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Smartphone Marketing: Time to Answer the Call?

By July 8, 2010 No Comments

You can’t open a newspaper or view a website these days without reading about smartphones. They’re the media’s current technology golden child so it’s important that those involved in marketing become acquainted with the potential uses of this technology.

Consider this:  in June, 2010, Android-based phones were being activated through wireless carriers at a rate of 160,000 per day, according to Google (developers of the Android platform). In its first three days, Apple sold 1.7 million iPhone 4s. Yet for now, Blackberrys still hold a larger market share than either Androids or iPhones.

Marketers follow crowds, and this smartphone-carrying crowd (over 45 million in the U.S. as of February 2010, and no doubt significantly more today) has quickly become a force.

From a marketer’s point of view, smartphones present a wealth of opportunity to interact with (and provide value to) customers. The power of connecting with customers right when they need you and right where they are just can’t be overlooked. This opportunity isn’t lost on technology-savvy marketers.

Hotel chains have deployed mobile-friendly websites and smartphone apps so their clients can check availabilities and then make or change reservations from their phone. Restaurants and pubs are encouraging the use of social meet-up tools like FourSquare by providing discounts to users who “check in” to their location (and thus bring their friends in) the most often.

B2Bs and businesses selling products or services that are less social by nature will also find great marketing opportunities via smartphones. These companies often use contextual ads that can be displayed on Google’s web-based Gmail. Then there are the barcode-like QR codes that can be distributed on business cards or flyers. When consumers scan the codes with their smartphone cameras, they may be directed to a website or provided with downloadable marketing or tech documents.

Smartphone marketing is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. But any organization that considers their digital marketing to be key to their marketing plan should gain at least a basic understanding of this quickly growing market, so they’ll be ready to put this new technology/communications tool to work.