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New Video Series: Is the mobile marketing industry too obsessed with smartphones?

Is the mobile marketing industry far too obsessed with smartphones? That’s the question I’ll be asking in a new video series coming soon to Mobile Industry Review in association with OpenMarket, the leading global mobile transaction hub.

In the wake of Clarityn’s apparent success at achieving 70,000 downloads of their iPhone pollen count application, I sat last week wondering on whether the resources that were deployed on that project could have been better spent reaching the whole marketplace.

The big problem with marketing types is that the iPhone (and to a lesser extent, many of the Android devices) are gorgeous. Imagery renders beautifully. The UI experience is elegant. It’s utterly simple to convince the CEO that it’s the right thing to do. I firmly believe that the new mantra in today’s mobile marketing industry is ‘nobody ever got shot for building an iPhone app.

It’s all well and good, but it’s ridiculously limiting. Clarityn’s team specifically deployed the app in the knowledge that it would only work for a very, very small segment of the United Kingdom. I suspect that the app was ‘just a test’. But what about ubiquity? What about accessing the whole market? It’s not as if the billboards I see around are only compatible with 32 year old males of Scottish descent. Everyone can ‘access’ them. Similarly with TV ads, the latest audi advert works on any television. Any. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a Samsung TV or a Sony.

So what’s going on with mobile marketing and mobile marketing budgets? Why does the market — at least from my vantage point — appear to be so obsessed with smartphones when their job should be reaching everyone? Is a ‘text campaign’ just too boring, nowadays? What about the huge segments of the population who are simply ignored by the latest iPhone gizmo that no doubt cost the brand a pretty penny to develop?

Well, I’m going to check this out.

Next week I’m taking the camera equipment to the IAB Engage for Mobile event in London. I’m going to produce a series of videos from there on the subject of The Smartphone Obsession asking this key question: “Has the mobile marketing industry become too focused on smartphones?”

If you’d like to participate, let me know ( I’m going to be filming all day at the event and I’m working out the schedule right now. I’m aiming to produce a 5-video series, with each episode featuring an thought leader.

Standby for more information soon!


  1. Agree 100% Ewan. Reach and message ubiquity should be a key element in mobile marketing. The trouble is that apps are seen as innovative and and cutting edge, and on the most part created as part of a branding strategy rather than a marketing initiative. Apps are there for show. And you're right, they are not difficult to get approval for because apps are a turnkey solution compared to an SMS campaign. With SMS and shortcode marketing you have to handle databases, consider re-marketing strategies and design call-to-action scenarios. SMS is more challenging however it presents a greater pay off.

  2. We've just started a national campaign with the Globe and Mail newspaper here in Canada, focusing on the G8/G20 summit taking place next weekend. Basically readers of the paper can sign up for free G8/G20 Summit Mobile alerts which will be sent to them via SMS and include links to online articles. In this case the campaign is not excluding any portion of the newspaper's readership because the alerts optimized for both feature and smart phones. Also the Globe and Mail is able to conveniently stay in touch with their readers and direct them to their website, on a phone by phone basis. You can see the sign-up form here… Unfortunately the campaign is only live in Canada.

  3. You are absolutely, smart phones is now part of mobile marketing, all top US companies like Wire2air and Txtimpact are involved with creating mobile website for marketing. Today sms and mms is popular form of marketing products using cell phones or smart phones. Smart phones provides great user interface to send and receive text messages.



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