These days I am getting daily messages about the new products and services that are offered from my mobile service provider and found they are good. Marketing through a mobile devise is fast picking among the business class. Mobile Marketing can refer to one of two categories of marketing. First, and relatively new, is meant to describe marketing on or with a mobile device, such as a mobile phone. Second, and a more traditional definition, is meant to describe marketing in a moving fashion – for example – technology road shows or moving billboards.

Marketing on a mobile phone has become increasingly popular ever since the rise of SMS (Short Message Service) in the early 2000s in Europe and some parts of Asia when businesses started to collect mobile phone numbers and send off wanted (or unwanted) content.

Over the past few years SMS has become a legitimate advertising channel. This is due to the fact that unlike email over the public internet, the carrier who police their own networks have set guidelines and best practices for the mobile media industry (including mobile advertising). The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association), as well, has established guidelines and evangelizing the use of the mobile channel for marketers.

Mobile Marketing via SMS has expanded rapidly in Europe and Asia as a new channel to reach the consumer. SMS initially received negative media coverage in many parts of Europe for being a new form of spam as some advertisers purchased lists and sent unsolicited content to consumer’s phones; however, as guidelines are put in place by the mobile operators, SMS has become the most popular branch of the Mobile Marketing industry with several 100 million advertising SMS sent out every month in Europe alone.

In North America the first cross-carrier SMS short code campaign was run by Labatt Brewing Company in 2002. Over the past few years mobile short codes have been increasingly popular as a new channel to communicate to the mobile consumer. Brands have begun to treat the mobile short code as a mobile domain name allowing the consumer to text message the brand at an event, in store and off any traditional media.

SMS services typically run off a short code, but sending text messages to an email address is another methodology. Short codes are 5 or 6 digit numbers that have been assigned by all the mobile operators in a given country for the use of brand campaign and other consumer services. The mobile operators vet every application before provisioning and monitor the service to make sure it does not diverge from its original service description.

One key criterion for provisioning is that the consumer opts in to the service. The mobile operators demand a double opt in from the consumer and the ability for the consumer to opt out of the service at any time by sending the word STOP via SMS. These guidelines are established in the MMA Consumer Best Practices Guidelines which are followed by all mobile marketers in the United States. The guidelines can be accessed at www.mmaglobal.com

Such is the emergence of this form of advertising, that there is now a dedicated global awards ceremony organized every year by Visiongain.

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