This week at johnblaskett.com I will be researching, blogging and tweeting on the developing industry of mobile commerce. With the rise and rise of smartphone use over the last five or so years (led by the release of the Apple iPhone) mobile marketing is perhaps the biggest growth area of online business with huge immediate potential. Mobiles are already rivalling desktop computers as the preferred tool for internet usage, and it is expected that by 2015 the mobile web will have almost 2 billion users. The challenge is for advertisers and marketers to capitalise on this near exponential growth in popularity, and make use of a smartphone’s capability as an interactive marketing communications tool in the pockets of millions of consumers.
What is Mobile Marketing?
There are many ways that marketers and advertisers can take advantage of the opportunities around smartphone use. Basically, mobile marketing or mobile commerce includes the activities that make your business visible to consumers through their smartphone usage. This can include specially designed Apps based on your brand, developing ‘mailing lists’ of mobile consumers, advertising through mobile channels or developing mobile-friendly web pages for your organisation. You’ve probably come across these strategies yourself without perhaps ever realising the degree of involvement required to deliver the marketing messages to you. In fact, around $1.5 billion is being spent on mobile advertising campaigns worldwide, and that figure is set to increase by over 300% in the next 3 years!
Is it really worth it?
Yes! Insights into consumer responses to mobile marketing show that mobiles are fast becoming one of the best tools for driving online business. Where not so long ago mobile phones were used primarily for calling and texting friends, studies have shown that today consumers are using smartphone technology to research and evaluate product purchase decisions. It has been cited that almost 30% of consumers identified mobile retail as their preferred method of shopping, with that figure set to grow as mobile commerce continues to develop. Many companies throw thousands of dollars at developing their mobile marketing strategies, with the average spend being between $75,000 to $100,00 per campaign, but there are ways for any business to get involved with much lower set up costs.
How your business can get involved
Getting into mobile marketing is much less expensive or difficult than you may have thought. There are dedicated websites that can handle different aspects of mobile commerce, from App design to text message couponing. Three of the best strategies for beginners looking to quickly and easily get up and running in the mobile commerce space are:
- Creating your own App. Check out http://mobile.conduit.com/ to make an App that can be integrated to your website and social media links. The App can then be uploaded to iTunes or Android for a small fee and made accessible to the mobile market.
- QR Codes. QR (Quick Response) codes are another great emerging marketing tool, where consumers scan a specially designed barcode (often placed in store or on packaging) that sends users through to your brand’s linked webpage. This is a great lead generation tool, and websites like http://www.qrlicious.com/ can build you a ready to go QR code for only $25.
- SMS Marketing. Another great opportunity to enter the mobile marketing space is through the use and delivery of text messages for delivering promotions and brand news. Online SMS campaign management sites like http://www.textmarks.com/ can help you deliver strategies to consumers to get them interacting quickly with your brand. Building a text message contact list is essential for this to work effectively, and there are many ways you can go about collecting the numbers of potential consumers. It is worth Googling ‘SMS marketing’ or ‘text message marketing’ to find out more.
I’m interested to hear if there are any stories or advice out there from businesses, large or small, that have used mobile commerce as a core aspect of their overall marketing strategy. I think that mobile commerce will continue to grow and become a huge opportunity for marketers to exploit. It would be awesome to hear from you Early Adopters out there about how you are going about strategy development and implementation!