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Kim Dushinski

So does mobile marketing keep you up at night? Either figuring it out or being excited by the opportunities? Me too.

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MMA FORUM NEW YORK, JUNE 8 & 9
Register by April 30 for Early Registration rates!
Visit www.mobilemarketingforum.com to learn more and register today.
Member 2-day = $1095
Non-member 2-day = $1595

Join industry leaders at the annual MMA Forum in New York, as they discuss where the mobile channel is now, and more importantly, where it’s heading next. There is no doubt that in the past year, the mobile industry has grown by leaps and bounds and truly evolved. Seemingly implausible predictions from 5 years ago, promising that over a billion mobile devices will be sold annually, are a reality in 2010. For marketers, this tremendous growth raises important questions about engagement, best practices, and gauging the success of their mobile campaigns.

This is sure to be an amazing event.

The Mobile Marketing Association redefined “mobile marketing” this week at the Mobile Marketing Forum in Los Angeles. Here’s the new official definition:

“Mobile marketing is a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.”

I love the MMA’s new definition because it encompasses all the different tools of mobile marketing that are available today and those that will become available. Also, it brings up two very important concepts: communication and engagement. After all, if a mobile phone isn’t about communication we’ve really missed the boat.

But my favorite part is the word RELEVANT because unless mobile marketing is relevant to the end user it will not work. No one wants to be marketed to, but everyone likes to have relevant information available to them.

But this definition still begs the question, what is mobile marketing … exactly? What tools are available to businesses today who want to reach their customers via mobile?

Top Four Tools of Mobile Marketing

1.
Text Messaging / SMS

This is probably the most obvious tool of mobile marketing because so many people are doing text messaging – 123 million of us in the US and 3 billion of us worldwide. It is only natural that this type of communication would attract marketers.

The most common format of text messaging as a marketing tool is mobile couponing. Offering a discount or special offer via text message. But text messaging can and should be so much more than just coupons.

Alerts, text clubs, product/service information, sending mobile site links, interactive voting, contests, text-to-donate are just a sampling of the many uses of text messaging.

2.
Mobile-Friendly Websites

Over 50 million people in the US are going online with their phones and they are expecting to get websites that work on their phone. They want to find what they need quickly and easily and get back to whatever it is they were doing. The mobile web experience is not about “browsing” it is about “finding.”

If you are not sure if your company site is mobile friendly, just go to it on your mobile phone. Preferably access it from more than one type of phone so you can see how differently it works for different people based on the phone they are using.

3.
Mobile Advertising

Much the same as there is banner advertising on the desktop version of the Internet, there are also banner ads on mobile sites. Google made news recently by buying AdMob, one of the leading mobile display ad networks, and it is safe to say that mobile display (or banner) advertising will be a much more used tool in marketing now.

Additionally there is pay per click advertising which is aligned with mobile search. A consumer searching for something their phone will see search results ads showing along with the organic listings they find. Naturally, Google is a huge player in this space as well with their Google Mobile Adwords program.

4.
Mobile Email

Each day millions of people check their email on their phone. Whether the businesses sending emails to these people intended to be mobile marketing or not, they most certainly are. Once a person is communicating and engaging with you on their mobile device you are doing mobile marketing.

Every email that is sent must be easily readable on a mobile device or become so within one click. People are deluged by email and it is not likely that they will look at your email twice. If the first opportunity to see it comes on their mobile, it darn well better work because you will not get a second chance when they are on their desktop later.

If you need help with any of these mobile marketing tools I am here to help you. Check out my Mobile Marketing QuickStart, Text Messaging Module, Mobile Web Module and/or my Strategic Thought Session.

In the past week I attended two functions which turned out to be very different for one simple reason – Twitter. First up was the first annual Chicks Who Click (CWC) in Boulder on January 10th. Then I attended the Mobile Marketing Association’s Best Practices Forum (MMA) on January 13th in Denver. (See my write up about the MMA Forum here.)  Bottom line, both events were terrific and well worth my time. They just felt different.

From the moment I stepped into the room at CWC I started looking around for familiar faces. And I found them. All over the place. Ladies I had seen virtually every day in my Twitter stream. Even if I hadn’t met some of them in person I knew what they did, what their latest blog post was, what they were looking forward to about the conference.  When we met in person we started with common ground already in place. It was so much easier to work the conversation around doing business together – the ultimate goal of a networking function.

It reminded me of growing up in a small town. When you went to the grocery store you saw people you knew. Eating out at restaurants was fun because the people at the next table were your friends and neighbors.

By Twittering during the event we got to know each other even better. Throughout the whole day there was constant chatter on the hashtag #cwc09. (See it here.) This extra layer of conversation during the event made it so much richer. As people were learning and networking we were talking about it. It made it entirely possible to talk with everyone in the room and get to know people who were sitting at different tables. It made the whole day dynamic.

By contrast when I walked into the MMA room I looked for familiar faces and found only a handful. The folks I had met in real life at other functions. Of course it was great to see them but everyone else was a complete stranger. I knew nothing about anyone – where they worked, who they were. Nothing. It made walking up to someone to say “Hi” seem uncomfortable. Just like networking used to be all the time.

During the meeting we sat there listening to the presentations in our own island. No one knew what anyone else was thinking about the topic. No one was commenting about how smart the speaker was so that people who didn’t attend the conference could check out their site and make a connection. The people running the event who were trying desperately to get more feedback and input missed out on the natural flow of feedback that could have been there.

For me this is proof positive that social networking is so much more powerful than we give it credit for. It adds a layer to business that feel s like breathing when you are used to it.

If you are interested in learning more about Social Media and how to move yourself forward with this powerful set of tools, please look into the Social Media Telesummit starting next week. I am just one of dozens of great speakers and you will find your business so much more dynamic because of it.