Consumers are ‘mobile’, mobile marketing and services follow

Yesterday I went to listen to the conference where MIP, Politecnico Business School, published the results of the research about Mobile Marketing and Services. The research was based on 200 case studies, involving all the major actors of the supply chain (advertising investors, media buyers, creative agencies, telecom operators’  and service providers) and also a survey focused on marketing directors of medium and big enterprises.

The good things are that mobile is being more pervasive and it’s starting to extend beyond the cell phone to netbooks and gaming consoles. And that over 70% of the Italian mobile users are of age between 25 and 55, so in their full spending power.’  The youngest group, 18 to 25, is just 11%; this seems to contradict the myth that mobile ads are only good to target youngers.’  I’ve also learned that location-based advertising is being held back because of privacy issues. In Italy the fact that Mario Rossi is *now* in Via Carlo Farini, Milano cannot be passed from the mobile operator to the advertiser.’  It seems that this is a grey legal area that lawyers are trying to sort out.

Strangely, Google was not present.’  I didn’t hear the word Google or Adwords connected to the mobile world. But according to the slides presented by Niumidia, 30% of the users that access TIM/Virgilio WAP portals do it to use the search.’  It seemed as if mobile web is a different thing from the desktop web. Are we so far away from having full web experience on mobile handsets that it’s too early to say goodbye to those depressing WAP portals?

I was surprised that for Dada (Vodafone) and Niumidia (TIM), mobile advertising is SMS, MMS/VMS and banners on WAP portals. They still have made no plans for mobile email. I found it strange because ‘smart phones’ are being sold in huge numbers (40M last quarter,’  27% increase since Q2) and when users get a new powerful phone they want to get their email on it.’ Am I missing something?




  1. Ah, but do users really WANT to access their emails or is it more that they want the latest phone? It would be interesting to see figures on the use of the new smart phones. I suspect that most people will be using them for calls and messages, most of the time. Or, maybe I’m so close to the top of the age-range that I’m the one missing something?

  2. My feeling, confirmed by some industry researchers, is that once you buy a really smart phone with a decent web experience, then you’ll want to have email on it. And instant messaging, like MSN and Skype, and all other social tools. The success of the iPhone and the diffusion of BlackBerry seems to indicate that some users of phones (professionals and big spenders, at least) are already browsing the web and checking their emails. Smart phones are being sold more than ‘dumb’ phones, meaning that in fairly short time there will be many terminals that support email and web+social apps. At that point sms/mms will be soooo old (and WAP is already soooo old now, I can’t believe somebody still mentions it as a media for advertising).

    Besides, I believe that sms/mms simply too annoying and intrusive to be effective: to read an ad pushed through sms you have to react to the beep, and reach to the phone. Advertising on email is a whole different story because when you get the ad you’re already looking at the screen.

    So maybe I’m wrong and it’s going to take many years still before we’ll say goodbye to SMS. Or the telecom operators are missing a huge opportunities, while Apple and Google and Nokia are getting ready to reducing them to dumb pipes (like the internet did for land lines).