A Whole New World

A few short weeks ago, I was asked to rank the effectiveness of new media in marketing. One of the least effective ways, I thought, was mobile marketing. Yes, it has the alliteration working for it, but I thought that was the end. However, in the time that has passed since, I have started to view mobile marketing in a much better light.

Mobile marketing is the first completely new marketing vehicles to hit the scene in over 50 years (Ramos, 2008). This information made me reconsider my thoughts about mobile marketing. I mean – if marketers are using it, it has to have some merit, right?

Well, yes. But before I delve into that, a little background information is necessary.

I’ve mentioned before that Generation Y is hard to reach, but it seems that is

Youngsters are using cell phones very early in life!

Youngsters are using cell phones very early in life!

because marketers don’t know how to reach them. Teens have not just adopted new technology… they have internalized it (Montgomery, et al., 2004). For 78% of Gen Y, cell phones are the most popular methods of remote communication (Event Marketing Institute, 2008).

Cell phone usage even spans younger children. Approximately 35% of U.S. “tweens” (kids between the ages of 8 & 12), own a mobile phone. Five percent access the Internet on their phones each month, according to a December 2007 Neilsen Company study. Tweens are using their phones for more than just the Internet; The study also found that 20% of tweens have used text messaging, while 21% have used ringtones or ringback tones. Of the 5% of tweens who use their phones to access the Internet, 41% said they did so while commuting or traveling, while 56% did so at home. At home was also where the majority of tweens said they downloaded or watched TV on their phones (58%) or downloaded or played music on their phones (64%) (Neilsen Study, 2007).

With this information, it’s no wonder why marketers are embracing mobile marketing tactics. There are a variety of mobile marketing options.

M2M (Mobile to Mobile)

Part of American Idol's campaign

Part of American Idol's campaign

This is when marketers use mobile-based advertising to boost sales of mobile ring tones, wallpapers, games, and videos. Usually, it’s just part of a campaign, but could stand alone. It has an exceptionally high click-through-rate of over 50%.

One of the best examples of this is with American Idol and Cingular Wireless. Cingular customers had access to text chats with contestants, voting reminders, a fan club, trivia, and ring tones.

Mobile Games

Transformers Mobile Game

Transformers Mobile Game

These are games that incorporate products as the stars of a game. Users download the games to their phones, often for fees of about $3.99 – $5.99 per game. Mobile games give marketers the opportunity to “blend the brand into entertainment experience, with rich graphics, color, and action,” described Craig Holland, former president of Thumbworks (a mobile game making company (Ramos, 2008).

BlueTooth Marketing

One Company Using BlueTooth Marketing

One Company Using BlueTooth Marketing

This is probably the newest form of mobile marketing. It uses BlueTooth technology to do tings like send advertisements or coupons. Because it’s still new, there are a lot of glitches that need to be worked out. However, it wasn’t too long ago that the same thing was said about websites. BlueTooth marketing isn’t limited to just cell phones, either. Messages can be sent to BlueTooth enabled laptops and PDA’s, too!

It’s truly impressive how innovative marketers are getting in terms of reaching the youngest generation. Since we’re (myself included) almost trained to tune out traditional media, it’s absolutely necessary to embrace new ways of marketing. Otherwise, a company runs the risk of being viewed as for adults only or not interested in our purchases.

Although not exactly mainstream now, mobile marketing will eventually be as much a part of our lives as radio advertisements and television commercials.


Event Marketing Institute (2008 June 2). Event Marketing Institute Unveils New Findings on Marketing to Gen Y; New Study Highlights the Best Ways to Reach an Elusive Group That Spends More Time Texting Than Talking. Marketwire.com. Retrieved on December 15, 2008 from http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Red-7-Media-863492.html

Montgomery, K., Gottlieb-Robles, B. and Larson, G. (2004 March). Youth as E-Citizens: Engaging the Digital Generation. Center for Social Media. Retrieved on December 15, 2008 from http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/ecitizens/youthreport.pdf

Neilsen Study. (2007 December 03). Most Tweens Accessing TV, Music & Internet on their Phones, Do So at Home. PR NewsWire. Retrieved on December 15, 2008 from http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/12-03-2007/0004715443&EDATE=

Ramos, James. (2008 August 18). Lesson 5: Can You Hear Me Now? M2M, Advergaming, In-game Branding & RSS feeds. Retrieved on December 14, 2008 from https://ecampus.wvu.edu/webct/urw/lc5116001.tp0/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct


December 15, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . IMC. 3 comments.