Whether referring to it as a wireless, cell, or mobile phone, many people would admit that they would have an extremely difficult time living without their (non-landline) phones. Gone are the days of tripping over twenty foot cords, remembering anyone’s telephone number, and of Mom picking up on the other line yet again to interrupt your two hour phone-fest with your BFF. This should be no surprise to anyone who hasn’t been on a tropical island, Castaway-style, for the last ten or so years.
More interesting is the emergence of mobile marketing, in which companies can contact their customers and vice versa using mobile phone technology. SMS (short message system) technology has enabled corporations to reach people on a medium that most have either on their bodies or extremely close to themselves all day long. In targeting users of mobile phones, marketers can more effectively reach their intended audience, and thus have a greater chance of gaining the interest of their recipients. This strategy for connecting with consumers is about to become very popular with marketers, according to the Mobile Marketing Association – so get ready for mobile campaigns to start arriving in your mobile’s Inbox.
Mobile marketing is not only an innovative way for companies to connect with consumers – it can also help to reduce consumption of paper. As part of mobile campaigns, paperless coupons for discounts on products, services, and event tickets are being sent out to mobile phone users. This is in contrast with coupons sent in e-mail messages or found on company websites, which the users must print out themselves. To receive the coupons on their mobile phone, consumers can send a message to the short (usually five digit) number advertised, and receive a reply with a coupon message or code that is enacted when they make a purchase. Kroger is just one retailer that will be going mobile with its marketing efforts, and surely won’t be the last.
Users can also subscribe to receive text messages from retailers by joining mobile communities, such as Coca Cola’s Sprite Yard, which will give people that join access to exclusive downloadable content. When used by brands that can offer perks such as games, sneak peeks of upcoming films, and sound bites from popular artists, mobile communities will appeal to a large demographic.
Marketers know that the mobile phone has become a key component for staying in touch all over the world, and are now adapting to connect with target audiences on the device that most can’t live without. How successful such efforts will be remains to be seen, but it won’t be long before mobile marketing comes to a phone near you.