Tuesday, December 15, 2009

MediaPost Publications 2010, The Year Of Mobile -- Finally 12/15/2009


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This post in 140 characters or less: 2010 will be the year mobile marketing finally realizes its potential according to @joemarchese http://bit.ly/4fL8V

Almost three years ago (wow, that sounds like ages ago) I wrote a column titled "2007 Mobile Advertisers Ask: Can You See Me Now?" It was fun to go back and read the 2007 piece again, and I am proud to say, I believe I was right on target predicting that despite all the promise, mobile marketing would continue to fall short of the hype. I felt pretty good about all of the reasons I listed in the 2007 column -- that, like every year before, and every year after, mobile would continue to give marketers fits.

But this year, I am ready to call it. This is it. 2010 will be the year mobile marketing begins to realize the promise marketers have imagined for so long.

What's different in 2010? The phones are smarter, the networks are faster, an open development ecosystem is leading to faster innovation, and specialty mobile agencies have built up a solid knowledge base of what works. Other than that, I guess everything is the same.

The phones are not just faster with bigger screens -- which would help all by itself -- they are more and more commonly location-aware. Even more important, phones users are aware that their phones are aware of their location.

Location awareness and faster network speeds are a huge part of why mobile is moving forward, but both would be meaningless without the third ingredient: the opening up of mobile platforms.

It's hard not to sound like just another Apple fanboy, but the iTunes App Store has already had a massive impact on the way consumers use their mobile devices. Creating an open platform for development allowed developers to create mobile experiences that add significant value to people's lives, changing the way they use their mobile devices. This opens the door to marketers to offer a value exchange, one that didn't exist for people before. This was the issue I had in 2007: sure, marketers would love to get on people's phones, but what did people get out of the deal?

There might not be a better example of the saying that any significant leap in technology is indistinguishable from magic. Yelp, Pandora, Foursquare and Google Maps apps on my phone all qualify as magic to me. For a great summary of this innovation, see "Future Of Geo-targeted Marketing, Now" by Razorfish's Garrick Schmitt.

Now, let me hedge just a little. 2010 will be the year mobile begins to realize its potential for marketers. Mobile as a platform is in the middle hyper-evolution. The ability to utilize mobile for marketing now exists, but it is evolving so fast it's hard to create best practices that are repeatable. That's what 2010 will be all about. There will be some huge success in mobile that will point everyone in the right direction.

As an aside, I am currently on the BlackBerry Storm and have been considering switching to the Droid. Any Droid users out there with thoughts? What apps are magic to you? Find me on Twitter @joemarchese (www.twitter.com/joemarchese), where I'll keep up from my mobile, and/or leave a comment on the Spin board.

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