Mobile marketing to make a mark this year

MUMBAI: The year 2005 is projected to be a breakout year for mobile marketing, with spending spiking from virtually nothing to millions in pilot investments.

However, there will be a short period of disenchantment with wireless among the global marketing community in 2007.



Market research firm Research and Markets has come up with the report Mobile Marketing and M-Commerce: Global Spending And Trends.

The reasons for the disenchantment will be similar to the disappointment that accompanied the dotcom boom in the late 1990s. While many advertisers and companies threw money at the Internet only some succeeded in getting healthy returns.



This year spending on mobile is expected to spike from virtually nothing to millions in pilot investments. Though that sounds suspiciously like the online advertising hype of the 1990s Research and Markets notes that the Internet is now key to the marketing and sales strategies for most global companies.



The company is confident about the fact that wireless represents the next frontier. The report is aimed at helping industry people understand what is just beyond the horizon by constructing three potential scenarios that plot spending growth for wireless advertising and marketing over the next five years.

At this point in time, in percentage terms, wireless advertising is at roughly the same level relative to interactive advertising that online advertising was in relation to traditional ad spending in the mid-to-late 1990s.

Although spending on mobile will continue to climb, growth rates will dip briefly in 2007 before resuming upward momentum as the medium grows to maturity toward the end of the decade.

Mobile surpasses Internet reach in the US

Meanwhile Enpocket, a global mobile media company, has unveiled the latest findings from its flagship survey, the Mobile Media Monitor.

This quarterly study helps marketers keep up with the ever-changing patterns of consumer mobile phone usage.

US mobile phone adoption has grown by 25 per cent in the last nine months. Sixty five per cent of the population is now ‘mobile’. For the first time this is higher than the number of home Internet users (63 per cent).

Although voice communication is the main reason for using the phone, data and multimedia services are capturing the imagination and becoming a key usage driver. For example, almost 40 per cent of mobile owners are now regularly sending and receiving text messages.

But it is with picture messaging / MMS, text messaging’s younger and better-looking brother, where the most interesting movement has occurred over the last quarter. Twenty-two per cent of respondents took a photo with their camera phone and 12 per cent sent/ received MMS in the same period.

This represents an increase of 57 per cent for camera phone use in just 3 months, and 33 per cent increase in MMS use in the same period. This strongly suggests that the 2004-2005 holiday season saw significant purchase and gifting of camera phones.

Amid this market movement, a youth-led trend is emerging. 18-34 year olds are embracing non-voice services more than the whole base – effectively becoming mobile super users.

Thirty-four per cent used their camera phone and 21 per cent sent/ received an MMS. This segment also shows the greatest desire for enhanced cell phone services and are most likely to personalise their handsets with ringtone downloads.

While the US market is still playing catch-up with Europe in terms of penetration, it is as ‘market ready’ for next generation enhanced services and applications.

Video calling, music downloads, sports highlights, watching movie trailers and, especially picture sharing applications all have broad appeal, and have a natural home on the handset.

Meanwhile, another report notes that there are countless ways for an advertisers to segment a customer group on the mobile platform. For instance, a chemical company might notify its farming customers when to spray their crops according to the climate and weather of particular geographical pockets, and afterward, remind them to order more product.

A pharmacy can send SMS messages to senior citizens when they need to refill their prescriptions. CNet in the US already notifies consumers when the electronic items they want drop in price.

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