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Mobile Marketing 101

Everything I have heard this year from folks that "know" says that virtual worlds and mobile are the next two big things.  Let’s talk about mobile.  Time Warner is doing it and doing it well.  In an interview at Marketing Sherpa, they offer a number of thoughts, including 10 practical how to tips, on doing mobile right (limited time access).  Here were my five take-aways:

  1. Understand what you offer that would be good in a mobile environment.  At the top of Time Warner’s list:

    • What’s happening right now, such as news, weather and sports scores
    • Ringtones, wallpaper and other items that brand the mobile experience as your own
    • Time-killer entertainment features, including games, video, photos and fun lists
  2. There are a lot of devices out there.Time Warner tests regularly on 3 dozen devices. Make sure you budget for that.
  3. All vendors are not alike.  You might (likely) need a different one for text messaging than you need for a WAP or mobile site.  Make sure they can help you with things like discoverability of your content.
  4. Integrate your mobile offering with the rest of your brand.  Make sure you use all channels at your disposal to market it.
  5. Remember your customer’s environment.  Mobile users are often in a time conscious situation.  Don’t abuse their attention.

It’s a really great piece with some helpful, practical insights.  My question – who is doing mobile well in Canada?  Is there anything unique about the Canadian environment that marketers should know?  What kind of content do you get on your mobile device?
Would love to hear thoughts – whether you are consuming mobile content, or preparing it for consumption.

Photo Credit: Annie in Beziers


  1. Natasha
    Natasha October 18, 2007

    Oh man,
    From a person who purposefully avoids cell phone communication, I don’t know where to begin with 30+ devices.
    Other than BlackBerry and IPhone, what are these folks using? Is there a difference in carriers or just the fact that cell phone interfaces/UIs are different?
    Thanks for any insight any of you can provide this Luddite.

  2. Phil Barrett
    Phil Barrett October 18, 2007

    In Canada you have two choices – carriers on CDMA which is a standard developed by the U.S. Military, or GSM.
    CDMA is currently a faster network…but not well supported outsided north america. GSM is very well supported in North America.
    For those wanting the best of both worlds, buy a “world phone” which has both.
    Telus & Bell are on CDMA while Rogers & Fido are on GSM.
    The iphone is a GSM you’ll need a Rogers or Fido account to use them when they come out eventually.
    For mobile, SMS or text messaging is still the killer application and will be for a while. There were over 4 billion text messages sent in Canada last year and we’ll likely break 10 billion this year.
    Check out my blog – i discuss trends in mobile marketing and industry frequently:

  3. Brady Murphy
    Brady Murphy October 18, 2007

    These 5 points are a good place to start when considering mobile. Naturally, there’s a lot more to each topic, but a good mobile vendor can help you navigate the waters.
    One thing I’d add to the list is the issue of keywords & shortcodes. This is very important as this is how consumers connect with your brand.
    The question to ask yourself is do you go with a branded keyword on a simple, memorable shortcode or do you get your own ‘vanity’ code?
    For example, a branded keyword on a simple, memorable shortcode would be ‘text KATE to 111222’. Most mobile vendors will have a roster of general use shortcodes you can use. This can keep costs down and allow you to build & launch programs more quickly.
    The other option would be have a branded or vanity shortcode. For example, 272396 (BRADYM). The key is whether or not your vanity code will be easy to remember & and easy to enter. You want something that sticks in people’s minds to encourage multiple interactions, word of mouth and brand/program recall.
    If you get your own shortcode, you have to decide whether it will be standard rated (messaging costs the same as peer to peer) or premium rated (charge $.99/message for example). Is your content worth the extra charge? How will your target customers react to an additional barrier to entry? In my opinion no brand should even think of charging a premium for consumers to interact with them.
    If you want to get your own shortcode you’ll have to submit an application to the CWTA. You’ll need to build that into your work-back, but your mobile vendor can help you navigate the application/approval process.

  4. Barry Welford
    Barry Welford October 18, 2007

    I believe the market demand is there and will massively outpace the desktop Internet world in a year or two. It’s clearly very challenging with the multiplicity of device types but the effort will be highly rewarded. The major hurdle is Rogers’ accountant-based pricing for data transmission, which throttles the development of the mobile web. They are acting against their own best interests and that of Canada’s mobile web industry.

  5. Kate Trgovac
    Kate Trgovac October 18, 2007

    Hi, Natasha .. There are a number of versions of PDAs that people can use. I have a Palm that has Wifi that I can get email and other content on. I think it sometimes gets confusing (and I do this myself) whether we talk about mobile content for small screens (so any small screen) or just “cell phone” content – delivered across networks like Phil describes.
    Phil .. excellent summary. Thank you. Your blog looks fantastic especially for anyone trying to get a handle on this space. We may need to see more of you around One Degree!
    Brady .. Ah, the shortcode. Thank you! I’ve heard they are being snapped up and being “squatted” – like domains. Any truth to that?
    Barry .. I couldn’t agree more. We published a piece a week or so about with some of the cell phone data rate stats for Canada and the rest of the world. Outrageous. How can we allow one company to stifle innovation like that? The states suffers from a similar problem, though not as extreme. I was in San Jose last week and the data transmission cost issue came up for US marketers as well.
    Thanks for all the great comments!

  6. Brady Murphy
    Brady Murphy October 19, 2007

    Hey Kate,
    You won’t find much ‘shortcode squatting’. It’s cost-prohibitive and the CWTA & carriers are pretty thorough in their application review process.
    However, dotMobi domains are being snapped up.

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