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A Mobile Opportunity

October 20, 2009

In this blog, my attention thus far has largely been focused on branding and marketing in social and online media like Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other new tools. What I haven’t yet explored are the devices used by consumers to access these new tools. The most recent U.S. Census Bureau report on internet usage showed that 62% of households reported internet access in the home. While the penetration of mobile devices is relatively low in comparison, this category is experiencing rapid growth as well. According to the Nielsen Company, “the total number of smartphone subscribers increased 72% quarter-over-quarter, growing from 15 million subscribers in Q2 2008 to 26 million in Q2 2009.”Smartphone Subscribers

Many industry experts believe mobile marketing represents a significant and somewhat yet to be realized advertising opportunity. eMarketer predicts that mobile ad spend will grow significantly over the next several years as smartphone usage expands and marketers grow more comfortable with the device as a vehicle:

eMarkters Mobile Ad Spend

While ad spend projections differ, research firm the Kelsey Group also believes the mobile ad market is set to experience substantial growth. The firm predicts the largest chunk will go to mobile search advertising, which is natural given how smartphones help consumers function on the go in their daily lives. The Kelsey Group predicts display ads to grow ever so slightly, but expects SMS use for marketing purposes to decline. (I wonder about the decline in SMS marketing particularly for teens, given text messaging dominance among this age set.)

So where do brands begin if considering mobile advertising as part of the marketing mix? Forrester Research recommends always starting with “people” – the target. “You have to start by assessing the mobile technologies your customers use.” If your consumers are mobile users, then determine your objective and strategy. And above all else, Forrester points to two key lessons: key it simple and integrate your mobile tactics with other media.

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