Identifying mobile consumers

Take a moment to think about the impact that the Internet and the personal
computer have had on our society and the world. Yet, as of this writing only
25% of the global population uses the Internet, and there are only about 1 billion personal computers.
Now consider the potential impact of mobile devices. Worldwide, 4.6 billion
people subscribe to mobile services, and that number will likely increase to
5.5 billion by the end of 2010. Given that there are 6.8 billion people around
the world, we’re talking about nearly everyone on the planet. (About 2 billion or so people still don’t have a mobile device, but you can sure do a lot of
marketing with the other 5 billion!)
In the United States, comScore ( reports that around
234 million people subscribe to mobile phone services. In fact, the mobile
phone is becoming their primary phone. According to the Centers for Disease
Control, nearly 25% of the U.S. population has shut off their landline phones
and are mobile-only. (Another 15% of the U.S. has a landline phone, but really
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12 Part I: Getting Up to Speed on Mobile Marketing
don’t use it.) In addition, many of these people have multiple mobile devices.
There are more than 280 million mobile subscriptions in the U.S. (including
wireless cards for computers, e-readers, and so on).
The reach of the mobile device is staggering. Nearly everyone on the planet
can be engaged with a mobile device. In developing countries, it may be the
only way to engage someone digitally.
Your customer is mobile and you should be too. Consumers send trillions
of text messages around the world each year, view and download billions
of mobile Web pages and applications, and increasingly use their mobile
devices not just for personal communication, but also for leisure, entertainment, work, and shopping.
A number of factors play a role in a consumer effectively responding to
mobile programs, including her age, gender, ethnicity, location, the type
of phone or mobile device she has, her employment levels, education, and
more. We can’t go into all the details here, but take it from us: mobile media
is not a channel just for the youth of the world; nearly everyone is using one
or more of the various mobile media paths discussed throughout this book in
one way, shape, or form. In fact, according to a Microsoft Advertising Mobile
Consumer Usage study, the mobile device is the third-most-used media,
coming just behind television and computers.
Exploring the types of mobile devices
When most people think about mobile marketing, the first thing that comes to
their mind is a mobile phone. It’s easy to look at a mobile phone and think, “It’s
just a phone,” and minimize all the rich capabilities that today’s mobile phones
have. It’s also easy to disregard the other mobile devices (like the Apple iPad
or iTouch, PlayStation Portable game terminals, e-books, and GPS devices)
that people carry with them as not being pertinent for mobile marketing.
The device in your hand isn’t really just a phone anymore. Sure, you can make
voice calls with it, but that function is just the tip of the iceberg. Today’s
mobile devices are also newspapers, maps, cameras, radios, stores, game
consoles, video music players, calculators, calendars, address books, stereos,
TVs, movie theaters, and concert halls.
For the purposes of mobile marketing, and the content of this book, you
should be familiar with three categories of devices:
✓ The feature phone: The feature phone (see Figure 1-1) is the most
common phone out in the market. As of June 2010, about 75% of the
phones carried in the U.S. are feature phones. These phones run a realtime operating system (RTOS), which is a closed operating system — one
in which you can’t make modifications such as adding functionality to
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Chapter 1: Unveiling the Possibilities of Mobile Marketing 13
a mobile browser or changing the user experience on the phone. There
are two common RTOSs: a home-grown Nucleus OS created by the
mobile phone’s manufacturer, and Qualcomm’s Brew (which is predominantly used by Verizon Wireless in the United States). Understanding
the capability of the feature phone is important to you because it means
you will be limited to engaging these consumers with SMS, MMS, voice,
and limited mobile Internet.
✓ The smartphone: The smartphone (see Figure 1-2) is a mobile device
that integrates mobile phone capabilities with the more common features typically associated with a personal computer, including Internet,
applications, e-mail, entertainment, and rich media services. Moreover,
smartphones increasingly include location, motion and related sensors,
touchscreens, and full keyboards. Smartphones are categorized by the
operating system they use. The top smartphone operating systems
(OS) are the Apple iPhone, Google Android, Microsoft Windows Phone,
Research in Motion BlackBerry, HP Palm, Samsung Baba, Nokia Symbian,
and Linux-based operating systems such as the MeeGo, which is used
in Nokia high-end phones. Smartphones account for approximately 25%
of the U.S. market today. Nielsen expects that by the end of 2011, nearly
50% of consumers will be carrying a smartphone. More and more people
will have smartphones and be able to surf the Internet, use e-mail, and
download applications, but even by the end of 2011, a significant portion
of consumers will still be carrying feature phones, so you’ll want to cater
to their needs and phone capabilities too.
Keep in mind that it’s really easy to get caught up in the hype of a particular manufacturer’s marketing. For example, for all the attention it
attracts, the iPhone accounts for only 5% of the U.S. market. (See
Table 1-1.)
Figure 1-1:
are the
most common type
of phone
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14 Part I: Getting Up to Speed on Mobile Marketing
Figure 1-2:
25% of the
market and
have more
than feature
✓ Connected device: The connected device category is the industry catchall term for all non-phone, mobile-enabled devices. In other words, it’s
a device that leverages mobile networks, but is primarily not a phone.
This includes tablet computers (Apple iPad, Cisco Cius, HP Slate),
e-readers (Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook), portable gaming
devices (PlayStation Portable), and so on.
Table 1-1 Smartphone Device Penetration
in the United States (comScore, 2010)
Percentage of Smart
Phone Market
of Total
Users (in
Research in Motion
42 8 9
Apple 25 5 11
Microsoft 15 3 7
Palm 5 1 2
Google 9 2 4
Throughout this book, we interchangeably use the terms mobile phone, mobile
device, and phone. Keep in mind that we’re covering all the device categories
no matter what term we use.

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