SWOT analysis of mobile marketing for 2009

Mobile marketing will hold its own in 2009. But the industry will have to shout simply to be heard as marketers and advertising agencies navigate a dark economy by feeling the walls.

Several conditions apply if mobile marketing is to side with the winning team – Internet marketing – and avoid the fate of television and print advertising – guillotined budgets.

In short, mobile service providers must not hibernate, ad agencies must open their minds, carriers must collaborate, publishers must make their inventory mobile, retailers must launch mobile commerce sites and advertisers must not throw baby out with the bathwater. Here is a quick analysis of mobile marketing’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for 2009. 

Strengths
 Most personal marketing channel available on the market
 Measurable for ROI purposes
 Completely permission-based, with opt-in required for marketing text messages
 Ubiquity of channel – 260 million mobile subscribers nationwide, 3.5 billion worldwide
 Many consumers giving up landlines for mobile
 Sales of smartphones with Internet capability booming
 Many marketers, retailers and publishers recognizing need for mobile presence
 Most powerful loyalty marketing tool
 Ideal comparison-shopping tool for shopping and buying decisions
 Mobile applications market growing by leaps and bounds
 The future of couponing
 The future of search marketing. Google and Yahoo know that

Weaknesses
 Perception problem – always the bridesmaid, never the bride
 User experience with the Internet on mobile not ideal – screen size, keypad and slow network speeds
 Why not regular HTML browsers like the Safari on the Apple iPhone?
 Wireless carriers not innovating at faster pace
 Lack of standards across platforms and carriers
 Many mobile marketing service providers not sophisticated in marketing outreach – don’t tell, won’t sell
 Fate depends on four major carriers – AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel
 Inadequate outreach to advertising agencies and media buyers

Opportunities
 Gives legs to other channels – store, online, television, radio, print and billboards
 Mobile is the future – no, the present – of database marketing. Marketers must have mobile loyalty program to complement online and offline
 Benefit from marketing dollars pulled from television, print and radio toward more measurable, ROI-driven media, a.k.a., the Internet and mobile
 Mobile advertising subsidizes content and services for consumers who understand the tradeoff
 More SMS text marketing for marketers and retailers targeting offers and alerts to opted-in consumers in database. Make the short code common
 More quality content on mobile as publishers launch mobile editions. More room for targeted ads
 Mobile coupons – killer app for mobile, along with mobile database marketing
 Mobile marketing jumpstarts mobile commerce sales

Threats
 Mobile is treated as experimental budget – and cut
 Mobile marketing service providers hibernate, cut marketing outreach to world – and then complain why they are ignored in media-buying decisions
 Associations representing mobile marketers’ interests remain on bended knee to carriers. Not good
 Carriers increase commercial SMS delivery fees to opted-in subscribers. Will kill legitimate SMS marketing
 Funding for mobile service providers and mobile marketing firms dries up
 A carrier goes belly-up
 Legislation to enforce consumer protection on privacy, security, unsolicited messages, location-based ads, misleading advertising and children
 Ad agencies think mobile marketing is too complicated, thus delaying inclusion in multichannel marketing campaigns
 Sales of smartphones with Internet capability stall
 Upgrades to higher-price data plans slow down
 Barack Obama really gives up his BlackBerry

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