The $64 Million Question in Mobile is…

Recently I had a discussion with a businessman who is jumping into the mobile marketing space. We talked about how to reach out to retail establishments and offer them mobile marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy. I shared with him what I thought his biggest objections might be (more on this later) and we also discussed the details of the technology to make it all happen.

At the very end of the conversation when we were about to hang up, he said, “I just have one last question. When do you think mobile marketing will hit the mainstream?” There, my friends, is the $64 million question.

When will mobile marketing be as normal as internet marketing – for businesses and agencies as well as consumers? When will going on the mobile web be as routine as Googling something? (What will be the made up word that weaves its way into our vocabulary like Google, which is a noun and a verb?) When will all our coupons, special offers and loyalty programs automatically be set up to go into our mobile devices and it seems exactly as it should be?

My answer to my colleague was that while I don’t know an exact date, and no one can, I am certain it will come around faster than the Internet did. Mobile marketing will integrate faster into people’s lives than any other mass media in history. The mobile adoption rate has already blown away that of any other technological device in history.

This brings me back to the objections my business friend will face when presenting his mobile marketing offer to local businesses. He will hear things like “My customers don’t text message. They’re not teenagers.” Now, this brings up the irony in mobile marketing.

In order for it to become normal to the mainstream businesses will need to start doing it. However, if they don’t start doing it, it will take longer to settle into culture.

My advice to any business considering mobile marketing is to jump in like it is giant swimming pool. Do the biggest canon ball of your life. Make a big splash and see what happens.

So, when do you think mobile marketing will hit the mainstream?