With cell phones more commonplace than computers and mobile devices—such as PDAs and smart phones—catching on quickly, it’s no wonder mobile marketing looks attractive to direct marketers. According to the Cellular & Telecommunications Internet Association, there are 203 million wireless subscribers in the United States, with 70 percent or higher penetration in most major metropolitan areas.
On the demographics end, this market trends younger, with most wireless subscribers between the ages of 13 and 34, cites mobile market research firm M:Metrics Inc. But the 35 to 44 age group continues to expand its use of these devices year over year.
“What we are seeing is the majority of users on mobile campaigns are in that 13 to 34 age demographic, but that is starting to skew upwards as campaigns become more and more relevant to consumers. So now you can target a broader age range … depending on what campaigns are being launched,” says Laura Marriott, executive director of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) in Boulder, Colo.
Marriott points out that as consumers get more comfortable with mobile marketing, the number of campaigns is beginning to take off; mobile marketing went from a handful of campaigns in 2004 to thousands deployed this past year.
And marketers themselves are beginning to see the value of gearing their marketing efforts to keep up with this increasingly mobile populace. “The idea of time-targeting and place-targeting your message into somebody’s pocket has tremendous [appeal]; the challenge is making your message so relevant that it’s acceptable and welcome to the consumer,” asserts Mike Baker, CEO of Enpocket, a New York City-based global mobile media company.
Marketers may choose from a few different types of mobile marketing formats:
• SMS (short message service): better known as text messaging, which involves a prospect keying a five-digit short code into the texting tool that signals the return of a text marketing message to the sender;
• MMS (multimedia messaging service): allows for both images and text;
• mobile video: allows presentation of video clips; and
• mobile advertising: linkable text or banner ads within other mobile applications.