eMarketer, in a somewhat misleading article entitled “Few Answer Mobile Marketing Call,” is reporting what most of us in the industry feel on a daily basis. Despite all the hype, all the bullish forecasts, trumped up press releases… case studies and industry events, mobile marketing is still has a long way to go as a marketing and advertising channel.
I say “somewhat misleading” because, as although the article cites MMA data that revealed only five percent of Americans reported engaging in a mobile marketing activity in 2007 (up from two percent in 2006), the response rate of such campaigns was as astronomical twelve percent. This compares well with response rates of other direct channels, such as telemarketing (7.2 – 5.6%), direct mail (2.3 – 1.2%) and email (.85 – %).
What was that again about “Few Answering the Call” of mobile campaigns?
Also highlighted in the report was the rapid growth of picture messaging in the US, due in no small part to the intercarrier MMS agreements hammered out by all major US carriers in the latter half of 2005 and early 2006. Similarly, SMS messaging didn’t really take off in the US until intercarrier text messaging was made possible in 2003. The final piece of the MMS Marketing puzzle remains the (lack of) availability of intercarrier SMS Short Codes. Currently the call to action for most MMS campaigns in the US remains an akward email point of entry – awkward because most non-smartphone users have difficulty multi-tapping out the “@” sign. In a statement accompanying the MMA study, Gene Keenan, Vice President of Mobile at Isobar and former traveling chef to the Grateful Dead, indicated he is also bullish on photo messaging-related marketing campaigns 2008, stating that he “expect[s] to see some very innovative campaigns this coming year using picture phoning.”