The year of mobile that wasn’t

Well, it’s pretty clear that we had another false start this year. 2011 was supposed to be the year of mobile (as was the previous five years).  I guess it was for a select group of vendors and advertisers, especially those that capitalized on all the testing going on. In general, however, it still hasn’t lived up to the promise. Mobile marketing is coming, we all know it and can feel it. The question is when? If you’re watching it every day, it can seem  like a long time; however, in the scheme of things it’s going to be upon us before we know it.

Listening to the devil on my right shoulder –

1)      QR Codes – QR codes were the latest shiny object, with the promise of marrying the real world with virtual. So far, promise not fulfilled. Not so much because of the technology but because of the content that’s displayed. Too many crappy experiences from consumers and it suddenly ends up on the trash heap of marketing ideas.

2)      All the hype, that’s what’s wrong. I can’t count how many times I’ve read and heard mind boggling mobile stats. After a while, they just go in one ear and out the other. Remember the good old days when companies like The Globe and Geocities were going to rule the world? I do and I also remember that sinking feeling as my stock portfolio disappeared.  Burnt once, forever a skeptic.

3)      The right message to the right person at the right time and right place –  Again, more mumbo jumbo that sounds good but still doesn’t mean anything. You can’t send messages to people at the right time and right place without their permission, so fuh-get about it.

4)      Mobile ad exchanges are just hampered by the difficulty of tracking conversions through mobile phones.

Ok, now that I’m done ranting I think it’s time to listen to the angel on my left shoulder.

1)    SMS Text reaches the majority of people with mobile devices; whether smart or dumb. Not only that, when you receive one you open it. The challenge is getting folks to opt in to receive text messages, which is usually accomplished through a loyalty program or special offer exclusive to loyalty club members delivered via:

a. Point of Sale

b. Business Website Optins like

c. Social Media – Facebook Business Page/Twitter/Linkedin

d. Email Marketing Blasts

e. Current Business phone# databases

f. Advertising online or offline / Text Sweepstakes

For marketers, whether or not this will be useful really depends on your business model;  B2C, restaurants, tattoo shops, real estate agents etc. are some of those that are capitalizing.

2)      Phones are getting more intelligent, screen sizes are also growing and technology is evolving.  iPads and Kindles give mobile users a near desktop experience.

3)      Apps have become a proven model, not only for driving revenue (ad supported or fee); but also as a way of extending your company’s brand; as long as you can break through the clutter.  Marketers have a clear opportunity with in-app advertising: Millions of consumers want a free product and are willing to view ads in exchange for it. Those ads often spur higher click rates than online banners, but they must be relevant and avoid being overly disruptive.

4)      Here’s a great article the reveals how rapidly smartphone users are adopting mobile shopping.

5) If it wasn’t the year of mobile for you it certainly was stellar for Google

So what does this mean for mobile marketing? It means that what we know now is only the tip of the iceberg. Over the next five to 10 years the whole world can change.  It’s really damn exciting!!

As a marketer continue to get your feet wet with mobile. Try it out, get involved, get to know the players the media agencies, the creative agencies etc.  Now’s the time to be laying that foundation, as you never know when the year of mobile will actually happen.

Jon Lisbin About the author
No Comments

Leave a Comment: