Category Archives: Mobile Marketing

A Macro View of the Global Mobile Marketing Environment: Marketing Opportunities by the Numbers

*all of the graphics and information (except the cell phone operating system data) contained in this post are from the International Telecommunications Union website and publications and may be accessed via the ITU publications landing page. Operating system graphic from Best Choice Tech.

How can you be anything but optimistic about the future potential of mobile marketing? The technological infrastructure to provide 100 percent of the population with access to mobile phone coverage is nearly in place (currently, 90 percent of the world’s population has access to mobile phone service). Over 4.7 billion people have and use mobile phones (predominantly GSM). Both reach (number with access to mobile phones) and penetration (number of people per 100 subscribing to mobile phone packages) are increasing rapidly. Regional differences in penetration exist and will for some time. But the overall increase in reach and penetration provides marketers with a new opportunity to access global market segments while providing measurable (and traceable) results.


One of the biggest challenges for marketers is the technology available to reach potential consumers via their mobile phones. A significant number of applications have been developed for users of iPhones and Android-based phones but users of mobile phones based on other operating systems face limited options. RIM (Blackberry) users are better off than are Nokia users but neither have the wealth of application options available to iPhone and Android users. Why, when Symbian is the most widely distributed global mobile operating system, are so few functional applications available? Clearly a need exists for either consolidation in the mobile operating system options or for development of applications (apps) and web browsers designed in parallel for the system(s) used most widely. This limitation is only valid if apps and browsers emerge as the preferred platform for mobile marketing. The other options, short message service (SMS), e-mail marketing and bluetooth marketing are not impacted or as limited by the distribution of apps. Smart marketers will pursue all available options to reach people who have identified a willingness to receive information (permission-based or opt-in marketing).


Mobile broadband (Internet) subscription per 100 people already exceeds fixed broadband subscription per 100 people in the developed world. Within the next two years, the same condition is expected to exist in the developing world. With 4.7 billion of the 6.7 billion people on the planet subscribing to mobile phone service (70.15 percent), it’s clear that the future of marketing is mobile.


Locate This!

Location-based marketing is fostering a lot of buzz in the B2C marketing community. Being able to reach potential customers who are in close proximity of your business in order to provide them with an incentive to visit is something that has business owners salivating.

An article written by John Arnold and published today on the Business Insider War Room provides an excellent overview of the methods currently in use to foster location-based marketing exchanges. Read the Beginner’s Guide to Location-Based Marketing by clicking on this link.

While most of the services highlighted (referred to as location-based services – LBS) in the 16 slide presentation require active participation from the customer (e.g., logging in), a couple highlight passive approaches to location-based marketing such as bluetooth connections (e.g., ProximityMedia in the USA, Bluetooth Proximity Marketing Solutions in the UK). The UK seems to be ahead of the USA in developing and implementing this technology, including the use of Blue Onboard – a transit delivery system of bluetooth marketing messages. For location-based marketing to “catch fire”, after the initial active opt-in (permanent, temporary by location, or ad hoc), the services need to provide consumers with the capability of passively receiving information from local businesses. For instance, if I check in using a location-based service once I arrive in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, notices of offers from the Black Rose Pub or Comedy Club at Cheers should arrive on my mobile phone over the course of the evening. Even better, if I enable my bluetooth connection once I arrive in the Quincy Market Colonnade, offers should arrive automatically based on my proximity to the business who is advertising.

One can envision a time (but it’s probably already happening!) that after you walk into one restaurant, an ad from a competing restaurant is sent to your mobile phone highlighting reasons to frequent them instead and offering an incentive to do so.

Regardless of how location-based social networking and marketing evolves, it is clearly the future of B2C marketing, including via GPS systems used for driving assistance (similar to mobile phones, another potential advertising venue and ordering system – imagine entering and paying for your Dunkin Donuts order from your GPS as you pull up to the store).

Limitations today include technology and an overwhelming public concern for privacy. I, for one, am not as concerned about publicly divulging my location as I am excited about finding deals or hidden gems in the places that I frequent. And at some point, as more businesses utilize location-based marketing, it has the potential to become overwhelming – resulting in too many offers deluging an individual and thus becoming a turn-off.

For marketers, it will be exciting to see how the LBS landscape shakes out over the next three years. Although the list of location-based social networking links provided here is extensive, it doesn’t include some important ancillary contenders such as Groupon. Astute marketers will be proactive in their embrace of LBS.

Location-Based Marketing: coming soon to a location near you……