Last year, Jupiter Research projected that firms would be spending up to $2.2 billion over the next four years on mobile marketing. So what's the big buzz? It's how to make mobile marketing messages relevant to the consumer and how to integrate it into the marketing mix. Seems to me that there's a lot of spaghetti being thrown on walls as marketers look for the few successful concepts that stick. Yogi Berra said it best, "This is like deja vu all over again."
Seems like there's a new agency specializing in mobile marketing springing up each week. But let's not forget about Email Service Providers - especially those providing agency services. (Full disclosure: yes, I do work for such a firm.) Email service providers have been providing insight into customer engagement for their clients over the past ten years. In my opinion, Marketing is a strategy, not a technology. Given the right strategy, the technology is irrelevant. And no technology - no matter how flashy - can rectify the wrong strategy.
I believe that email as a marketing communication channel will continue well through the next decade. Consider this: from its introduction in the summer of 2007 to the end of that year, the iPhone had captured a whopping 28% of the smartphone market by year's end. The numero-uno data function used by iPhone users? Reading email! And let's not lose site of the fact that reading email on mobile devices has been around for quite a long time thanks to the millions of devices running operating sytsems from RIM, Microsoft, Symbian, and Palm Source.
Mobile email is intriguing to me. No wait. It's REALLY intriguing to me. Consider this: people usually read their email being fettered by both a physical and a temporal constraint. The physical constraint is their computer - either tethered via a network/phone cable or at least within a Wi-fi hot spot. (Cellular modems? Oh pul-lease! WiMAX? Getting there but not yet as ubiquitous to my liking) The temporal constraint is the times of the day that they have access to their computers. Smartphones free us from the shackles of the physical and temporal constraints. People are checking their emails ANYtime and ANYwhere. (Those of you who check email while on The Throne...you know who you are!) As a brand marketer, what communication strategy could you develop if you now know that you can reach your customer anytime, any place? Would you have a different communication strategy to those who are out and about on a Tuesday afternoon versus one to those that are checking their emails at 10:00 at night after the kids are all in bed?