The rapid adoption of smart phones is exploding the boundaries that have traditionally divided email and mobile marketing. While these devices were once primarily business tools, the Nielsen Company recently reported that more consumers than ever are using smartphones, with a remarkable 72 percent increase in the number of owners between Q2 2008 and Q2 2009.
Mobile phones already outnumber personal computers by 4 to 1, according to UK.-based mobile consultancy Wireless Expertise; and with the massive popularity of Apple's iPhone (and its competitors rushing to catch up technologically), soon more people will be accessing email from their handhelds than from any other platform. This represents nothing less than a sea change -- and a major opportunity -- for marketers.
Until now, organizations have been hamstrung in their ability to market effectively on mobile devices. SMS, which simplifies communication to a short amount of plain text, had been the only option. Mobile email marketing became a possibility once smartphones hit the market, but popular devices like the Blackberry and Palm also reduced messages to text-only. The iPhone, and competing products on the way, will create a new and exciting playground for email to assert itself on mobile devices. Web-worthy graphics and functionality will make email the mobile communication method of choice for businesses and consumers alike. Companies currently sending SMS can transition from programs that carry along per-message fees for their organization and their customers, while also providing a much richer and interactive experience.
Mobile email marketing promises to help brands build closer relationships with customers, but it needs to be executed smartly -- email marketing on the phone is much different than on the PC. Here are the top five complexities introduced by mobile email marketing, and my advice for what you can do to ensure your campaigns hit the mark with your smartphone savvy customers.
Jordan Cohen is senior director of marketing and public relations at Pivotal Veracity.
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