Mobile marketing is seeing a huge boom, driven by the advances in mobile networks and smartphones, as well as consumers spending more and more time on their mobile devices. The range of technologies used is as varied as the mobile space itself, from the incumbent SMS to apps and mobile ads, with the future difficult to predict.
What we at Infobip see as certain is that SMS marketing is probably the most popular mobile marketing channel, with hundreds of millions of advertising SMS sent out every month in Europe alone, and its popularity is huge in Asia, Africa and increasingly North America.
The Mobile Monday panel held last week in London under the title, Mobile Marketing: Truth, Misconception and Wishful Thinking looked into this still amorphous segment and we were proud to be sponsors of the event. Panellist line-up included experienced mobile industry professionals Alex Meisl, Ben Scott Robinson, Ilicco Elia, Douglas McDonald, and our London-based Operator Partnerships executive Rube Huljev to discuss all the ways mobile is and isn't being used in the marketing mix today.
Understanding benefits and returns
However, the takeaway for the pragmatic listener would be that you need to be channel-agnostic, a view supported by our panellist Mr Huljev: only a carefully selected mix of marketing channels gives the right results. Mobile marketing is still outshadowed by TV and print, but that is changing as the penetration of technology continues.
To help brands make the most of it, agencies need to act as their gatekeepers, said Mr Huljev, they need to be the ones who understand mobile marketing and can communicate the benefits and returns to the clients.
Mobile operators who had the foresight to establish themselves in mobile marketing before this boom are now reaping the rewards, but their central position in the mobile value chain still gives them a viable opportunity. One of the best examples is the UK MNOs e-commerce joint venture Weve.
Despite this, Mr Huljev’s extensive experience with mobile operators leads him to believe that mobile marketing in the hands of operators is a beautiful but very challenging idea, given their track record with non-consumer clients.
Mobile marketing could save the high street shop
Some other points brought up by Mr Huljev included that mobile marketing could be the only thing that saves the high street shop, an endangered species in a shopping ecosystem dominated by malls and online shopping, complete with reviews and recommendations. When it comes to mobile payments, it can be simplified and brought closer to the user, and the UK is the best place to do it.
The audience was not shy to challenge some ideas and positions of the panellists, who were more often than not accused of pessimism and sticking to old ideas. This made for a lively interaction between the floor and the audience, with everyone coming to a common point eventually.
Of course, a networking session around some excellent Croatian wine followed the discussion atop London’s Centre Point with a beautiful view of the city. For more insights into the evening and a taste of the atmosphere, check out our live tweets at @infobip, as well as the #momolo hashtag.