The world is full of mobile phones; anyone who doesn't have one is regarded as a pariah, a troglodyte who doesn't know enough to crawl back under a rock. Even the poorest of the poor have cell phones (more often than not the latest smart phones, as they serve some sort of psychologically uplifting function). All of which means marketers have access to billions more consumers than could be reached by traditional marketing methods (print, radio, TV, billboards, etc.).
According to the Mobile Marketing Association, mobile marketing can be defined as "a set of practices that enables organisations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network". Mobile devices and networks include any desktop computer with internet access, laptops and mobile phones.
Mobile marketing is especially important in countries that may not be entirely first-world; where the rural population is high. In these instances, there isn't much access to television, radio and newspapers but mobile phone towers dot the landscape. But that doesn't mean mobile marketers can afford to overlook people living in bustling metropolises.
According to the October 2010 U.S. Mobile Consumer Briefing conducted on behalf of the Mobile Marketing Association, 59 per cent of mobile consumers in the US will be using their mobile phones to help them prepare for Christmas; they'll be consulting their phones for everything from gift ideas and purchases to planning parties and events. Marketers that don't have all their mobile Avenue south residence floor plan ducks in a row will miss out on a tremendous opportunity to announce their presence, boost sales and attract loyal customers.
Further evidence of the importance of a mobile marketing strategy can be found in the fact that the 64 per cent of those who intend using their phones as shopping aids stated that they would respond to marketing messages on their phones; only 12 per cent said they would respond to other forms of advertising, including the once all powerful television ad.
Also, consider that consumers use their phones to help them compare prices and locate stores and you'll start to understand just why marketers can't afford to ignore the mobile medium.
Looking beyond US borders, UK mobile phone users send approximately 11 million texts per hour, which equates to 7.7 billion texts per month. The amount of time UK consumers spend on their mobile phones provides ample opportunity for marketers to interact with their target audience.
Roughly 90 per cent of South Africa's population uses cell phones and roughly 10 - 11 million people use their cell phones to access the internet. According to Vincent Maher, co-founder of Motribe, this should be reason enough to spur marketers into the mobile field. Speaking at the Integrated Marketing Communication Conference, Maher said that mobile marketing strategies should aim to build ongoing brand loyalty and not just brand awareness.