The Coming Era of "Brand in the Hand" Marketing
lives marketing is It's business, it's personal, available.People run their obile off of mobile. the most personal medium it's informationgathering. It's on 24/7. We call it the "brand in the hand."
- Global Media Manager, Adidas International
First it was the Internet. Now, the convergence of the Web and wireless technology has begun tochallenge many of the assumptions companies have about their marketing strategies. Indeed, the combination of the Internet and hand-held mobile devices is making possible a whole new array of marketing applications and offerings. This is what we refer to as "brand in the hand" the potential for branding and marketing communications to be delivered to people in their hands while they are shopping,watching a sporting event, commuting, working or doing chores at home. In the past, advertising and branding models were based primarily on 30second commercials and magazine ads. Today, the growth of digital and mobile communications is changing so fast that consumers may soon find themselves interacting with brands in fundamentally different ways. For now, the target delivery medium for mobilemarketing applications is cell phones, personal digital assistants and other hand-held devices. But scenarios such as the one in the film "Minority Report,' in which holographic point-of-purchase displays for the likes of Gap clothing engage passers-by by name, are not that far off in certain Asian and European markets. Before companies rush into this new marketing arena, though, they need tounderstand some fundamental issues. For starters, in what ways does mobile marketing differ from traditional approaches? Moreover, when should a company pursue a brand-in-the-hand initiative - and when should it not? And how should firms integrate such a novel approach within their overall marketing strategies?
The growing popularity of cell phones and other hand-held mobile devices has opened up newmarketing possibilities. Fareena Sultan and Andrew Rohm
For many people, the cell phone, PDA or other hand-held device has become virtually a necessity of everyday life. (See "The Global Spread of Mobile Technology.") In particular, young consumers, who tend to be technology-savvy multitaskers, have quickly adopted mobile devices to socialize, play online games and downloadcontent, including music, ring tones and wallpaper
FareenaSultan is an associateprofessor and Andrew Rohm is an assistantprofessor in the Marketing Group at Northeastern University's College of Business Administration. Contact the authors at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
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MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW
But younger consumers arenot the only ones to embrace mobile technology. In fact, the reach of mobile devices is perhaps best understood by segmenting people on the basis of their Mobile phones are fast becoming ubiquitous. In Japan, seven out of 10 people have cell-phone accounts, and in other countries such as Italy, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, the market penetration of mobile phones has already exceeded 100%.'In the United States, however, penetration rates remain much lower (55%), and in China fewer than one in four people now owns a mobile phone.ii Even so, one study has forecast that the worldwide total number of mobile-phone subscribers will approach over 2 billion by the end of 2005."1' And people aren't using their cell phones just for conversations. In fact, over 40% of users worldwide activelyaccess services such as messaging, games and news content.1v Additionally, a recent study in the United Kingdom indicated that the demand for both voice and data services (such as text messaging and multimedia messaging services) continues to grow.v In Japan, third-generation data services have reached significant levels of penetration, and wireless hand-held devices available in Europe and...
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