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The Year of Mobile Marketing?

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As a marketer, you’ve probably heard this mantra every year for the last few years. I first remember hearing it in 2007, and that mobile marketing would take off! So far, that hasn’t happened yet. I attended an AIMA Event last night that was about Mobile marketing. Which lead me to write this post and explore more about mobile arena.

What is mobile marketing? To put it simply it’s the marketing of goods and services through your cell phone. This could be though texting, display ads or mobile websites. It is very similar to marketing on the web.

The main reason I see for the delay in the “Year of Mobile Marketing” is the phone itself. Most consumers do not have a smart phone like an iPhone, Blackberry, Palm Pre, or and Android phone. A figure I learned last night, and this is not an exact number, 70% of people in the US have a regular phone while about 30% have a smart phone. As the smart phones penetrate the market, the more mobile campaigns we’ll begin to see.

The lack of smart phone penetration is the main barrier to mobile marketing. If you are like me and have a traditional cell phone, the last thing you want to do is surf the net on an almost postage stamp size screen. I think most people want the same web surfing experience on their phone as they have at home. They want to be able to pull up fully functional websites and not hard to navigate, striped down sites.

I hope with the recent price wars for unlimited calling will spill over into the smart phone market. Most of the people I know with an iPhone are paying $100 a month for service. I think for the smart phones to penetrate the market, the price would have to fall by 50%.

Time will tell if this is the year for mobile marketing, but until we have better penetration of smart phones, we will keep saying the same mantra. I give it a few more years before it’s as common as traditional web marketing.

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