There are more than 212 million cell phones in the U.S. (that’s two out of every three Americans according to Pew Research) and over 34.6 million mobile Internet users as of June 2006, according to the “U.S. Device Census Report for Q2 2006″ from Telephia (http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/060830-115725, August 30, 2006). The growing user base and the technological maturation of this medium deliver validation to the mobile phone and, as a result, marketers are making the move to monetize the mobile platform. Mobile ad spend is expected to climb to $11.35 billion worldwide by 2011, according to research firm and conference organizer Informa Telecoms & Media (http://uk.biz.yahoo.com/06092006/325/mobile-ad-spending-set-jump.html, September 7, 2006).
With companies sprinting (no pun intended) to launch a mobile campaign, it is critical that they assess their options before jumping in. Why is that the case? Getting it right is crucial. The mobile phone is, after all, personal – it is the one device that a consumer carries everywhere, all the time. It is possible that those who take the approach of delivering non-intrusive and relevant content may realize tremendous success. Those who take a more flippant tact can damage their brand permanently. So what choices do marketers have?