Under The Radar: Lessons For Mobile Marketers

(For MMW’s complete coverage of Under The Radar: Mobility, click here).

SMS the next big thing in marketing? Hardly. Texting is cutting-edge for some marketers and commoditized for others. But those who want to get to the bleeding edge had better pay attention to the companies who presented at Under The Radar: Mobility in Mountain View this week.

In a nutshell: The marketing industry must be prepared to get multi-channel all on one device. Technologies exist now that will help them enhance content on mobile phones, update Web content via their own cell phones, and use their handsets to communicate in far-reaching ways like conferencing and real-time networking. Companies will also be able to conduct financial transactions via mobile phones, making it more convenient than ever for consumers to make purchases–and that’s not an easy task in these days of economic uncertainty.

Savvy marketers already know that the cell phone is ideal to contact consumers because messages and ads reach them instantly, no matter what time of day or where the person is. Soon (well, now, if you’re an early adopter) marketers can use their own phones as a tool, too.

Here’s how Under The Radar startups can–no, will–help marketers achieve new heights:

Branding. Use mobile technology to make consumers more aware and knowledgeable about your company. DialPlus enables people to create visual profiles that callers–or recipients of calls–can see. Toro will give the multi-channel campaign new meaning as it consumers “tap” print ads with their cell phones to get coupons and other marketing messages that benefit them. Get recommended by Goodrec (a mobile and online ratings site featuring referrals from “trusted sources”) or Rummble (a location-based service that finds people as well as places).

Change content remotely–or for remote consumers. MyBooo allows users to make changes to social networks via their cells–a boon for marketers like musicians who use these sites almost exclusively as their marketing strategies. (The company will be their “Boo” fo’ sho!) Pixelpipe is a media gateway that lets you upload from a handset (or desktop or server) to a social network, blog, or photo/video sharing sites–no need for a carrier to create a special app for a single social site like Facebook. Bambuser lets users stream live video from a mobile phone or Web-cam; they can also interact  with viewers with Web-to-mobile chat. Mofuse lets bloggers launch and manage a mobile version of their web logs in seconds.

Bring events to mobile users. Several companies offer ways for people to attend business meetings, webinars, and other business- or branding-related events while on the go: PhoneTopp, iVisit, Iotum, and Vello.

Location-based services. Yes, it’s easy to be skeptical–we’ve been hearing about LBS for the past few years now. But carriers are quite excited about it–they really think this is something that consumers will go for. That is, once they–and marketers-figure out the best way to use it and promote it to the masses. (It pays to look ahead, especially since SMS charges might change in ways yet unknown, as the carriers themselves admitted.)

All work and no play make tech innovators dull girls and boys. Socializing at Under The Radar is almost as important as checking out the companies! Alas, while everyone unwound from the long day with wine and canapes, I sat typing out my analysis of the whole event. So drop a line and let me know what you think of everything we’ve covered!