Week 3 – Becoming a Key Communication Channel

20 02 2011

The use of mobile phones began nearly 40 years ago in 1973 when Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola introduced the first handheld mobile phone weighing 2 kg, somewhat surreal if we compare it to our modern day Smartphone. Rapid development in technology has influenced mobile phones to now be seen as one of the most lucrative platforms for marketers to reach their target audience.

There is much evidence to say that 2011 is going to be a promising year for the adoption of mobile marketing as one of the key communication platform for organisations.

This year’s ‘Mobile World Congress’ received a record number of visitors with more than 60,000 visits from 200 countries.

Additionally, according to the ‘Association of National Advertisers’ and ‘Mobile Marketing Association’, in 2011:

  • 88% of client-side marketers say they will utilize mobile marketing.
  • 75% of marketers plan to increase expenditure on mobile marketing projects by an average of 59% versus 2010.

Although mobile marketing is rapidly improving, there is much debate as to whether mobile marketing could be even more advanced in terms of the audience breadth it reaches.

In June 2010, AT & T adapted its pricing strategy by introducing tiered pricing to eliminate its unlimited data plan. According to the Sue Rudd, director of tariff and revenue strategies for Strategy Analytics, Newton Center, MA, strategy analytics projection suggest that that potential expansion of the Smartphone market will be jeopardised because of the tiered pricing. Projections showed that if unlimited messaging and video content was provided to all users, 3.2 million more users would exists as opposed to 500 thousand.

However, on the other hand the tiered pricing will work in favour of marketers as it will provide them with a better understanding of target consumers, identifying their mobile usage patterns based on their price tier.

Challenges facing marketers

For companies operating in developed countries only, challenges are likely to be less likely in comparison to multinational companies that do business in developing countries where technology is less advanced.

For example, Zimbabwe is a difficult county to market within as communication channels are state or privately who are generally obliged to allow international investment. In terms of mobile marketing in such a country, it is unlikely to be feasible as sufficient resources are non-existent. Electricity is limited and mobile phone usage is particularly low, meaning reaching consumer through mobile marketing is not suitable.

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