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In The News
Fundamental Tactics for Mobile Marketing

November 5, 2009

Published by eMarketing and Commerce
Written by Bryce Marshall

Mobile marketing is intriguing and the subject of considerable exploration right now because of its potential for intimate, timely and extremely valuable interactions with consumers.

While understanding mobile marketing technology is important when creating a mobile marketing strategy or program, it's only one part of the puzzle. You also should understand tactical mobile marketing options. Here's a simple framework that should provide some clarity on the core components of mobile marketing.

Opt-in SMS, MMS and email
Short message service (SMS) represents a foundational approach to mobile marketing in that it reaches a broad audience. Depending on which study is cited, up to 95 percent of the U.S. population owns mobile devices, and virtually all of the devices have SMS capability. Much like email has emerged as a ubiquitous marketing channel for online audiences, SMS will do the same for mobile.

Because many consumers have their personal and/or professional emails pushed to mobile devices, savvy marketers are adapting existing email programs for reading on mobile devices. Including a link to a mobile-friendly web version of an email within the email header is an effective tactic.

Multimedia messaging service (MMS) behaves much like SMS, but allows formatted text, images and audio. This may sound great, but MMS is supported by only a few carriers, has a higher fee per message for consumers and marketers, and has yet to find significant popularity with consumers.

Mobile web
Returning to the email analogy, the mobile web is the equivalent to landing pages and corporate websites used to anchor email campaigns. However, the web pages/sites are designed and coded for optimal rendering, viewing and navigation within the mobile browser. It's important to simplify tasks for a mobile site visitor since mobile browsers don't support much of the online functionality we take for granted.

Apps are programs downloaded directly to mobile devices that differ in some ways from the mobile web. Because apps are downloaded and not accessed through browsers, there are significantly fewer design and functionality limitations. iPhone Apps, in particular, are good examples of mobile apps. But keep in mind that only 5 percent to 6 percent of wireless subscribers in the U.S. own iPhones. The benefits of greater interactivity come with a trade-off in dramatically reduced audience size and reach.

Mobile ads
Search, banner ads in mobile search results and mobile websites are still a small fraction of all online impressions, but the opportunity is promising. As the number of U.S. consumers with mobile web access grows and mobile browsers improve, this channel will become ubiquitous.

Successful mobile marketing is possible when the appropriate strategy matches the right tactical execution.

Bryce Marshall is the director of strategic services for Knotice, an Akron, Ohio-based provider of direct digital marketing communications. Reach Bryce at

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