a fast-paced world where information travels at the speed of light and people are accessing this information on their handheld devices.

Mobile marketing is more than just sending text messages to your customers. There are a number of strategies that fall under the umbrella of mobile marketing, which will be discussed in further detail later on. For now, let’s talk about whether the concept of mobile marketing in general is right for your company

Why Do Companies Use Mobile Marketing?

There are several reasons why companies choose to embark in the mobile world to further reach their customers. Below are just a few reasons marketers have leveraged mobile marketing.

1. People Consider Their Mobile Phones Personal

Many people use their mobile phones to store contact information, appointments, reminders and personal notes. People take pictures using their mobile phones and customize various settings on their phone (wallpaper, ringtone, theme, etc.). Also, generally people don’t share their mobile phones. So communicating to your customers via their mobile devices is an effective way to increase the personalization of your marketing message. With that said, privacy and permission are very important for all marketing campaigns especially involving a mobile device.

2. People Always Keep Their Mobile Phones Around Them And On

Think about the things you grab just before you leave the house: wallet, keys, mobile phone. Think about the things you keep close to you throughout the day: your mobile phone. Also think about the last time you turned your mobile phone off. During meetings, outings and even while they sleep, people generally put their phones on silent or vibrate. Rarely do people turn their mobile phones off unless they need to reset it, pop out the battery or change the SIM card.

What does this mean for marketers? Mobile campaigns can be read within minutes of being received. But marketers must be sensitive to the timing of their messages. Nobody wants to be woken up at 4 AM with a marketing message to their mobile device.

3. People Can Make Payments Through Their Mobile Phones

Every mobile phone has a built-in payment system: the SIM card. Billing can be done through the user’s mobile network. With the popularity of ringtone downloads, game downloads and data usage, people have developed the mentality that they must pay for content through their mobile phones. The expectation that mobile content is free has been lessened. But marketers must understand that even though consumers are willing to pay for content and downloads via their mobile device, clear communication that charges will apply must take effect.

4. People Can Easily Share Mobile Content

Much like how email has the “forward” option, mobile phones gives users the ability to forward messages to their friends with a click of a button. There is great viral potential with mobile marketing and if the message/offer is compelling enough, users will share your message/offer with their friends. With the use of text messaging, BlackBerry Messenger and other instant messenger systems on the mobile device, people are communicating with their friends using their cell phones more than traditional communication channels. Therefore, mobile marketing campaigns have the potential to go viral because users can send a message to their mobile contacts simultaneously within minutes.

5. People’s Response to a Mobile Campaign Can Be Easily Tracked

Much like how Internet marketing offers exceptional tracking and measuring capabilities, so does mobile marketing. Since every activity in a mobile marketing campaign is tracked to a single phone number, engagement can be easily measured. Though some mobile networks may limit the amount of data they are willing to share with marketing companies, activity can be traced back to individual mobile users.

Consider the number of people who rely on their phones and how important they consider their phones as part of their way of life. Mobile marketing allows companies to capitalize on this fact, while increasing customer engagement, brand loyalty and profits at the same time.

Who Should Be Leveraging Mobile Marketing?

Mobile marketing offers companies new and exciting ways to expand the reach of their messages and touch more customers. The return on investment could range between new leads, more sales, increased repeat sales or more customer interaction. But who should be leveraging mobile marketing? How can you determine if your company is ready to tap into the mobile realm? Below are some ways to help you come to that conclusion.

Evaluate If Mobile Marketing Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

Start by evaluating your company’s goals and determine if the benefits of mobile Marketing (as previously discussed) could help you meet those goals. For example, if your company is struggling to retain customers and create brand loyalty, mobile Marketing might help you close the gap between existing customers becoming repeat customers. Keeping your customers in the know about your latest offers and special discounts through the personal touch of a mobile device can create customer loyalty

Determine If Mobile Fits With Your Existing Marketing Programs

You can also think about your existing marketing programs and determine where you could enhance your customer communication strategies using mobile marketing. For example, if your company is currently leveraging other forms of Internet marketing, such as social media, and looking to tap into new engagement strategies, mobile marketing might be a step in the right direction. Location-based mobile marketing can serve as a great asset for companies that are looking to link their social media and mobile marketing campaigns together.

Location-based social networks like Foursquare, Looptand Gowalla coupled with the features of today’s Smartphone’s allow people to interact, share and recommend places based on their physical location.

Creating a mobile friendly website might be a good way to enhance the experience of your current website visitors. Launching a mobile commerce site might be a nice way to complement your existing eCommerce website. Later in this guide, we will discuss various mobile opportunities and how to integrate them into your marketing strategy. When answering the question of who should be leveraging mobile, a good question to ask yourself is where mobile fits with what you’re currently doing.

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