Making a Business Case for Mobile Marketing

Updated: June 08, 2010

The Foundation

1. Text Messaging (SMS)
There are more than 300 million mobile subscribers in North America, representing approximately 90% of all adults. Virtually every mobile device supports SMS. Studies indicate day-to-day use of SMS has quickly migrated into older age groups, with as much as 50% penetration among boomers. After voice, SMS is the most ubiquitous mobile technology. Any ROI metric looks better when the potential audience is 300 million consumers.

2. E-mail and Social Media
The number of consumers with feature phones or smartphones accessing personal or business e-mail accounts, and monitoring Facebook statuses and tweets, is growing quickly. E-mail and social media must be understood as components of mobile marketing. Considering how engrained e-mail and social media are within online marketing, the incremental costs to adjust for mobile-friendly content delivery should be very tolerable and seen as the lowest hanging fruit

3. Mobile Web
Twenty percent of mobile subscribers have both the device and data plan needed to access the mobile Web. The small number of subscribers with the ability to access the mobile Web creates challenging ROI metrics. The potential audience diminishes while development and infrastructure costs increase. The mobile Web, however, is vital to more interactive experiences and provides access to greater information on-demand, all while supporting SMS and mobile e-mail tactics. The mobile Web is a lynchpin of effective mobile marketing.

4. Device-specific apps
Many marketers envy the buzz around other brands' iPhone apps. But marketers looking to create apps must be cautious. The ROI of apps is inherently challenging. Among the 20% of all mobile subscribers with smartphones, only a fraction own iPhones. To deliver meaningful app experiences to all smartphone users, marketers must create several apps (Android, Blackberry, Symbian and Palm) and make a large investment. Marketers that focus on iPhone users only rely on a small relative audience of potential consumers to balance their investment.

5. Mobile Advertising
Paid search and banner advertising are growing mobile marketplaces. It is necessary to understand the potential audience is those with mobile Web access. In contrast to traditional online search, mobile search is implicitly urgent. The consumer is ready to take action; they need information and direction now. Mobile search ads can include results for local stores, access to driving directions, or a simple click-to-call to convert interest into a sale.

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