March 25, 2010, 12:00 AM

Consumers are warming to the idea of mobile marketing messages

A study of 1,003 consumers who use mobile phones found 45% might be willing to receive promotions such as coupons or discounts via mobile if they could specify what they receive. 11% said without qualification they would like to receive such messages.

Mobile commerce and mobile marketing have been growing by leaps and bounds in the last two years. Ready or not, online marketers need to understand the basics of the mobile channel in order to know what they are or are not missing.

“Mounting evidence points to a broadening awareness that mobile will soon become a necessary way to engage with customers and prospects. Eventually, mobile will take its place as an integral part of marketing solutions, just as digital has become essential to nearly all marketing efforts,” says ABI Research, an emerging technologies research and consulting firm, in a new study entitled “Mobile Market Strategies: Is Your Brand Ready to Engage Mobile Consumers?”

The study, including a February survey of 1,003 consumers who use mobile phones, found consumers are warming to the idea of receiving marketing messages on their mobile devices. In February, 45% said they might be willing to receive promotions such as coupons or discounts via mobile if they could specify what they receive, up from 36% in December 2008. 11% would like to receive promotions, down slightly from 13% in December 2008. 33% said they would be willing to receive mobile promotions if the promotions made their mobile service less expensive, compared with 27% in the last survey. And 25% said they are opposed to mobile promotions, down from 31%.

When it comes to other types of mobile messages consumers would like to receive, two retail-oriented alerts stand out. 39% of survey respondents said they would like to receive customer service alerts and 36% would like order status alerts. These compare with appointment reminders at 46%, location-based safety alerts at 44%, personalized travel alerts at 36%, and local news and sports at 22%.

“Many marketers lack the experience, tools and insights to bring their messages to mobile consumers. As a young medium, mobile presents challenges that can seem daunting: fragmented advertising solutions, a complex array of handset types and networks, and wary customers,” the study says. “To succeed with mobile, marketers need to have clear objectives, a solid understanding of how their customers use mobile devices, an overarching strategy for mobile, and then execute with appropriate technologies and metrics.”

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