10 Things You Need To Know About Mobile Marketing
1. Voice-activated mobile search and ad-supported directory assistance on the voice channel have a lot of potential on a platform where mobile Web and video get all the hype. Both Google and Microsoft are pursuing speech recognition solutions to the mobile interface problem.
2. In early 2008, Apple finally will open its famously closed iPhone deck to third-party developers. Expect an explosion of creative mobile solutions and interfaces that may not touch a large share of mobile customers directly, but will inspire innovation.
3. Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), the graphical version of SMS text messaging, represents a rich visual and animated palette that marketers have leveraged overseas for years. If U.S. marketers and media don't push carriers to finally make this platform as interoperable (and thus successful) as SMS across their networks, they are missing an opportunity to move mobile forward.
4. Media brands are getting tired of waiting for carriers to get their acts together when it comes to on-deck advertising policies. They have begun jockeying for position on the tiny deck. Direct-to-consumer is an idea whose time has come. More big media are doing an end run around the carriers by launching mobile Web sites that are accessible from any data-capable phone. 2008 will be the year of D2C. Carriers? We don't need no stinking carriers.
5. The most popular mobile data format by far is SMS, and many of those are text alerts and opt-in messages from news organizations. SMS ad networks are growing. Dynamically serving short text ads and links into these messages started slowly in 2007, but comes into 2008 with impressive response rates and a massive potential inventory.
6. Attracting more than 1.25 million unique visitors a month to its off-deck movie video site in less than a year, MyWaves has become a bellwether for the explosion in D2C video. The iTunes-like system pushes to phones most of the same video shows and podcasts you can get on an iPod or iPhone, but it streams them over the air and into most WAP browsers. Mobile video becomes cheap, easy and accessible to consumers and marketers. No carriers--no kidding.
7. Pricey, over-air mobile music did not pan out for carriers in 2007, but no one wants to let go of the dream of using handsets to sell and promote music beyond a flattening ringtone market. In 2008, this is the platform that will pull the record industry into the inevitable: ad-supported music downloads. A recent study found that two-thirds of consumers prefer that model for phones, and carriers and labels will have no choice but to follow.
8. The January auction of the 700 MHz spectrum may be the priciest in history, as Google and others bid up a band that the FCC has declared will have open-access rules. Winners must let third-party equipment access some block of their wireless band, which opens the door for an unimaginable number of wireless business models. Let the games begin and the startups pour in.
9. There will be a lot of chatter in 2008 about the QR Code, the two-dimensional visual bar code made popular in Japan, but years away from U.S. ubiquity. Phones scan a unique UPC-like stamp on any real-world object to pull in more information or offers. Hold a phone up to a movie poster, and get a trailer, movie times or even tickets. The prospect of making the physical world this interactive (even transactive) is too delicious to ignore. But we need a standard.
10. Resistance is futile. Touchscreens, saner interfaces, widgets, integrated deck applications, better e-mail and Web experiences--all will have a place on the many new phones that will try to emulate the lessons of the iPhone while their makers deny that this is what they are doing. Suck it up and admit it: The iPhone changed everything.