Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Evolution Of Mobile Marketing

Christmas came early for the Pondering Primate. I had the opportunity to visit a good friend of mine, who I feel is a true visionary.
Conversations filled with lots of "what-ifs" and "could you". Thanks Billy.

Here's the evolution that I see WILL happen with mobile marketing.

1. SMS Short Message Service, or text messages are the "in" thing for mobile marketing campaigns. They are easy to use, and all phones are compatible. Right now brands and advertisers haven't figured out how to get past free prizes as a way to utilize this application. A big problem with this remembering the short code number AND the keyword.

1.5 Using the keypad for text. This is a little early but there is another way to "text" that doesn't involve a short code. Stay tuned for details.

MMS Multimedia Messaging Services, pictures taken with camera phones. Take a picture of a logo or article and send for more info or prizes. This still isn't direct connect, but IT IS one step closer to point and click. Both SMS and MMS still require the consumer to remember either the short code (4 or 5 digit number) or email address in order to interact with the brand.

Items 3-7 fall under the category of physical world hyperlinks. That is when a some machine readable identifier is resolved and directed to a specific website or provides specific info.
In laymans terms. Instead of typing in a long website domain name (, you just type a code or click on a code and get directed to a specific path.

3. I don't really know the technical term for this, but I will call it Mobile Real Names. A few years ago, there was a company called Real Names that allowed you to type in a word in the browser window and be directed to a specific site. I think you see this application come soon.

(Microsoft was major investor in Real Names and there's a reason why they let it go under). This application is probably a WAP site or a private label browser that offers this.

There is still typing involved and NOT direct connect. Just like a retail store, the easier I make it to buy (connect)a good, the more likely I will get a sale (qualified lead).

4.2D Codes. You see them on Fedex/UPS Packages, mortage/financial documents, medical records and other documents. This is a "closed" network. A Fedex guy can't scan a UPS package and get the same info the UPS guy gets. But IT IS a direct connect with the physical item. No typing, just scanning.
See how we are getting closer to using the phone as a mouse and these "identifiers" are hyperlinks? There are numerous camera phones that are able to do this.

5. Barcode. They are everywhere. Pick up any packaged good, CD, or just about anything in your house it has one. There are over 3b unique barcodes out there. Image these barcodes as websites.
You may see the number 015628373820, but there are companies that can hyperlink that barcode and direct a mobile phone browser to That is direct connect and an OPEN network. No typing, just point and click. We are getting closer to this application, but not many brands see the value with this YET.

6. Images. There will a time when you can click on a Coke logo, or picture of a book cover and be directed to a speciific website. The database for that will be enormous, and the cameras on the phone will have to improve. I imagine there will be a market for this, but the work involved will be too cumbersome for massive adoption. A machine readable identifier will suffice.

7. RFID Radio Frequency Identification. Let's call it the barcode on steroids. You will just have to wave your mobile near the product and be directed to a specific website. No typing, no picture taking...this will be as direct connect as you can get. Nokia and Motorola are designing phones that will be able to read RFID tags.

Maybe you didn't realize this, but the farther down you go on the list, starting with 2, the less you have to rely on a search engine for info. Google relies on 90% plus of their revenues from advertisers. What happens when brands don't need Google in order to communicate with consumers?

If I'm Coke, soon I will have BILLIONS of my website in millions of locations. It kind of makes buying keywords from Google seem primitive doesn't it? Pun intended.

So I ask you brand or advertiser, "where are you on this list?". If you're not on this list, why not?


Anonymous said...

Great Article! - Please keep them coming!!! Hope you enjoyed your sunny trip.

Anonymous said...

Basically u talking about the same thing u talked before, creating real world hyperlink. But to your praise, u have added potentail of multiple hyperlinks for same object. That is great. Post something new about news. I guess they are slowing down too..

Doing good job, keep it up..(Plz post more news too).

Morgan said...

I think this isa great article and really shows the endless possibilities that mobile marketing has. I have been arguing for some time now that this medium will someday surpass the Internet in terms of advertising effectiveness and I think you hjave illustrated exactly how that can happen. The Internet is still a great place for advertsisng as it engages consumers when they are actively seeking more information. The mobile phone is a super extension of this behavior as it allows advertisers to communicate with their customers anywhere at anytime. Afterall, who leaves home without their cell phone? Not me, but I have been seen without my laptop from time to time.

Anonymous said...

Great article, you're on top of your game!

Scott Shaffer said...

Here are some stats.

700m PCs, and 2b mobile devices.

Just think that there will be 2b NEW browsers and 2b NEW search engines that will be needed to connect the physical world.

The screen isn't big enough to sell sponsored links from Google, so how will advertising reach this new medium.

I know how.

Anonymous said...

Based on "the picture" the internet is not the only "thing"
going thru a metamorphosis.

Scott Shaffer said...

I hope you're right.

Good observation.