What Is Up With Mobile Marketing? Trendy Fad? Buzz? Here to Stay?


Mobile marketing combines technology and technique to create a new way of marketing that has both come into existence and made prodigious advancements at an astounding pace.

It’s no fad, it’s here to stay, and constantly evolving.

The term “mobile commerce” was coined in 1997 by Kevin Duffey at the launch of the Global Mobile Commerce Forum to mean the delivery of electronic commerce capabilities directly into the consumer’s hand, anywhere, via wireless technology. So, we are talking about a phenomenon that barely existed twenty years ago and now occupies the mind of every serious digital marketer in the world.

What was the technology at the core of the mobile marketing explosion? Mobile phones got the ball rolling. Mobile marketing has become a multi-channel online marketing technique focused on reaching specific audiences on, or about, their smartphones, feature phones, tablets, or any other related devices through websites, E-mail, SMS and MMS, social media, or mobile applications.

Current estimates on the number of worldwide mobile phone users vary up to 5 billion and more. According to statista.com, the number of ‘smartphone’ users, worldwide, went from1.06 a billion to 3.8 billion between the beginning of the year 2012 and the end of 2021.

Yes, within the past ten years, smartphone use, worldwide, has more than tripled!

And, though the trend is for smartphone sales to level off, we are still talking, easily, hundreds of millions of new users every year for the next few years.

Every user is a prospect, not for just the phone technology itself, but, potentially, for all the products and services now conveniently made available through it. Skillfully done, mobile marketing provides customers and prospects using smartphones with personalized, time- and location-sensitive information so that they can get what they need when and where they need it, even if they’re on the go.

As the number of mobile device users has increased, so have the quantity and the quality of the hardware and software tools available to facilitate it. Currently, these would include 5G, EDGE, GPRS, Wi-Fi, SMS, GPS, and USSD. Ways of doing business and marketing have tremendously evolved as rapidly as advancements in hardware.

The pool of prospects keeps trending up and grows larger all the time. In 2018, the average US adult spent 3 hours and 43 minutes on their mobile devices. That is the same year that the average time spent on mobile devices exceeded the average time spent watching TV. eMarketer, April 2019.

The mobile phone is now part of the ubiquitous wallpaper of our lives. We spend a lot of time on it, and most folks could not give an accurate estimate of exactly how that time is spent. According to an in-depth study by CodeComputerLove, the top four things US adults spend time doing on it are, in order of time spent: messaging friends and family, browsing social media, looking at the news, listening to music, with online shopping coming in fifth, and “productive” activities way down the line from there.

Kids can set the trends and the pace. Since the beginning of the pandemic. kids aged zero to 17, have doubled the amount of time they spend on their mobile devices every day. eMarketer, June 2020.

Mobile device users have simply found it more convenient to shop online. Location-based services using GPS or Google Maps have aided businesses in creating consumers’ awareness, interest, desire, and action. Mobile marketing still has plenty of growth potential as technological development never stops.

What platforms are trending for what uses?

Dave Kerpen, the author of “Likable Social Media”, recommends these (and other) currently trending platforms and techniques for mobile marketing:

Instagram: Bringing vibrancy and life to your brand through photos.

TUMBLR: For reaching specific targets, expanding content, strengthening relationships.

FOURSQUARE: Location-based marketing for “the utility, engagement, and delight of… users.”

Use to increase traffic in brick & mortar stores with direct, location-based appeals to both customers

and influential drivers of incremental foot traffic.

Any number of the hundreds of small highly specialized social networks for connecting to smaller, more specific targets.

Some current mobile marketing opportunities:

  • Target by location: Reach users based on their current location and/or user visitation patterns to particular places
  • Target by audience: Reach users based on their visitation behaviors and custom audience groups
  • Target by weather: Reach users based on the weather conditions in their current location
  • Target users of your app.
  • Target by device mobile, desktop, laptop.

Mobile marketing. Companies are doing it because it works.