End of year reviews. Arent you sick of them? Well maybe, but we couldnt let 2005 disappear without a quick look back at some of the choice soundbites that some of the movers and shakers in the mobile marketing industry have given us in the couple of months - is that really all it is? - that weve been online.
Enjoy the quotes, and click on any of the links to see the article they are taken from.
"Mobile marketing could be phenomenally important, if you look at the penetration figures for handsets, and the passion for it. As a way of connecting with our audience, it ought to be phenomenally powerful, and through that lens, we ought to be spending 50% of our budget on it. (But) until such time as the digital platform can help us connect emotionally with consumers, in the way we can with a 30-second TV commercial, we are always going to struggle."
Coca-Cola Marketing Manager James Eadie explains why mobile marketing is important, but not yet that important, to the company.
"This is a contractual arrangement we have with all our clients, and all our clients understand that."
mBlox Marketing Communications Manager Ariela Freed explains how mBlox covers itself against being fined for any of the content it delivers on behalf of its clients, and why its client Jamba will therefore be 40 grand out of pocket, despite the fact that mBlox, not it, was fined over the Crazy Frog fiasco.
"The networks are a drag on innovation. They are unable to roll out new technologies in a synchronised fashion, so you get stepped progression of any new technology. SMS was a stepped progression to a situation where companies could easily offer a range of different services across all of the networks in the UK market. That was not achieved until July 2003."
Peter Norman founder of Wireless Information Network and Executive Director of the Mobile Data Association, on why mobile marketing has not developed as quickly as it might have.
"There are not enough (mobile agencies) with the requisite technical understanding. There are a number of them, but they tend to have to go and seek assistance from technology aggregators like WIN, and other companies, to understand the technologies and see how they can help put their ideas into action.
Norman again, on one of the other factors hampering growth.
"Mobile is a hugely exciting space to be in. The potential is enormous. If you look at paid-for services, there are something like 63 million handsets in the UK, with a population of 55 million people. Thats a staggering statistic. Most of the major brands are only just beginning to get mobile into their thinking as a customer care tool, a marketing tool or for paid for content. So while companies like WIN have seen dramatic growth over the last three or four years, there is an awful lot more growth to go after."
And for a third time, Norman on why, despite the problems, he believes mobile marketing has a bright future ahead.
"I had a little bet with one content owner. I sent him a chip containing some content and he sent me one of his secure DVDs and the idea was to see which one of us could rip and strip the others content first. We ripped and striped his DVD in 37 minutes flat, and posted it to an FTP site for him to view. Three weeks later, they still hadnt cracked ROKs DRM."
ROK Entertainment Group Marketing Director Bruce Renny on the relative impenetrability of the companys ROK Chips compared to some other types of entertainment media.
"We feel that consent is a very important thing. Its simply no good talking to customers who do not want to engage with you. In order for a marketing campaign to be effective, the people on the receiving end of it have to be open to the messages, and permission-based marketing allows that to happen. It requires you to think about how you connect with customers in a way that respects them and is engaging, because if you do that, consumers will want to engage with you. I think those who live in fear of opt-outs are those who are not going about things in the right way."
Amanda Phillips, Proximity London Managing Director and Chair of the IPA Direct Marketing Futures Group, on the importance of permission.
"One of the barriers to the emergence of the market is education. Brand marketers are fond of talking about consumer education, but I would shine a light on brand marketer education, around the personal nature of the medium, the need for optins, the relevance of the message. It might sound high-minded, but as a practical matter, it requires marketers to change their behaviour, and this is not easy. They acknowledge, intellectually, the point, but struggle with executing it."
Mike Baker, CEO of Enpocket, on the problem with clients.
"I think we have 10 years on SMS, and when it does run its course, we will see SMS being supplanted by commercial mobile instant messaging (IM). There are many hurdles to overcome, and it will take maybe five years before mobile IM becomes a true complement to SMS, but I think it will come, and at that point you will find subscribers dialoguing with brands in a way that is unknown today."
Andrew Bud, Executive Chairman, mBlox, on the bright future ahead for vanilla-flavoured SMS.
"I think (Mobile TV) will be huge. I am sceptical of technology. When a new technology comes up, I can usually see why it will fail. It was obvious why WAP was going to fail, for example. But with Mobile TV, its hard to see why it is going to fail, because it is such an obvious and compelling user experience."
Bud again, getting equally excited about the prospects for Mobile TV.
"I would be embarrassed about watching on a train. It would attract attention and I don't like being stared at. I would also be worried in case someone gave me a tap on the shoulder and nicked my fancy phone. If you commute every day and get back home too late to watch stuff on TV it might be interesting, but people are going to get serious headaches staring at tiny screens for hours on end."
David Smith, the man on the Clapham omnibus, or at least, a postgraduate student from Cheshire, offers a contrary view.
"There are a lot of clients who are only just grasping online, who only recruited their dedicated online specialist 18 months ago, and who have been busy getting the online strategy right. So while we have done tests and trials and talked about mobile strategy with them, they just have not had the time to make it happen yet. The Internet revolution is not over yet, and you cant expect an Internet marketing specialist to handle two revolutions simultaneously, so we have to bide our time, but it will happen. Mid 2005 was the tipping point in terms of moving from early adopters to the mainstream. In 2003 and 2004, we could not get meetings with senior marketers to talk about mobile. In 2005, theres not a single client who does not want to know whats going on in terms of cost, legislation, technology, everything."
Jonathan Bass, Managing Director of mobile marketing agency, Incentivated, on how clients are starting to take mobile marketing more seriously.
We cant take the credit for this one, but without doubt the most memorable quote of the year for the mobile marketing business came in April when Andrew Robertson, chief executive of BBDO, the third-largest ad agency in the world, said:
"We are rapidly getting to the point where the single most important medium that people have is their wireless device. It's with them every single moment of the day. Its genuinely the convergence box that everyone has been talking about for so many years."
A nice, positive thought on which to close this review. It should become much clearer over the next 12 months how right, or otherwise, he was.
In the meantime, a Happy New Year to all our readers.