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DMC: There is No Such Thing as Mobile Marketing in Canada

Steve Levy, President of Market Research in Eastern Canada for IPSOS Reid, declared at this week’s CMA digital marketing conference that there is no mobile marketing in Canada. According to their research, 27% of Canadian marketers agree that mobile marketing will be very important in the future with 9% indicating they are practicing it now. Steve indicated he didn’t know how anybody could actually be doing mobile marketing now as Canadian carriers don’t yet support it.
I had an opportunity to speak with Steve after his presentation and suggested that his definition of Mobile Marketing was likely different from the 9% practicing it in Canada today.
He pointed out that when he walks by a retail outlet he doesn’t get coupons or messaging sent to his mobile device – which is how he defines mobile marketing. His definition really refers to location based services (LBS) or sometimes referred to as location based messaging (LBM). LBS / LBM does work in Canada across all carriers for those with built-in GPS in their devices (like the Blackberry 8800), but all the examples I’ve worked with require you to download a supporting application to your mobile device to make it work. Related to this are QR Codes (or Quick Response Codes) which are already rampant in other countries. Oh, another interesting stat from the Ipsos-Reid survey, 29% of marketers believe that QR Codes will be a part of many campaigns in the next three years. I’ll cover more on LBS & QR Codes in an upcoming article.
Mobile Marketing is more than LBS and QR Codes, although it is true that the future of Mobile Marketing could revolve around them.
Mobile Marketing is about creating conversations and creating engagement with audiences through the Mobile channel. Put another way, mobile marketing is about amplifying branded events, extending product or service experiences and extending the reach of a campaign which may already include TV, print, web, and email.
When I give an overview of Mobile Marketing to our clients, I tend to break it out into four channels:
1) SMS (or text messaging) & MMS
2) Downloading (ringtones, video & images) & Applications
3) Mobile Web
4) Mobile advertising
Of course others may define or categorize the mobile channel a bit differently, but I’ve found that using this approach can bring clarity and focus to your conversations. Over the coming weeks, I’ll provide my point of view of how to leverage each of these channels into your marketing mix. This year’s CMA conference had its moments, but I’m looking forward to next year’s conference where I’m expecting a location based message to be delivered from centre stage.
If you’re doing mobile marketing in Canada, we’d love to hear from you at One Degree! Got a great case study to share? Talk to us!


  1. mose
    mose October 31, 2007

    Mobile Marketing…yeppers!!!!
    Everyone talks about it all the time.
    Everyone thinks everyone else is doing it.
    Almost no one is really doing it.
    The few who are doing it are:
    – Doing it poorly.
    – Sure it will be better next time.
    – Not practicing it safely.
    – Everyone’s bragging about their successes all the time, although very few have actually had any.

  2. Chris
    Chris November 13, 2007

    So, in essence, you define mobile marketing as an unsolicited attempt to engage the consumer through a “mobile channel”.
    Did anyone wonder whether consumers (wireless subscribers) want unsolicited “engagements” through their mobile device? Or is this really about money?
    All I can say is when this happens, another market will emerge strictly for the purpose of blocking these ads. Similar to what they do for web browsers and TV commercials.
    I can’t even imagine what I would get on my phone if I walked by a XXX store.

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