What is 'Mobile Marketing'

Mobile marketing utilizes multiple distribution channels to promote products and services via mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones. It makes use of features of modern mobile technology, such as location services, to tailor marketing campaigns based on an individual's location. Mobile marketing is a way in which technology can be used to create personalized promotion of goods or services to a user who is constantly connected to a network. Mobile advertising is a subset of mobile marketing.

Breaking Down 'Mobile Marketing'

Mobile marketing may include promotions sent through SMS text messaging, MMS multimedia messaging, through downloaded apps using push notifications, through in-app or in-game marketing, through mobile web sites, or by using a mobile device to scan QR codes. Proximity systems and location based services can alert users based on geographic location or proximity to a service provider.

Mobile marketing an indispensable tool for companies large and small as mobile devices become ubiquitous. The key players in the space are the brands (and companies that they represent through advertising), and service providers that enable mobile advertising. Mobile advertising targets audiences not so much by demographics but by behaviors (though demography plays a part, such as the fact that iPad users tend to be older and wealthier). One notable behavior in the mobile marketing space known as "snacking," which is when mobile device users check in to media or messaging for brief periods. Such seeking of instant gratification equates to more points of contact for marketers.

In mobile marketing, the device (especially screen size) does make a difference — users of smartphones and iPad tablets react differently to mobile marketing. For example, smartphone users tend to find informative content to be the most relevant, yet iPad users tend to be captivated by interactive advertising that features rich media presentations with eye-catching imagery (the message of the content is a secondary concern).

Mobile Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

Unlike traditional marketing efforts, mobile marketing takes advantage of the fact that many users of mobile devices carry them around with them wherever they go. As a result, location-based services can collect customer data and then offer coupons, deals or promotions based on their proximity to a store or a place frequently visited by the consumer. These marketing campaigns can be more targeted and specific to the individual user, and should therefore be more effective for the company doing the marketing. One example may be a marketing campaign that sends food-related coupons to a customer any time they come within half a mile of a specific supermarket.

Mobile Marketing Concerns

There are privacy issues concerning how the data collected by mobile devices is used and whether or not companies have the right to collect such data without explicit consent. Such data can be used for identity theft or to send spam if it falls into the wrong hands due to data theft or poor security of the information. Also, the tracking of individual's locations and movements may be considered crossing the line by some.

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