04/08/2010

By Mat Diss, Co-founder of bemoko

So what’s the big deal about mobile marketing? It has been
talked about for ages as a new dawn for the marketing industry: the holy grail of delivering content to people wherever they are. Yet the reality seems to have so far not lived up to the hype.

Why?

John Lennon is credited with the quote “there are no problems only solutions”. Unfortunately for marketers seeking mobile solutions it often seems there are only problems.

Like how do I ensure that my brand identity is properly represented across thousands of different models of mobile phone with different screen sizes and operating systems?
How do I deliver relevant content to the right people at the right time? Most importantly, how do I ensure that my communications through mobile are adding value, not spam?

The very thing that makes mobile so compelling as a marketing medium — its proximity to the user at all times — can also act as an inhibitor.

Years ago we might have turfed a travelling salesperson off our front door because they were intruding on our personal space. The virtual version of this is not much more compelling for brands using mobile. To avoid problems and deliver solutions, marketers need to consider context, usability and location.

Context is important because we do not do the same things on a mobile that we do on a PC, TV or games console. We rely on mobile to give us relevant information and entertainment quickly and effectively. Building contextual campaigns means recognising this and tailoring mobile marketing to reflect this.

Usability is important because the mobile industry is littered with technologies that have been marketed to the public but have failed to take off. People like stuff that works easily and intuitively, not things that require a degree in electronic engineering.

In the UK, the 3G licence auctions took place in 2000, yet it was only really in 2008, with touch screens phones and data dongles that the benefits of fast mobile data came to the public’s attention: all of a sudden there was something useful to do with a 3G data connection.

A constantly updated location is what makes mobile unique. Location provides users with relevant and contextual information. It gives marketers an opportunity to engage with users through meaningful and relevant content.

Mobile marketing that can deliver a combination of context, usability and location can delight consumers and build brands. The opportunity is still there but like all marketing, it simply needs to be executed really well.