Mobile Marketing: A Balancing Act

When it comes to mobile marketing, the number of fish in the sea is disproportionate to the size of the net being used to catch them. Jupiter Research finds that although cell phones today have a 76 percent penetration rate, only 22 percent of online advertisers are currently developing and deploying mobile marketing campaigns. A new study from Jupiter, "Mobile Marketing: The Carrier's Path to the Pot of Gold," finds that marketers and mobile carriers stand to benefit from an increase in SMS campaigns, digital advertising, and short code response. Jupiter argues that carriers must strike a balance between appealing to companies by enabling them to reach consumers through cell phones, while keeping their own customers' personal information secure and trust alive. Mobile marketing in a high-tech environment will become more attractive to marketers as the adoption of rich media devices goes up and the cost for digital advertising goes down. Additionally, the report finds that interactive marketing budgets are increasing for emerging technologies like mobile. Julie Ask, research director with Jupiter Research and author of the report, says, "There isn't a lot of experience yet, so as [display advertising] becomes more mainstream, it'll take less time. They will be able to reuse assets." Consumers receiving the message are much less excited about the prospect of a mobile marketing explosion; however, attitudes toward cell phone marketing appear to be softening. The report finds that in 2005, 42 percent of consumers said that they would never want to receive commercial text messages under any circumstance. This percentage lowered to 38 percent in 2006. Likewise, 12 percent of consumers in 2005 only wanted to receive opt-in text messages. Eight percent reported this restriction in 2006. Although consumers appear to be seeing more benefit in commercial SMS, Jupiter advises that carriers must tread lightly in this area. Ask writes in the report, "Carriers must resist any temptation to open up their networks for broadcast messaging from advertisers." Any kind of outreach consumers view as invasive will often be blamed on the carrier rather than the company from whence it came. The study explores various methods of growing advertiser income without losing customer trust. The report argues, "Wireless carriers should continue to leverage integrated campaigns with media entities to raise consumer awareness of the media as a marketing channel." The report finds media connected initiatives to be more effective than a carriers' attempt to trade services for personal information. Eighty percent of all cell phone users say that no free offer such as free digital content, ring tones, games for cell phones, or wall paper would persuade them to trade information, such as age, gender, or zip code. With an upsurge in cell phone marketing, carriers have the potential of greatly increasing both their bottom line and their customers' attrition. The report argues that the wise path is to go ahead with marketing efforts while staying sensitive to consumer preferences. "Display advertising offers an interesting opportunity for carriers on their own portals, but they must abide by the same best practices and guidelines as other advertisers." Related articles:
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