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But Wait, There’s More, on a Smartphone Near You

In Business, Media, Opinion, Uncategorized on March 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm

From the DIH Archives. Originally published, April 24, 2012.

dih-logo-SEAccording to a recent survey by CBS News, there are more than 4.6 billion cell phones in the world and the potential for perspective mobile marketing is virtually unlimited. Experts believe that soon mobile marketing will likely become the most influential advertising medium of all time, surpassing even television.

Mobile marketing utilizes the data capabilities of smart phones, tablets and other portable devices as advertising media. The concept originated around 1999 with subscription-based text messaging services that were free to the customer but paid for by sponsors.

Since then, mobile ads have blossomed from short text message blasts to detailed ads, complete with video and sound, sent directly to the smart phones and tablets of buyers when they are closest to shelling out their cash. Sometimes the ads reach potential customers while they are standing in front of the product display in the store. Many ads encourage the viewer to scan the 2-D, block barcode in order to take advantage of special offers.

Sometimes, it can take decades for a new process like this to catch on, often failing on the drawing board. But, with the feverish demand for more and better mobile technology, the field has advanced from in novelty to practical application in only a few short years. Improvements on quality, signal, delivery and service by wireless integrators has only served to increase the response by the consumer to buy more and better smartphones and tablets.

The more devices there are in the hands of the users, the more advertising opportunities exist for business. Some estimates suggest by 2015, more than $163 billion of worldwide sales will come as a result of mobile advertising, in part because of the potential pinpoint accuracy of customer targeting.

It may seem as if advertisers are the only beneficiaries of mobile marketing, but that’s not the case. Consumers are in a unique position today to save money on products and services that they are likely to buy anyway. Often mobile advertising offers on-the-spot, and in some cases exclusive, savings directly through a smart phones – the modern equivalent of an in-store coupon.

Mail order online shopping may also be irrevocably changed by the mobile revolution. Consumers can get an ad for an item on their smart phone, touch the screen a few times, and the product is on its way to their home; quick, easy, and effortless.

For retailers, the advantage is being able to reach a more direct market, giving them more for the dollars spent. But that doesn’t mean it is cheap.

Continuous innovations in technology will require sellers to spend millions more every year just to keep up with the competition. As each company strives to outdo the others, those innovations will grow exponentially to meet the demand and the consumer will be hit broadside with an onslaught of ads on everything from cell phones to blue tooth headsets.

Even in the grocery store, we are bombarded with digital messages!

Even in the grocery store, we are bombarded with digital messages!

Avoiding such a barrage of mobile ads may be near to impossible but the best way seems to be by opting out of every possible source of marketing. For example, free applications (aps) for cell phones and tablets often require the user to be subjected to advertising – that’s how the providers pay for the free ap. Users need to carefully read each screen as the product is installed and used for the first time. Often additional options for the receipt of special offers can be declined only at that time. Once a marketing ap has entrenched itself in your mobile device, there may be no way to remove it.

As an ever increasing number of ads light up the screens of smartphones and tablets, at some point the buying public will begin tuning them out and, indeed, insisting they stop. At present, though, advertisers have their feet firmly planted in the trenches of mobile marketing and they’re not likely to change their tactics anytime soon.