In some of my recent blog articles, I have discussed the growth of mobile marketing as it relates to the boom in SmartPhone sales. This tremendous growth has provided an opportunity for businesses to look toward mobile users as a source of potential revenue by promoting their company to this burgeoning user base. There are a number of opportunities for businesses to make a splash in the mobile market no matter how big or small. A neighborhood pizzeria can benefit from a local marketing campaign targeting mobile users who rely on their phones to find restaurants while “on the go”, think Google Maps and Yahoo Local Maps. This is an obvious case of how local marketing and mobile phones work hand in hand for local businesses. But even the big players are jumping in head first (and dollars first) into the mobile market.
Verizon Wireless recently signed a deal with the NFL to be their official wireless sponsor to the tune of $720 million dollars over the next 4 years! That’s a significant investment (and endorsement) which speaks volumes to how Verizon sees the future of mobile marketing. Prior to signing the deal, I imagine Verizon crunched the numbers on how they can recoup the investment in partnering with the biggest sport in the US. It is a major deal for Verizon, one which they were able to land while competing with Sprint for the title of “Official Wireless Sponsor of the NFL”. Verizon Wireless operates the largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving more than 91 million customers, and now those customers have access to exclusive content from the NFL on their mobile phones. Who would have thought 5 or 10 years ago, you would be able to watch highlights of the NFL on your cell phone?
John Stratton, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Verizon Wireless spoke of the deal, “For Verizon Wireless, it is NFL content delivered over our 3G network so football fans can extend the excitement of the sport long after the last touchdown of a season. And the NFL content is customizable in that consumers have options from video to ringtones to alerts; the choice is theirs.” This quote gives you a glimpse of how Verizon sees this deal as a way to increase not only their brand, but drive future revenues from mobile users who have an insatiable appetite for everything cutting edge.
About a year ago (March 2009), I wrote a blog about the increasing trend of people purchasing “Smart Phones” and how that can impact local advertisers. The statistics were staggering with regard to the sheer volume of people using their cell phone to browse the internet and complete search queries. At the time of my blog article “More than one out of every six American homes (17.5%) had only wireless telephones during the first half of 2008, an increase of 1.7 percentage points since the second half of 2007. In addition, more than one out of every eight American homes (13.3%) received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones despite having a landline telephone in the home.”, according to the report from CDC’s Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition, according to a recent comScore report at the time of my March 2009 blog, “the number of people using their mobile device to access news and information on the Internet more than doubled from January 2008 to January 2009. Among the audience of 63.2 million people who accessed news and information on their mobile devices in January 2009, 22.4 million (35 percent) did so daily; more than double the size of the audience last year.”
Well, it seems the trend is continuing upward. Google Search was the top mobile property in December 2009, with nearly 28 million unique visitors, followed by Yahoo Mail, at 23.2 million, and Facebook, with 18.8 million. Rounding out the top five were Gmail, with monthly traffic of 17.6 million, and Weather Channel, at 13.8 million, according to recent research from The Nielsen Company.
Given these large numbers, as a business owner, are you comfortable with what people see when they visit your site from a mobile device? If you’ve looked at your site recently using a smart phone or other mobile device (unless you already have a mobile website) odds are you will not be pleased. Regular websites, no matter how great they look, when viewed from a PC do not look the same when viewed from a mobile device. In fact, some devices (even the smart ones) cannot read websites unless the website is created specifically for mobile visitors. I own a Palm Treo Pro, and it has the capability to view any website with its built in browser, but I can tell you its almost impossible to navigate (or get any information) from sites that are not “mobile ready”. The amount of text and images that take up the screen is so large that by the time I scroll vertically or horizontally, the page needs to reload and by then my patience is worn out.
Think about this as you plan out your marketing strategy for 2010. With increasing numbers, people are using their cell phones to access the internet and visit websites. Be sure you include in your marketing plan to account for these visitors and provide them with a user-friendly and accessible version of your website.