Mobile marketing has finally arrived

Russell Buckley

We have been talking about mobile marketing for nearly a decade and there has certainly been activity in this space for about seven years, but with the exception of 'SMS pull responses' it has not yet hit the mainstream or delivered on its theoretical promise.

The first forays into the mobile marketing channel were via push SMS alerts. Marketers figured that if you could send the right message to the right person at the right time (and in some instances, in the right place too), this would be a highly effective call to action.

But there are three issues with this approach:

  1. First, outbound SMS are expensive in relation to the response generated. For example, let us take the famous and largely fictitious Starbucks scenario that everyone talks about. If I pass a Starbucks and they send me a mobile coupon, it costs approximately 10p to send. That means that for a high response rate of 10%, each redemption would cost £1, just to cover delivery costs. If you do the maths, you can see why these types of campaign are too expensive for many mainstream brands to consider – even for those who might be best positioned to take advantage of impulse consumer spending.