Mobile Market Wrap-up for June 5, 2009

This week we are starting a new weekly series that will highlight the major news headlines, stories, and analysis in the mobile market.  Check back every Friday for our quick summary designed for you. 

The headline topic for this week was the much anticipated launch of the Palm Pre on Sprint’s network which will be available in stores on June 6 (and for some loyal customers on June 5).  The Palm Pre is being touted as the most exciting new mobile phone since the iPhone and is the Palm’s hopeful “silver bullet” to regain market share in the highly competitive smartphone marketplace.  Jeff wrote down some of his initial thoughts earlier this week and I’m sure we’ll follow-up in more detail as we get to play with the device.  If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a Palm Pre, please share your comments with us as we would love to hear what you have to say.

 In other news, this week was the Mobile Marketing Forum in New York where players from the mobile ecosystem including hardware vendors, carriers, software & application developers, media companies and many others got together to share their views on one of the most powerful marketing channels available today.  I did not attend the event but followed all the news through Mobile Marketer, who did a good job in capturing the event highlights and provided some good insights.  As a summary, the only thing I can really say is that mobile marketing is HERE.  Throughout the conference, businesses shared how they are seeing measurable results from their mobile initiatives including the three tiers of mobile marketing (SMS/text messaging, mobile internet, and smartphone applications) as well as mobile coupons, and of course, mobile advertising.  Here’s a list of the stories I enjoyed most:

 If you saw anything else interesting or newsworthy over the past week, please leave a comment for us.

My trip report from RE Barcamp Denver

denverbadge1

As Gregg mentioned in his recent post, I attended our third RE Barcamp last week, this time in Denver.  It was another great event with a large turnout out of real estate industry professionals sharing ideas on how they use social media and technology in their business.  This RE Barcamp kicked-off with an effective keynote by Jeff Turner who set the tone by explaining that the RE Barcamps are about sharing and learning, and that there is no magical formula that works for everyone.  His words seemed to resonate since most of the sessions I attended throughout the day were interactive with all participants contributing by asking questions, challenging the moderator’s opinions, or sharing success stories.

 Aumnia facilitated another discussion on mobile marketing where we discussed the three tiers of mobile marketing (SMS, mobile internet, and smartphone applications), the iPhone vs. the BlackBerry, popular applications, and general trends in mobile.  In my opinion, the most interesting discussion was centered on smartphone applications vs. the mobile internet where we discussed questions such as “are smartphone applications similar to desktop applications in the 90’s?” and “why can’t all apps be in the cloud and accessible via the mobile browser?”  It’s an interesting topic that’s worth several future blog posts.  Stay tuned.

On a final note, I want to thank all the RE Barcamp Denver volunteers for organizing a strong event and being gracious hosts.  I look forward to returning to Denver.

On the Road: Next Stop – Denver

Denver REbarcamp Badge

Over the past couple of months, we have really enjoyed connecting with many great people in the real estate industry through the RE Barcamp experience. Next week, we will be attending our third RE Barcamp in Denver. We are excited about the opportunity to go to Denver and interacting with a whole new set of people in the Rocky Mountain area.

Devesh will be at the Barcamp, and he will be leading an interactive session on mobile technology in real estate entitled: Mobile Marketing – Going From Cool to Results. He will be sharing what we have found works in the mobile environment for real estate professionals, covering some of the latest mobile products and apps in real estate, and soliciting feedback from participants to see what has worked for them, what hasn’t, and what concerns they have. If you are interested in learning about text messaging, the mobile internet, smartphone applications, how to effectively reach your mobile clients, why the iPhone may not be THE answer to everything mobile, think a Blackberry is a tasty fruit, or have no idea what SMS is and want to find out, make sure to find Devesh and attend his session.

By the way, if there are any specific topics in mobile that you would be interested in having Devesh cover, please feel free to leave a comment here. In addition, if you have attended one of our previous sessions and have suggestions on how we can improve it, we’d love to hear from you as well. We’ll be sure to look over the comments and incorporate them into our session. Looking forward to seeing you in Denver!

Back to basics – understanding the three tiers of mobile marketing

I stumbled across an interesting article on SandHill.com that provides a good summary on what businesses should consider to go mobile.  I personally think the article is worth a read but I want focus on one particular section of this article that I think is the most basic (and most important) concept every business needs to understand before getting started – the three tiers of mobile marketing.

Tier#1: Text Messaging (SMS)
The first tier of mobile marketing is text messaging, or technically known as SMS (short message service).  By now, I’m sure everyone is at least aware of SMS considering that text messages outnumber phone calls today.  SMS provides a very simple way share small tidbits of information with mobile users (e.g. special offers, coupons, contact info, pricing info, etc.).  Since SMS is a messaging system, it does not provide a very engaging or interactive experience with users and should not be used for those purposes.
 
Tier#2: Mobile Internet (WAP)
The second tier of mobile marketing is the mobile internet, also referred to as WAP (wireless access protocol).  The mobile internet is similar to the web you are familiar with on your PC/Mac except there are drastic form factor and functionality differences when accessing the internet on mobile devices.  The biggest mistake businesses can make it to think their primary website is the same as their mobile internet site (or mobilesite).  Due to the smaller screen sizes, different operating systems, limited browser functionality, slower processing speeds, and lack of memory, mobile sites need to be highly optimized for a user’s experience on-the-go.  For all businesses, I strongly believe that mobilesites will become the de facto standard for mobile marketing similar to the way the web has become a business’ front door today.

Tier#3: Smartphone Applications
The iPhone has revolutionized the simplicity for users to download dedicated applications to their phones.  There are applications for everything from simple games to enterprise services.  Similarly, all the major smartphone manufacturers and/or carriers are opening app stores to make it easy for mobile users to download applications to their phones.  So what does this mean from a business perspective?  Smartphone applications provide a unique branding experience for a business helping engage their mobile users anytime, anywhere by providing them with “one-click” access to the information, service, or multimedia content they want.  In my opinion, business that value and leverage their brand day-to-day will need to embrace smartphone applications.

So I’m sure you’ve heard the massive buzz around mobile marketing.  Is it just media hype?  No. Mobile is really going to be the most important medium for business to leverage with their customers.  It doesn’t matter if your business is retail or enterprise.  While you try to wrap your head around how to use mobile marketing, my only advice is to first understand the three tiers listed above… thoroughly.  Can you use each one?  What value does each one provide to my users?  What do you want your mobile brand be?

Once you’re ready to get started, I will repeat the advice the author of the SandHill.com article tells his readers, “Whatever content strategy you employ, it’s important to remember that the mobile medium is not a smaller version of the desktop.”