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Next Generation Mobile Marketing - a challenging channel

Mobile marketing presents many opportunities, but big issues remain...

Mobile technologies are creating enormous opportunities for marketer engagement with customers and prospects anywhere and at any time. In effect, mobile marketing neutralizes the strictures of time and place that encumber more traditional marketing channels.

Mobile marketing is one of the most powerful tools we have in our marketing arsenal today... it has the reach of television, the addressability of direct mail, and the immediacy of location.

And the smartphone is the only multimedia device that consumers carry around with them all day.

The on-the-go lifestyles of today's consumers make them harder than ever to reach. But new ways to reach target audiences are evolving to stand up to the challenge. In particular, mobile penetration is growing rapidly.

At an all-India household level - penetration of TV has grown from 54% (Q3 2010) to 56% (Q3 2011)... while penetration of mobile handsets has grown from 25% (Q3 2010) to 32% (Q3 2011)!

With such market penetration, "always-on-always-with-you" mobile devices present marketers with new advertising opportunities.

Besides their unprecedented reach, mobiles represent an exemplary medium for direct-response advertising by allowing advertisers to elicit an immediate and direct consumer response. Direct marketing is most effective when it is possible to accurately track effectiveness and thereby justify the investment in its services-a benefit that becomes more important in light of recent pressures on marketers to be financially accountable.

But as promising as the mobile channel may be, marketers face a number of challenges that must be resolved if they are to realize its full potential.

Cookies are not universal across mobile devices and not always compatible with operating systems and platforms currently in place. The fragmentation between operating systems, browsers, and mobile devices is another hurdle in the establishment of consumer privacy standards and best
  practices, especially as it relates to the application ecosystem, while the smaller screens of mobile devices make adopting online notification solutions - difficult.

Buying a banner ad on a mobile site or game is not mobile marketing.

Many marketers do not understand that mobile devices have the same functionality as a website, with the added benefit that they're with consumers all the time. Those that do understand this... are truly integrated - have apps, websites, and messages that reconcile in near real-time.

At WOW-O-WOW - we deploy a very simple methodology - which is to follow the consumer... since marketers become relevant when they engage with consumers in the manner in which they (consumers) use technology.

While short message service (SMS) advertising has received considerable attention... Bluetooth-enabled advertising is emerging as an effective tool.

Bluetooth mobile technology offers marketers a unique opportunity to reach people in location-specific areas with rich content, but without the cost and complexity of the mobile networks' SMS and multimedia message service (MMS) technology.

Any user of a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device can instantly receive such rich content as video, graphics, text, sound, ringtones, wallpaper, and software. Specifically amongst young consumers... there are high levels acceptability disposition... to accept advertising enabled by Bluetooth technology.

Bluetooth has a number of attractive technological benefits. It can be incorporated into a range of devices, including mobile phones, laptops, and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Bluetooth requires no fixed infrastructure and is easy for companies to utilize in their marketing communications.

In addition, Bluetooth has a number of advantages over SMS. Although mobile phone networks offer the latter on a cost-per-message basis, Bluetooth transfer is free of cost for both the transmitter and recipient. Furthermore, SMS does not support pictures. MMS, which can deliver multimedia files, is costly and is not supported by all mobile phones and/or networks.

Another limitation faced by SMS/MMS is that they do not recognise the user's location.

As only Bluetooth is a location-based advertising technology, it