Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mobile Marketing - The Future is Now (Finally...)

My career has really been focused on ecommerce pretty much since the halcyon days of its invention by Al Gore. I’ve launched and grown two major websites (both now doing over $100MM in annual sales each), been responsible for the revenue performance of a dozen others, and driven performance via channels like natural search, paid search, email, affiliates, portals, social media, and others. And during all of this time, the warning has been raised to web marketers to be prepared because the combination of mobile phones and ecommerce is just around the corner. It’s been stated so much that the mantra sounds like “wolf” is getting cried yet again.

However, that’s not the case anymore.

Mobile phones have added massive amounts of sophistication, including speed (both bandwidth and processing), GPS capabilities, and hosts of new applications and functionalities that are built specifically for the machines. This leap and combination of technologies has unleashed a massive set of utility that was heretofore unimaginable. And that has resulted in us finally arriving to the point where mobile marketing is now poised and ready to take commerce (both electronic and physical) to a whole new level.

Consider new applications like Foresquare (to which I’m hopelessly addicted), Goby, Around Me, Facebook’s rumored foray, and even simple map applications that now not only help customers find stores, but can actually deliver real-time incentives based on a potential customer’s proximity and proclivity. Consider applications that serve up price comparisons and customer reviews as the customer stands in the aisle considering a purchase. Consider all of these new functionalities injected with the momentum that social media currently offers. It boggles the mind.

Traditional ecommerce will not be going away anytime soon, just like traditional brick-and-mortar and catalog commerce will continue to survive and thrive. However, as I engage with it more I’m becoming more and more professionally and personally enthralled with the concept of mobile marketing. I can see the future here; it is robust in what it will mean to businesses and consumers alike, and it is right around the corner. Personally, I’m limited on working on these opportunities as they don’t fit our business model well, but I will be pushing the envelope at work to see where I can play. In the mean time, for business owners with a physical location (or more), I’d immediately start playing with these apps. While there’s a scant amount of users right now, the same could be said about Facebook a short 3 years ago. First movers that acquire their sea legs the fastest will have a distinct advantage.

By the way, if you’re a Foursquare user, post up. I’m in need of some friends on that space.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. What's interesting on my side of business in which you wouldn't think e commerce would be relevant, is how University's are already starting to plan on how to reach/teach students via online courses taken over their phones. Seems crazy huh. Yea so did Online learning just over a decade ago and look where the University of Phoenix is. Imagine a generation of home schooler's now sitting at home taking not only prep classes but college courses through there phone. Interesting stuff. How can we make $ off of it is the question.???? I can tell you one thing. I don't want some Brain Surgeon operating on me that took online classes and surgery simulations through a cpu or phone. Call me old fashioned.


Please feel free to include any thoughts you may have. Know, however, that kiddos might be reading this, so please keep the adult language to yourself. I know, for me to ask that language is clean is a stretch...