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Direct Response Marketing

Sheer Volume Points to Power of Mobile in DR's Future

1 Feb, 2009 By: Thomas Haire Response

I know, you've all heard it before: mobile marketing will change everything. Yet, like most, you're wondering exactly when that might happen, because outside of limited examples, you haven't quite seen it come to fruition just yet.

At Response, we've been tracking the mobile marketing revolution from our overall direct response marketing perspective. And, yes, while mobile remains somewhere between it's infancy and adolescence as a marketing medium here in the United States, there have been examples of its power creating insanely trackable results and strong return on investment, including programs from Hyundai (September 2008) and Subway (March 2008) discussed in these pages.

Still, perhaps the clearest examples of why mobile marketing will eventually become one of the most indispensable parts of any marketer's direct response arsenal come from the sheer size of the mobile market.

No one would ever think to minimize the capabilities of the Internet as a marketing mechanism in 2009. DR marketing online is simply a given for just about any type of product or service, branded or not. According to, there are currently just less than 1.5 billion Internet users around the world — an impressive number that will continue to grow as high-speed Internet access gains a foothold in less affluent countries.

However, if 1.5 billion Internet users is impressive, what does that make the more than 3.6 billion mobile phone users worldwide? When you take into account that most estimates put the number of smartphones included in those users at between 5 and 10 percent, you can imagine the growth still to come within the smartphone segment — the most reliable segment for mobile marketers to access.

According to In-Stat, growth in smartphone sales is expected to reach 33 percent annually through 2012. While Nokia still holds the lion's share of this market and the Blackberry is No. 2, sales of the Apple iPhone have been an incredible boon for this segment (see page 40).

Certainly, there is no way to lessen the impact of a media that — once the marketing and measurement technology is in place to make it work across the board — immediately offers marketers access to more than twice as many consumers as the Internet. While marketers may not be quite ready to leap with both feet into the mobile space, smart marketers would be more than remiss to downplay the opportunities mobile will provide them in the coming years.

That's why we at Response are proud to continue our series on branded-response marketing this month with an update on the mobile marketing landscape. While it's your job as a leader to find the best ways to market your products and services today while keeping an eye on the future, it's definitely part of our job here to make sure that that forward-looking eye gets the most up-to-date information. It's how we define ourselves as a leader in direct response.

We hope to see you at the March 23 Response/Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) cocktail reception in Chicago, and at Response Expo, May 19-21, in San Diego!

Thomas Haire, Editor-in-Chief

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