The Nuances of Mobile Marketing

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International Journal of Management and Technology, Vol. 1 No. 1 (January, 2011) Copyright © Mind Reader Publications ISSN No. 0976-0924

Towards an understanding of the youth’s perception of, and response to, mobile advertising in an emerging market An exploratory study

Justin Henley Beneke Bus.Sc. (Hons) M.Bus.Sc, Cape Town School of Management Studies Faculty of Commerce University of Cape Town E-mail:


The expansion of the global market, as well as the abundance and convergence of new technologies, has created new advertising opportunities for marketers (Bamba & Barnes, 2007). Together with this, technological advances, a shift towards advertising philosophies supporting one-to-one marketing and interactivity, and the increase of mobile penetration rates and mservice usage, have facilitated emergence of a direct marketing channel: mobile marketing (Karjaluoto, Lehto, Leppäniemi & Mustonen, 2007). Bamba & Barnes (2007) describe mobile marketing as “using a wireless medium to provide consumers with time-and-location-sensitive, personalized information that promotes goods, services and ideas, thereby benefiting all


Justin Henley Beneke

stakeholders.” Mobile marketing has been categorized into two models, the push-model and pull-model campaign. The latter refers to information which is requested by and sent to consumers, whilst the former refers to unsolicited communication, initiated by the marketer, and which in turn raises the issue of consumer’s permission and privacy (ibid).

The development of mobile technology has been a long journey of innovation and which is constantly evolving and updating as a result of consumers’ changing needs (Bamba & Barnes, 2007). Today, mobile penetration rates have reached staggering levels. It was estimated that the number of mobile phones worldwide hit the 4 billion mark in 2008, with year-on-year penetration growth estimated to reach 61% in 2008 (ITU, 2008). Approximately 67.86% of South Africans personally own, rent or make use of a mobile phone (AMPS, 2009). These high penetration rates have provided marketers with the opportunity to use mobile phones to deliver advertisements for products and services (Tsang et al., 2004). It is predicted that the financial impact of mobile marketing will reach $24 billion by 2013 from just US $1.8 billion in 2007, as more companies discover the benefits this new medium offers (Yaniv, 2008).

It is estimated that globally 1.5 billion users received SMS advertisements in 2008 (Yaniv, 2008). This figure indicates the potential that exists for mobile advertising to become, if used in the right way, one of the most powerful, unique, best–targeted advertising mediums to reach customers (Leppäniemi & Karjaluoto, 2005). The Mobile Marketing Association (2008) reported that 70% of participants were very open to the concept of mobile marketing as the idea of an interactive, innovative and personal media channel was more appealing than traditional and digital media. Jun and Lee (2007) speculate that mobile advertising will become the most important communication medium for marketers, the value of which is estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Soon, it will be unusual for a company not to incorporate and align mobile advertising with its traditional marketing mix (Jun & Lee, 2007).

Short Message Services (SMS) has become the new “buzzword” in the transmission of business to consumer mobile advertising, as there is no alternative which is as cheap and easy to use which works with all phones across all networks (Okazaki, 2005). SMS exceeded all initial expectations and has gone on to become consumers’ preferred mobile service, with cell phone users worldwide sending more than 10 billion SMS messages each month (Carroll, 2007). 36% of South African adults, sixteen years and older, send SMS’s daily or weekly (Vodacom, 2008).


Towards an...
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