Mobile Marketing

And what IS it?

Mobile marketing is just marketing using a mobile device, such as a smartphone. It can provide customers with personalised information promoting goods, services, and ideas. With GPS technology, this information can be targeted to a specific location, at a specific time.

And with the UK market for it set to grow by 90% this year, you’ll need to learn how to use mobile marketing effectively.

Some tips:

SMS (Short Message Service) 

The humble text message can kick off a mobile marketing campaign. At a basic level, this could be a blanket broadcast (“Buy My Brand – It’s Good!”) to all the contacts in your Phone Book.

The problem with this?

Like those leaflets through your letter box, uncalled-for text messages can be interpreted as spam – and spam’s not good. For this reason, subscribers should be given the option to receive promotional SMS, or not. e.g. A consumer may opt out at any time by texting the word STOP.

Getting the Word Out 

So, assuming you have a host of willing recipients, you can use dedicated software to deliver your message. SMS Mobile Marketing Pro lets you organise delivery and reception of SMS text messages with keywords. You can create SMS information services, to send newsletters or other types of information. You can also create identifiers for discount coupons, invitations, or prizes and send them in SMS text messages.

SMS Mobile Marketing Pro costs $108 for a single licence or alternatively, you could subscribe to a hosted service like Text Marketer or ExactTarget. Whatever the case, it’s better to use software to manage your campaigns as it will automate the process and increase office productivity. 

Short Codes

Short codes are 5 or 6 digit numbers assigned by all the mobile operators in a given country for use by brands, campaigns, and other consumer services. Due to their high price ($500–$1000 a month), many small businesses opt to share a short code, to reduce costs.

Brands have begun to treat the short code as a mobile domain name, which consumers can text to gain access on the move. The benefits of short codes are pretty self-explanatory, as they are easier to remember than standard phone numbers. After all, how many of us know our own mobile number these days without looking at our phones?

Long Numbers

SMS can be received on long numbers (international number format, e.g. +44 7624 805000 or US number format, e.g. 757 772 8555). They can be used instead of short codes or premium-rate short messages in product promotions and campaigns. Long numbers are internationally available, and enable your business to have its own number, rather than a shared one.

MMS (Multimedia Message Service)

Nearly all new phones produced with a colour screen are capable of sending and receiving standard MMS messages. MMS mobile marketing can contain a timed slideshow of images, text, audio and video.

For example, Nike PhotoID lets mobile phone owners send pictures to the company, and order a pair of trainers based on the main colours featured in the shots.

ChaCha (one of the largest free answering services) is moving into advertising and content distribution via MMS. Consumers receive content, ads, or images from brands after asking a question. While waiting for the answer, the consumer will have the option to opt-in to ads or not.

Brands using the platform will be able to:

  • Send coupon images, complete with barcodes, to consumers
  • Launch rich media content, including video
  • Use barcodes within their coupons for instant redemption
  • Message information about contests
  • Classify users by location, handset type or interests

Your Mobile-Friendly Website

Web forms can be used to integrate with mobile texting sources for reminders about meetings, seminars and other important events. QR codes allow a customer to visit a web address by scanning a 2D image with their phone’s camera, instead of manually entering a URL.

Small devices like a smartphone or tablet don’t take kindly to desktop website format. Even big players like Google and Yahoo! have realised this. However, this is something that has been recognised in the design community and it’s now starting to be addressed. Either use a professional to design the functionality of the site, or get specific training, Adobe Illustrator Training for graphics, CSS training for layouts and so on. Make sure your site is fully usable for mobile!

The Mobile Marketing Association provides a set of guidelines and standards for mobile advertising on the Web. They give the recommended format of ads, presentation, and metrics you can use.

Mobile Ad Networks

There are 3 types of ad networks available:

1.    Blind Networks: The largest in terms of publishers, and advertisers. Sadly, they don’t allow you to choose the websites where your ads are displayed.

2.    Premium Blind Networks: These offer blind or semi-blind targeting. They may also have options to buy search and display ads and/or specific spots on sites of your choice.

3.    Premium Networks: The big guns. If you’re Gucci or Next, this is for you.

Google Adwords is a great place to start for the smaller business advertiser. It lets you target users within a certain radius of your location


Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver recently launched an app – Jamie’s 20-minute meals – through software agency Zolmo.

The product (from their paid-for apps products list; £4.99) allows consumers to “shake” their phone to receive a quick, simple recipe. They can then pop into a shop to buy the ingredients for it, on their way home.

It’s likely that we’ll see an increase in this as the discipline evolves and with popularity growing for augmented reality apps, that can do everything from help with the shopping to interact with digital signage, it can only get better.

Some Do’s and Don’ts


Think interactive. Show, don’t tell.  Create experiences and tools that do something.


Blanket message customers if they have trusted you with their details. Sounds funny, but resist the urge to oversell.


Use GPS, and the power of location. Deliver the right message, at the right time, in the right place.


Underestimate the value of a simple SMS campaign. Texts aren’t yesterday’s news.


Think about “pull messaging”. You might give consumers the option to text “deal” in return for your latest offers. Then, using GPS, that offer can be accompanied by directions to your nearest outlet.


Think of mobile in isolation. It should be part of an integrated marketing strategy including traditional methods.


Offer your mobile contacts a way to opt out of receiving messages, such as sending the word “stop”.


Miss out on the chance to let mobile marketing work, for you!

Mobile marketing isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that continues to grow at an astonishing rate. Overall, a marketing plan that includes mobile will beat the competition but it’s not for all businesses. It’s necessary to ensure that you have the right resources and are fully aware of the legalities before taking the plunge.

However, when used well, it can substantially help your business to reach a whole new audience, one that carries the potential for a sale in their pocket at all times.