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Mobile Marketing Undervalued by UK Brands

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Ronan Shields, mobile expert at New Media Age, wrote an excellent article last week about how major brands are missing out on the opportuinity that mobile marketing presents. The main thrust of the article was that media agencies are failing their clients by refusing to buy into the effeciveness of mobile marketing.

The argument was supported by some pretty compelling evidence. At a recent event, the IAB and DMA released research that suggested that over 50% of people would be happy to receive sms alerts from companies that they already had a relationship with.

The article then went on to identify a few of the barriers to entry for accessing millions of mobile users by SMS, such as the lack of opt in data available and the disjointed nature of the data owners. Ronan suggested that there might be a way for all of the networks to work together to form some kind of single point, where marketers could access targeted mobile data from one place.

While it’s an interesting idea, I think it totally misses the point. The reason why mobile markeing is so responsive is that we are not all sent endless promotional text alerts (I hesitate to use the word spam.) The crucial point is that consumers would be happy to receive sms alerts “from a brand they already have a relationship with”. Had the question been, “would you like to receive sms alerts from companies who have purchased your mobile number and would like to send you offers?” then I suspect the response would have been quite different.

The proliferation of mobile lists that are available for marketers to purchase, will cause enormous problems. Delivery and response rates will drop, spam filters will be introduced, blocking messages from anyone that is not in the mobile’s address book and the whole channel will be dogged with the same problems that email has.

Mobile marketing works. It won’t continue to work if we wreck it.


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