Viewpoint: Defining Mobile Marketing

The mobile marketing business has come a long, long way in the almost 12 years since we posted our first article on 1 November 2005. Back then, the iPhone didn’t exist, the App Store didn’t exist, and Android didn’t exist – though a lot of other mobile operating systems did.

The closest thing you could get to an app was a downloadable Java brochure – Peugeot were big fans of those for new car launches, I recall. Phones lasted a couple of weeks without a battery charge. Some of the biggest mobile marketing protagonists were boy bands flogging subscriptions to text clubs through the pages of Smash Hits. And the mobile web amounted to something called WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), which was so scratchy that the catchphrase WAP is crap was often heard whenever it was discussed.

Indeed, WAP was probably the reason why mobile as a marketing channel took so long to get off the ground, because those brave brands that got in early and experimented with a presence on the mobile web found the experience so poor – given the limited bandwidth and tiny screens – that they abandoned it, not to return until several years later.

Different world
Fast forward 12 years and we are in a somewhat different world. A world where you have to stop and ask yourself: how do you even define mobile marketing any more? It’s a question we’ve been asking ourselves for the past couple of years, wondering if the name of our title does justice to the plethora of platforms, devices and protocols that fall under the mobile umbrella, in a world where mobile sits at the heart of communication, interaction and innovation, but where there’s so much more to it than the devices we carry around in our pockets. A world where mobile is not so much the end game, but the glue that pulls together so many other disparate channels, from outdoor to in store to TV.

After much soul-searching, we’ve decided that the name does indeed remain a good fit for what we cover, with the important proviso that we all recognise that it’s about far more than mobile phones and tablets. Hopefully, this is self-evident from the posts you see on the site.

Our remit has extended over the past few years to cover wearables, connected and driverless cars, smart appliances, smart homes, smart cities, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, and whatever version of reality comes after that.

And it will continue to do so going forward. Because the great thing about this space is that it never stands still.

12-18 months ago, all the excitement was around wearables. Today, VR is the poster child for all that’s new and shiny in mobile engagement. We would be very surprised if, 12 months on, something else is not catching the headlines and the experimental budgets.

We don’t know what that will be. All we can say is that whatever it is, we’ll be here to cover it and analyse it – through the website, our print edition, our events and even our Awards program – to help you, our readers, make the most informed decisions about what tech to jump on, and what you can afford to ignore.

The last 12 years have been a blast, here’s to the next 12.

Don’t forget to enter the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. The Early Bird deadline for submissions is 22 July. More details here.