November 8, 2006

Current State of Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is going to be the big buzz in the coming months. With the rise of organizations like MMA (Mobile Marketing Association), things have really set in motion to set a standard in this arena. So what is the current state of Mobile Marketing?

Today’s mobile marketing and branding is largely controlled by the large wireless carriers. TMobile, Cingular, Verizon and Sprint act as the gatekeeper of anything mobile. They control and protect their customer base therefore marketers must engage with them to form some kind of marketing partnership. This is fine if you represent a large brand and your product or content is something desirable for the masses. For example, some successful programs that are monetized are the collaboration of the music industry and Verizon, NFL and Sprint, and iFilm and TMobile.

While extending your marketing campaign to mobile through wireless carriers is the wise only choice today, it rules out marketers with smaller budgets or less mass market contents. The good thing is that the mobile space is going to change pretty rapidly. There are already more smartphones available today than ever; many phones will come with built-in WiFi so they can be used to surf the web without paying for carrier specific internet package. I believe more users will begin to go beyond the carriers’ software and browse the World Wide Web using their mobile phones.

This is where Google and Yahoo mobile ads will come in handy. Both companies are investing heavily in mobile search and mobile portal to ensure the same user experience can be transformed to the small screens. Yahoo’s testing out mobile image ads which can hopefully rival the same mobile experience as the carriers’ portal would. Hopefully, this can bring the same leveled playing field from online search to the mobile marketing.

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