Chapter Contribution: Online/Mobile Marketing

This piece was contributed to Michelle Fitzgerald’s Get Scrappy: A (Small) Business Owner’s Guide to Marketing on Less

An online marketing overview would be incomplete without touching on mobile and how it’s used within the practice of marketing.  Mobile, with its myriad of wireless devices and networks, has become the most ubiquitous communication and media enablement channel out there.  As of 2009, over 235 million people in the United States carry a mobile phone and/or a wireless-enabled device (e.g. iTouch, Kindle, or PSP or GSP terminal). This is a staggering number when you consider the declining usage rate of offline media channels. Mobile adoption even outstrips Internet growth trends (<75% of Americans use the Internet and >35% of them no longer use a landline phone.  Mobile is the future, and the future is here. 

The mobile phone is more than a tool to talk. Technology is now enabling the consumer to multi-task through a single device, similar to the PC movement of the 90s. Mobile devices enable us to hold conversations, exchange text messages (billions daily), socialize via Facebook and Twitter, generate and consume content (images, videos and stories), check sports scores, local weather, query store locations, get coupons, browse the Web, buy goods, products and services, be entertained, read the news, and respond to in-phone marketing advertisements. 

An added benefit of mobile marketing is that it encapsulates many consumer activities, allowing marketers to provide an extension of their social media plan, print media calls-to-action (e.g. “text iLoop to 47201” invites them to visit your mobile web site), a content strategy, etc.  Marketers can provide deeper engagement with their target audience by using one or many of mobile’s marketing channels – text messaging (a.k.a. SMS), multi-media messaging (e.g. Display/Banner ads, Search ads, mobile Internet (i.e. Internet experience uniquely tailored to the consumer’s phone model, there are literally thousands of variations possible), Applications (e.g. software download to the iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, etc.) and proximity channels like Bluetooth and Wifi for local alerts.  

Marketing Assets You Will Need Short, mobile-friendly creative messaging for ads, promotional codes and/or branded calls-to-action. If creating a marketable mobile App (location), engage a designer familiar with such projects and plan accordingly with your budget.
Reach Metrics V
aries by the provider, but the national breakdown per [Nielsen 2009] 232 million on voice services, 138 million via SMS, 60 million via mobile Internet, and 20 million via Applications. 
Resources Needed One or more application partners to support text messaging, mobile Internet and related mobile capability needs.  See for a helpful list of players.
Scrappy Secrets Take time to invest in an intern or marketing professional to help educate you on preferred marketing channels (display/banner ads, search, text and applications.) 
You can learn mobile, but the rules can be daunting and the technology elusive. 

Read up on legislative governances before you commit to anything. Mobile marketing legislative and technological environments are changing on a daily (if not hourly) basis.  Start by checking out the Consumer Best Practices as MMA
As with any marketing channel understand your consumer, be sure your core audience are Mobile users. (e.g. of those 235 million users, are they Teens, Young Adults, other Small Business owners), is a helpful resource.

Be prepared to measure your success by integrating unique “call to action” phone numbers, email addresses and promo codes.
What’s to watch for? Don’t get too fancy. Start with text messaging and a mobile web site landing page, which gets you the best bang for your buck. 

Whatever you do, do not message someone without first getting their permission.