When looking at the promise of new media channels, many marketers still seem to fall back on the square-peg-round-hole routine. They attempt to force-fit tired, old ad models into next generation marketing opportunities that demand new approaches and, in doing so, alienate consumers and deliver questionable results for their companies. You know probably already know what this looks like -- fake corporate blogs instead of proper and personalized blogger relations, MySpace homepage takeovers instead of direct engagement with consumer community leaders, the build-it-and-they-won't-come brand islands that many companies built in Second Life a couple of years ago, mobile banners and unsolicited SMS messages instead of value-oriented branded mobile utilities. You get the picture.
And so with the carriers and mobile ad networks repeatedly declaring each successive year the "Year of Mobile," and most marketers struggling to understand how that can possibly be the case while simultaneously fearing that they're missing out on something, ekit CEO John Diamond points a finger at some current and emergent mobile marketing practices -- and predicts that mobile will get worse (much worse) before it gets better. To my knowledge John isn't a marketer by trade, but he should know a thing or two about the global mobile marketplace. His company provides international devices and services for travelers and recently launched a Travel Journal service that let's travelers easily track and share their whereabouts and experiences using a combination of a blog-like web platform, mobile technologies and geolocation. Travel Journal is supported with opt-in, geo-specific advertising. He could be part of the problem -- but instead seems to want to help marketers get it right, beginning with his list of 10 Mobile Marketing Predictions.
In truth, John's 10 points are less about predicting the future and more about painting some likely worst case scenarios for how marketers will abuse common mobile technologies like SMS and GPS to interrupt and alienate consumers. It's mostly a list of 10 things not to do and, for better or worse (ok - just for worse), many of his points ring true.
Give them a glance and let me know what you think. Does John get it right? As a marketer, what are you doing in mobile to counter some of the downsides John explores in his list?
2) Mobile spam will be much more annoying than all of that email and blog spam. Mobile spam feels much more personal.
3) Marketers will learn their lessons about message relevance in reverse... most likely after the fact. There will be many examples of what not to do.
4) Mobile communications will be significantly cheaper for consumers willing to receive marketing messages. For example: free TV on your cellphone...
5) Consumers will revolt against being tracked by GPS, particularly if there is no clear opt in/opt out option for tracking and receiving messages.
6) Tracked consumers will have their profiles sold to marketers. Angry consumers will rally together and form class actions against such practices, and mobile marketing regulations will be enacted.
7) Media stories will name companies that spammed and tracked their customers, smearing the names of those companies and turning away potential customers.
8) Mobile spam filtering software will be a necessity. It could be a new evenue stream for telcos or offered as part of a bundled service. This will be a major service differentiator and major driver for switching carriers.
9) Mobile marketing will shift its focus from text messaging to mobile web with slick offers, presentation and relevance.
10) Mobile messaging will have to become more relevant given the limited real estate and high irritation factor.