What Is Mobile Marketing?

Steven Levine

You may have heard of the term mobile marketing. So what does it mean and how does is apply to your business? Although there is no standard definition, mobile marketing basically refers to marketing on or with a mobile devise such as a cellphone.

Here are some of the different types of mobile marketing and their applications.

Services like text messaging and QR codes can be set up easily and inexpensively allowing you to test various campaigns and their effectiveness.

Text Messaging.Text messaging allows you to send SMS messages to a user’s cellphone. A major advantage of text messaging is that most people have their cellphones with them at all times. Unlike email marketing, text messaging will not result in messages getting lost in the clutter of an inbox or a junk/spam folder. Another advantage of text messaging is that both online businesses and brick-andmortar businesses can use it to send discount offers, promotional codes, reminders and event announcements.

Companies like Hustler, Dating Gold and Romantix have already used text messaging to help increase sales as well as to build customer loyalty and brand awareness. Text messaging can also be used to send links to a mobile site, easing the process of having to type the URL into the browser. Text messaging is a cost-effective way to reach users and has the benefit of reaching people regardless of where they are.

2D Barcodes.These are the small barcode squares that are making their way into an increasing number of print ads, billboards, business cards and other media. A 2D code allows the user to scan the code and then be redirected to a website (or preferably a mobile site) a coupon, a phone number, a special announcement, etc. 2D barcodes are perfect for advertising materials as they provide readers with a more interactive experience, suggesting that more information is available if they follow the code.

The most popular types of codes are QR (quick response) codes and Microsoft tags. To access the information, users need a camera-equipped cellphone and a scanner, which is available online for free. QR codes have started gaining a lot of traction in the U.S. companies like TitanMen and Digital Playground are incorporating them into their packaging and advertising.

Although there are some sites that will allow you to create the code for free, you will need the services of a platform provider for the reporting and analytics.

Mobile Sites/Mobile Apps.A mobile site is a website that has been optimized for viewing and navigation on a cell phone. And because of the wide variety of different phone operating systems and handsets, a mobile site ensures a good user experience. A good mobile site not only provides information, but also allows you to sign up for and/or purchase content and products. A mobile app is an application designed to run on a specific mobile device such as an iPhone, Android or Blackberry phone. These apps require you to download and install them on your phone. However, mobile apps generally have higher development costs and some argue that they are better suited for gaming, social networking, and other lifestyle type applications. There is also the issue of getting your app approved with the different app stores which can be challenging if not impossible.

Mobile Advertising.Mobile ads allow you to target mobile users by placing ads in search results, apps and videos. You can choose either text or display advertising. Mobile advertising has a greater reach than regular online advertising due to a larger mobile audience

Other Emerging Technologies.New technologies that are starting to catch on are location-based services and augmented reality. A location-based service (LBS) allows you to market to users based on their specific location and time. Augmented reality works with a cellphone’s camera to add graphics and sound in order to digitally augment the environment around you.

Services like text messaging and QR codes can be set up easily and inexpensively allowing you to test various campaigns and their effectiveness. As such, you may want to consider incorporating a mobile strategy into your traditional marketing efforts. When used properly, mobile marketing can leverage existing advertising, make your static ads interactive with a call to action and provide a more effective way of reaching your customer.

A good way to start is by examining your existing marketing strategies to see if some of them would benefit from a mobile service. Set some goals and develop a strategy to leverage your marketing. Then, you can see if mobile marketing will help your overall efforts.

Steven Levine is president of Mission Mobile, a mobile solutions company specializing in text messaging and QR codes. He can be reached at, or (310) 396-5577, ext. 115.