QR Codes and Beyond: 3 Technologies Changing Mobile Marketing Today
There are approximately 312 million Americans, 266 million with Internet access via computer. More than 285 million people in the U.S., more than 91 percent, have mobile phones, and nearly 40 percent of those phones can access the Internet. It's predicted that within the next 12 to 18 months, the percentage of smartphones will reach more than 60 percent and the Internet as we know it will change. Businesses will soon be forced to pay attention to mobile marketing, and several new technologies offer the upside to do so now.
Multimedia Message Service (MMS)
Marketing to mobile phones has become increasingly popular since the rise of Short Message Service (SMS) in the early 2000's, when businesses started to collect mobile phone numbers and send opt-in—or not—text messages.
Today, MMS mobile marketing can contain a timed slideshow of images, text, audio and video. Nearly all new phones produced with a color screen are capable of sending and receiving standard MMS messages. Companies are able to send rich content advertising through MMS networks to mobile subscribers. Some mobile networks are also capable of sending sponsored messages person-to-person, allowing the message to be focused directly to the interests of that consumer.
Location Based Services (LBS)
LBS is offered by some cell phone networks as a way to send custom advertising and information to subscribers based on their current locations. The cell phone service provider gets the location from a GPS chip built into the phone, or through radiolocation based on the signal strength of the closest cell phone towers for phones without GPS.
The QR Code (see image at right) is a specific type of 2D bar code readable by camera phones or QR readers for commercial and industrial use. The information encoded can be text, URL, phone number, SMS message, calendar event or other kinds of data.
QR Codes have become more prevalent in advertising and have been integrated into both traditional and digital campaigns, including on billboards, in-store displays, trade shows, business cards, print ads, contests, direct mail campaigns, websites, email marketing and coupons. QR Codes allow a high degree of accuracy to measure and quantify the return on investment (ROI) for each campaign.
Mobile in Complex Sales
The fastest industry to utilize QR Codes for advertising was the Real Estate industry. Simply placing an oversized QR Code on the "For Sale" sign at the curb allows everyone driving by to take pictures of the QR Code with their cell phones—without leaving their cars—and may turn one of them them into a real buyer.