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Mobile Marketing: Making A Good Connection - Millward Brown examines how marketers can harness mobile marketing to drive growth for their brands

Logo - Millward Brown Though the practice of mobile marketing is still in its infancy, the budding channel carries outsized expectations. But the ability to reach people anytime, anywhere, must be weighed carefully against the potential for irritating people and damaging brand relationships. How can marketers harness the power of this nascent medium to drive growth for their brands?

According to The Shosteck Group, the value of the global mobile advertising market could reach $10 billion by 2010. While this claim is strongly reminiscent of the overblown estimates made by the Internet advertising start-ups in 1999, advertisers don’t want to take a chance on missing the boat. Amidst the hype, major marketers are beginning to commit serious budgets to mobile marketing. While telecommunications companies led the way, pharmaceutical, fast food, automotive and consumer packaged goods companies are now climbing on board. They are all attracted by the promise of combining pinpoint targeting (of people, time and location) with the ability to extend a tangible brand encounter into a digital and interactive one.

Mobile marketing, interpreted most broadly, could describe any approach to communicating with consumers while they're on the move: all manner of electronic devices (MP3 players, PDAs, etc.), as well as more traditional media such as outdoor advertising. However, at present, the most ubiquitous outlet for mobile marketing is the mobile phone, with over 2 billion subscribers worldwide.

With penetration among young and old, rich and poor, the universe of mobile phone subscribers seems ripe for mass media applications. But techniques which succeed on television or the Internet can’t simply be transferred to the phone. On both the “first” and “second” screens, advertising grew up alongside the genre. However, advertising has come to the “third screen” at a point when it is already mature, both as a communication medium, and as an integral and personal part of people’s lives. Advertisers must tread carefully, taking into account the unique status of the mobile phone, to avoid alienating consumers and provoking a backlash.

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About the author

Nigel Hollis
Chief Global Analyst

Millward Brown