This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
The mobile phone represents the most pervasive channel of communications and targeted engagement on the planet, with more than 5 billion users globally. As smartphones already account for more than 30 percent of the market, users are rapidly migrating to smarter devices and increasingly utilizing their phones for social media engagement. There will be some 800 million users of mobile social networking worldwide by 2012, according to eMarketer (News - Alert).
The mobile channel is an unprecedented opportunity to reach both developed consumer markets in new an intrusive way, and developing regions that cater to a previously untapped, unreachable, and unbanked mass of humanity. An estimated 2.5 billion adults (more than half of the world’s adult population) do not use any form of formal financial services, yet about 70 percent of all people on the planet use a cell phone.
In the developed world, today’s consumer is bombarded with more communications through a broader range of channels than ever before. Both marketers and consumers are beckoning for new digital, mobile touch points that can bring individualized value to billions of readers, responders, and recurring shoppers. Some 44 percent of consumers would rather receive product information and marketing messages through SMS than any other channel.
In developing countries, marketers face the opposite phenomenon in which much of the world’s potential shoppers and decision makers heretofore have had no avenue of access. Yet with this population in particular, the mobile phone craze has firmly taken hold. In India, more than 20 million cell phone accounts are opened every month, accounting for nearly 600 million mobile users in that country alone. African cell phone use increased six fold between 1999 and 2008.
To get a better handle on the issues, challenges, and opportunities that companies face in trying to tap into this global mobile channel, our organization, The Chief Marketing Officer Council is teaming with the Mobile Marketing Association (News - Alert) to benchmark and explore where and how companies are embracing the new discipline of mobile relationship marketing to stay closer, more connected and available to their customers. The new industry research initiative, dubbed "Engage at Every Stage: Using MRM to Put More Interaction in the Hands of the Customer” will look at new MRM strategies, platforms, applications and best practices and how they are helping brand marketers increase customer contact and conversation, form mobile social communities, motivate and reward buying or referral behavior, deliver just-in-time deals and incentives, as well prompt usage, consumption or purchase.
Derek Kober is a senior vice president with the CMO Council (www.cmocouncil.org).
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi