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Common resources for getting started with mobile marketing

Mickey Alam Khan from Mobile Marketer recently reported in an editorial, "Mobile site is easy first step to demystifying mobile," his experience at moderating two panels at the November ad:tech conference in New York.

After reading his article I felt it necessary to start answering the many questions he raised and to begin drawing links to all the data that is readily available to help marketers embrace the mobile channel and its use for marketing.

Linking questions with resources
In his article, Mickey summarizes how ad:tech delegates showed a thirst for better understanding mobile marketing and how they can use it.

According to Mickey, the delegates had many questions. The following is a summary of a few of the areas Mickey said people were interested in.

Along with each of these areas I have listed resources that can help you with shedding some light into each area of interest.

â?¢ The mobile ecosystem
Resource: See the strategic mobile marketing ecosystem overview at

â?¢ Common short codes and how they work
Resource: See the U.S. Short Codes Administration (, or Understanding the Common Short Code: Its Use, Administration, and Tactical Elements article (

â?¢ Definitions
Resource: See the Mobile Marketing Association glossary of terms at

â?¢ Mobile advertising (e.g. click-through rates, CPM rates, how ads are tracked)
Resource: Try contacting the leading mobile ad networks including JumpTap (, Millennial Media (, AOL Third Screen Media (, Ringleader Digital ( and AdMob (

â?¢ Technical stuff, such as do cookies work
Resource: They do not work on most phones, but Ringleader Digital recently announced they have an offering to help address cookie management (see story)

â?¢ Mobile and where it fits within the multichannel mix
Resource: Jeannette Kocsis, vice president of digital practice at Harte-Hanks, recently gave a presentation on this topic at the DMA08 Annual Conference. Contact me if you would like to get details on Jeannette's talk and the two-day workshop on mobile marketing

â?¢ Mobile marketing budgeting
Resource: See Mobile Marketing Budgeting: A Look at Mobile Marketing Cost Centers and Timelines article at

â?¢ Best practice and regulations
Resources: There are a number of resources. See Mobile Marketing Association policy and guidelines, such as the code of conduct (, consumer best practices ( and advertising guidelines (

There are so many other resources readily available. All you need to do is ask.

Where do marketers begin?
In addition to those questions above, Mickey points out that people want to know where they should begin, i.e., how should they get started with mobile marketing.

The first step in starting your journey with mobile marketing is to realize that mobile marketing is not in any way divorced from the practice of marketing.

Mobile marketing is the practice of marketing through and with the mobile channel for the purpose for delivering, communicating and exchanging value with your audience (see "Weaving the mobile into marketing: mobile marketing defined" at

The key to successful mobile marketing is not to start with the premise "I want to launch a great mobile program," but rather to start with the premise "I want to launch a great marketing program that offers value to my audiences and meets both theirs and my objectives."

By starting with your audience in mind, theirs and your needs, you can then determine if 1) mobile marketing makes sense for your program, 2) which mobile path (SMS, MMS, mobile Internet, et cetera) make sense to use, and 3) how you will go about mobile enhancing your traditional and new media channels with your mobile call-to-actions to start developing your opt-in database for current and existing programs.

Exactly how to address these three points is fodder for a future article.

In addition to starting with the right focus, you really should start experimenting with mobile marketing right now.

Start with a mobile Web site
Mickey suggests that you start out by developing a mobile Web site for your business. This is not a bad idea.

As Mickey points out, and I agree, many will tell you that the mobile Internet is not ready for mass-market programs yet. And they would be right.

For example, only about 18 percent of mobile subscribers are actively using the mobile Internet today.

However, as phones capabilities increase, data plans mature and consumers get exposed to the value of untethered information access, the use of the mobile Internet is surely going to grow.

So, as Mickey points out, start developing your mobile Internet presence now so that when the market really takes off, you will be ready.

You can work with any number of different companies to get started, including iLoop Mobile (, Starcut (, Crisp Wireless ( and others.

A great source of information to learn about the mobile Internet is, a wonderful site produced and managed by dotMobi.

One point I disagree with Mickey on, however, is the putting off of your launching text messaging programs, rather than launching them now.

Text messaging, and voice/instant voice response (IVR) programs, the two mass-market applicable mobile marketing channels, are perfect for many engagements.

These channels are extremely accessible, do not need to be expensive and can generate great results.
Just look at what the Obama for America campaign accomplished with text messaging.

With text and voice services you can run quizzes, polls, sweepstakes, couponing, customer care and so many other programs. Don't wait to launch text programs. Get engaged now.

Getting the word out
Finally, Mickey makes a call to the industry.

He says that we need to make the mobile channel more accessible, to communicate the value more clearly, that more mainstream events, programs and media should be using and leveraging the mobile channel to get the word out on how to employ the mobile channel for marketing.

In short, Mickey is looking for industry marketers outside of the mobile-industry cocoon to be exposed to this wonderfully engaging and interactive channel.

I would like to report that that this process has already begun. Ad:tech is a mainstream marketing channel and it is offering mobile panels.

You will also find articles and workshops offered by the American Marketing Association (, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (, the Association of National Advertisers (, the Direct Marketing Association (, the Interactive Marketing Bureau ( and others.

Recently, John A. Greco Jr., president/CEO of the DMA, gave a keynote at DMA08, the DMA's annual event held last month in Las Vegas.

In his talk, John recognized that mobile marketing is one of the highest growth-rate practices for direct marketing. See the full transcript of John's talk at

What I find exciting about John's talk, however, is that it is not just rhetoric, but rather the DMA is putting its words to action.

In 2008 the DMA put on mobile seminars, Webinars, published a mobile marketing research study, "Mobile Marketing: Consumer Perspectives" ( as well as mobile-enhanced a number of its events, including the DM Days New York show (June 2008) and the DMA08 annual conference (October 2008).

Between these two events the DMA offered:
â?¢ mobile marketing seminars
â?¢ a two-day intensive mobile marketing workshop (12 hours of education), organized and moderated by yours truly
â?¢ mobile Web sites for both shows
â?¢ text alert services
â?¢ text-to-screen services during keynote talks
â?¢ IVR wakeup call services
â?¢ a mobile concierge service where delegates could text into the show's information center to receive answers to pressing questions, such as "What time does the trade show end?" or "Where's a great place to get a steak in Vegas," from show personnel manning the information booth
â?¢ a Mobile Marketing HotSpot, a pavilion on the trade show floor manned by leading players from the industry such as DotMobi, iLoop Mobile, NeuStar and Mobile Marketer

In addition to the above, we must not forget that the Mobile Marketing Association continues to put on industry leading events throughout the world.

This week the MMA is holding a number of events in San Diego.

In addition to its fall Mobile Marketing Forum event and awards dinner on Nov. 13 in San Diego, the MMA along with Qualcomm today will put on a free workshop, "Mobile Marketing -- A to Zs: Getting Started in Mobile Marketing" (see

There is no time like the present to kick-start or refresh your understanding of mobile marketing. If you can make it, I highly recommend you go to these MMA events. You surely won't leave disappointed.

Getting the word out
Mobile marketing is coming of age. There is so much we can do with it today and so much more we will be able to do with it tomorrow as the practice matures and more marketers begin to adopt it.

However, if this article has to show you anything, there is enough information out there for you to start now leveraging and being successful with mobile marketing today. There is no need to wait, so get out there -- today.

Michael J. Becker is executive vice president of business development at iLoop Mobile Inc., San Jose, CA. Reach him at .