Mobile Marketing – A growing phenomena or is it?

There were 23.6 million mobile users in Australia ?at the end of 2008, representing 110% penetration level’*

Nearly every Australian has a mobile phone – in 2008 there was 23.6 million mobile phone users, 46% of which had internet enabled phones*. Sounds like a marketing opportunity! Read more

Why then does it appear that the marketing industry is reticent to embrace this new medium? What are the pitfalls and is the technology and its user really ready for to be communicated with via their last bastion of privacy?

International markets such as the UK, Germany & Sweden have a greater willingness to open up their company’s marketing budgets to allow spend on the mobile market. These markets have embraced the mobile phone as a communication channel, a way for businesses to interact with its customers. Here in Australia, it seems we’re a little slower to adapt to this targeted medium that can deliver messages right down to the individual’s location, demographic and purchase history…

Why the hesitation?

There have been few mobile campaigns that have run successfully (and publically) in Australia. Why is this? Is it complexity of delivering to a multitude of changing mobile platforms, or are we a little confused, is it the fear of consumer backlash at their privacy being invaded or is it simply an aversion to placing money in a new arena with little proven history?

Technology is always changing, and the mobile phone is no exception. In the last few years, we have seen change on a new level with the introduction of Smart Phones such as the Apple iPhone, Google’s Android and Blackberry’s various handset releases and the other manufacturers hot on their heels with offerings. The mobile has become more than just a ‘phone’, with the internet, email, satellite navigation and countless other applications available at the touch of a finger, even ‘smart phone’ is a little under sold. Marketers are traditionally not afraid of change, so perhaps then just a little confused?

SMS, MMS, GSM, 2G, 3G, GSM, WAP… it’s enough to bamboozle most of us except of course, Gen Yers and their little siblings, Digital Natives who use these terms as easily as they do ‘BRB, LMK and TTYL (if you’re stuck here, try However, this shouldn’t be a reason not to venture into this space…

A few sectors have successfully adopted SMS or MMS into their day-to-day dealings with customers – mobile phone providers send regular account updates by SMS and the banking sector is starting to send bank balance by SMS. This integration of their offering with the mobile platform has meant that these companies have a more interactive relationship with their customers and can quickly, effectively and cheaply communicate to them. However, a few examples alone are not enough, more trials and case studies are needed.

Budgets, ROI, impact evaluation, post analysis are all terms being bandied around more regularly in this ‘GFC’ climate. With decreased budgets, the incentive to branch out from tried & proven marketing avenues is not there. However, it doesn’t have to cost a lot to put a toe in the water. There are many new players entering this space providing marketers and agencies with cost effective, targeted mobile campaigns.

Just think, it seems like only minutes ago that we embarked on email marketing and now its common place. Like all channels, you need to ensure your audience wants to be contacted via their mobile before you embark on an on-going strategy and think about how you can use it to add value to your offering…

* Source : Telsyte’s Australian Mobile Services Market 2008 review