In my last blog post I wrote about why I thought 2011 would be the year mobile marketing went mainstream. After finishing the post, I found myself thinking about how to define mobile marketing and how you would categorize the many forms of mobile marketing. After reading many definitions of what mobile marketing is, I found this definition from The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), which defines mobile marketing as “a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.” What makes mobile marketing unique is the engagement factor. The MMA defines engagement to mean, “to start relationships, acquire, generate activity, stimulate social interaction with organization and community members, [and] be present at time of consumers expressed need.” It is this engagement factor that makes mobile marketing so attractive. Engagement in the mobile word can take place in serveral ways, such as a consumer by opting into a text messaging, viewing a mobile website, or accessing an application. Here is a synopsis of the major forms of mobile marketing.
SMS (short message service): Also known as ‘texting’, advertisers can send relevant marketing messages (coupons and sales offers) directly into the hands of consumers via of text messages. MMS messages are limited to 160 characters in length. SMS is the oldest, yet still most popular form of mobile marketing.
MMS (multi-media message service): Similar to SMS, but with the addition of multimedia content such as pictures, video, and audio.
Mobile Websites/Landing Pages: Have you ever tried to look at a standard website on a mobile screen? It’s not pretty. A mobile website is a website or page specifically designed for the small screens of mobile devices. Queries to a website include the type of browser being used, and when a request comes from a mobile browser is made, it is redirected to the mobile version for a significantly better user experience. A quality mobile website is quickly becoming a “must have” for many businesses. They also serve as the foundation that makes many of the remaining mobile marketing opportunities possible.
Mobile Paid Search: Mobile paid search works in a similar way to traditional paid search. Image and text ads are displayed in search engine results and the advertiser pays when an ad is clicked. Google AdWords has made it easy to opt-in to mobile search by simply checking a box to enable your ads to be shown on mobile devices. However, most mobile marketers suggest creating a separate, stand-alone mobile search campaign. This is because people search differently on mobile devices. Mobile users tend to use shorter search terms, and a majority of mobile searches are local in nature. A separate mobile paid search program will also provide better reporting on the effectiveness of your program.
Mobile Banner Ads: Like standard banner ads for desktop web pages, but smaller to fit on mobile screens and run on the mobile websites. In some cases, animated mobile web ad banners may be available used to convey a richer experience.
Paid Mobile Local Search Directories: There are a host of local search directories such as YP.com, Superpages.com, CityGrid, and Yelp. While a paid listing on their standard internet directories will appear in mobile search results. many offer mobile specific ad units (banners) that provide advertiser’s prominent top of page placement for increased exposure.
QR Codes (quick-response barcodes): Similar to barcodes, QR codes allow customers to quickly learn more about a product or business. Users that scan a QR code with a mobile device are linked to digital content (special offers, brochures event information) on the web.
Mobile Navigation/Location-Based Marketing: Delivers multi-media advertising directly to the user of a mobile device based upon their current location via GPS technology.
Mobile Applications: Software that runs on a mobile device and performs certain tasks for the user. Since the introduction of the iPhone and the Apple App Store, thousands of companies have developed their own custom application to interact with their customers.
With mobile marketing in its infancy, this list will undoubtedly expand over time. With mobile it is best to take a crawl, walk, run approach. Start small (SMS messaging, mobile websites) and then expand into other areas as you build your knowledge and confidence. Ask yourself “what am I trying to accomplish with mobile marketing and who am I trying to reach? But don’t wait too long, because the mobile marketing train is leaving the station.
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