Mobility took the stage this morning at the AlwaysOn Media conference in New York City. Panelists tried to tackle the question of the third screen: Will consumers respond to mobile ads? How can marketers capitalize on such a small space? Are cell phones too personal a space to hit with marketing messages?
The panelists agreed that a couple of factors will contibute to the success of mobile marketing. The first is the personal connection consumers have with their cell phones. While this personal connection can open a marketer to potential danger -- especially if their campaign isn't relevant. But, if the marketing campaign is relevant and targeted, the mobile channel can be even more effective than the contextually targeted Web.The second factor is location. If marketers can access location, then they can even further target their efforts.
The third factor is novelty and affinity. Mobile marketing is new and despite the fact that cell phones have been mainstream for the last ten years, consumers continue to love their phones and feel an affinity with their devices.
Attendees expressed cynicism about all this mobile hype. One questioner in particular drilled down on the issue of carriers and their walled gardens. I have heard this kind of hype for the last six years and I too am more than a little cynical when it comes to mobile marketing. Content providers and handset makers have been promising that the mobile walled garden would come down for the last six years. The walled garden is still up.
We've been hearing about location for the same period of time. I can still hear a conference presentation about the hypothetical consumer who walks past a Starbucks and receives a geo-targeted mobile coupon for a latte. I first heard that pitch in 2000. It's 2007, and I have yet to get a mobile coupon for a latte.
If the walled garden finally does start to come down this year, maybe we can all look forward to getting a $1 off our next latte.