The MMA: Mobile Marketing Is No Longer Emerging. It's Here.

Today at the Mobile Marketing Forum in Sao Paolo, the MMA announced a repositioning to increase its "effectiveness at the global, regional and national levels, and to create additional membership benefits."   The association is shifting its focus from helping to build mobile marketing as an emerging discipline, to 5 tenets they've identified as the building blocks of the now-established industry.  The press release describes these building blocks in this way:

  • Promote the channel, the industry and individual member companies to brands and agencies in order to create more commercial opportunities for its members, demonstrating that membership creates a competitive advantage for companies.
  • Educate brands, agencies and consumers about the full scale and scope of the mobile marketing channel, highlighting its advantages and benefits.
  • Measure by creating and developing authoritative measurement, metrics and insight into the size, growth, trends and effectiveness of mobile marketing.
  • Guide by continuing to create and develop guidelines, best practices and standards designed to ease the planning, purchase and implementation of mobile marketing.
  • Protect the opportunity by representing the industry before regulators and legislators and by managing industry self-regulatory programs to maximize public and industry confidence in mobile marketing, lower barriers to entry and minimize non-economic costs of doing business.

With this repositioning, the MMA is clearly sending the message that mobile is a true and established marketing channel.  With the extraordinary growth rate of mobile internet usage, the increasing adoption of smartphones, and the volume of questions my colleagues and I are asked about mobile marketing, it doesn't surprise me that the MMA is ready to move the conversation from the context of an emerging industry to an established one.  

That said, I'm still seeing mobile marketing budgets look more experimentation-sized than meaningful-channel-sized, which begs the question: what makes you decide the time is right to devote more dollars to a newer marketing channel?  Is it a matter of accurate measurement being available?  Proven ROI based on that accurate measurement?  Widespread consumer adoption of the channel (and if so, what do you consider "widespread")?  Or, and this may be a new consideration in the Splinternet era, do you consider mobile within other pieces of your marketing mix (like interactive display and search)?   Add your comments below to help us all begin to answer some of these frequently asked questions.



Mobile Marketing Adoption

One ithing missing from this article is the driver of competition. Many companies start allocating budgets for new marketing campaigns based on what their competitors are doing. Granted it is not always the best way to define your marketing plan but I believe that, when an industry leader starts reaching the market through their mobile devices, regardless of any presence of data showing consumer adoption, more companies will get on board. We are seeing this with the social media industry now and are likely to see this "me too" approach in this industry.