Mobile marketing.  It’s new.  Some marketers are happy to experiment while others look on with skepticism until the channel matures.  Christine Overby and Charlie Golvin helped Forum participants navigate this new channel:  they’re like peanut butter and jelly – Christine comes at mobile from the marketing side and Charlie approaches marketing from the mobile side.  Both believe that mobile is a viable marketing channel, but marketers need to embrace the warts in the mobile experience as features not shortcomings.

The crowd at the Forum, not surprisingly, is ahead of the curve in their use of mobile:  texting, mobile Internet, and applications.  But, Forrester data shows that only a third of mobile phone owners send or receive a text message, and only 11% use the mobile Internet.  What do early adopters look like? No surprise:  they’re younger (almost 80% of 18-24 year olds use any form of messaging). Surprisingly and related to what I wrote earlier that the US was behind in their use of QR codes, use of the mobile Internet in the US and Europe is equivalent. 

How can marketers make the best use of the mechanisms available in the US today?  Mobile marketing need not be limited to emerging or cutting-edge brands – marketers like Crest used messaging to promote toothpaste. American Cancer Society utilized search marketing on mobile because their constituency needed to make decisions on the go. Mobile has the promise to be the ultimate one to one marketing tool:  it is personal and measurable.  It’s good at multiple points along the marketing funnel. But, campaigns need to be targeted to the right audience, sensitive to small screen and the personal nature of the device, and ensure that they’re creating value to encourage consumers to engage with brands. Some best practices? Go for mobile tie-ins; don’t over-engineer; adopt pragmatic targeting; embrace simplicity.