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Tony Stanton Social Media Agency Called England

Mobile Marketing - Pocket Rockets

By The Drum, Administrator

September 4, 2008 | 5 min read

The biggest thing in marketing is sitting in your pocket now and is set to become an even bigger part of your life. Tony Stanton on An Agency Called England drops Cyberdrum a line.

Of course, the parlour trick parody that is Meg could no sooner predict the lottery numbers than I could. Crystal ball or not, seeing into the future is a pastime that many attempt but few, if any, master. But, for the benefit of you dear readers I have cast my runic stones, stared into the tea leaves of life and guarantee a prediction that will certainly happen in the very near future and for some will mean wealth beyond a mere national lottery win.

I sense movement as you creep ever nearer to the edge of your seats. I feel the anticipation as you await the future to be told. I hear the rumblings from afar as you mumble “just get on with it and tell us”. Here you are then. The life changing, star gazing, dead cert, nailed on, sure to happen reality that’s around the corner – the future is in your pocket. Or maybe in your handbag.

I am talking about your mobile phone and the fact that we are on the cusp of the most important technology revolution since the first web browser in 1994 – the advent of mass, personalized mobile marketing specific to who you are, where you are and what you are doing.

Forget all you know about mobile ‘marketing’ so far. Forget outbound SMS blasting, ringtone selling or inbound text-to-win. These lo-fi methods have all the marketing finesse of a flying housebrick.

Before long the computer in your hand that we call a mobile phone will be the key to all you need – an on the spot guide to virtually everything. It will tell you what’s behind you, and how much discount you can get if you go there now. It will direct you around foreign places, and find you what you want when you want it. It will be a permanent, personal lifestyle guide and window to the world around you, wherever you happen to be. Then it will speak for you in your language of choice when you need to cash in the offer that your mobile has eagerly sought out because it matches your lifestyle preferences so perfectly. It will be the gateway to your social networks, organise your life and make your laptop redundant.

And this emerging reality, this advancing horizon, will grant those who understand it an abundance of riches. The commercial value of understanding where a customer might be and enticing them to you is beyond the ken of humble marketers – only the truly enlightened will reap its magnificence. And who are they?

Apple, Microsoft and Google are already laying claim to this new mobile dawn. In hyperspace, these people own their own galaxies. They can see beyond the stars, and they realise that their shareholders bloodlust for the next billion dollar dividend will be satiated in the mobile space. They will map us, overlay us, and converge us onto their single devices. A mobile, ipod, cameraphone, mapping, GPS, Bluetooth terminal that is an advertisers dream.

A rich array of new ideas, new applications and commercial opportunities will gush forth as we latch on to the power of this new knowing – the ultimate combo of who, where and when. Imagine knowing the movements and habits of your customers and directing your messages to them in real-time based on where they are and what they are doing. What power must that yield?

And if knowledge is truly power, then doubtless this power has the potential to be recklessly abused until it is understood and tamed by the government regulators who set the rules. For with power comes responsibility, and this can be a heavy burden.

Because my mobile will know where it is, so will my mobile operator. If I dwell for too long outside an adult store, or in the bookies, my operator will know. If I sit in the pub all afternoon, eat too much junk food then pop off for a lap-dance, it will know that too. Soon, they will be able to track my movements better than an MI5 surveillance squad, and tip off my health insurer, my employer or my better half. The commercial potential of this is also too immense to ignore. But so are the social consequences. Already, supermarkets are talking of silently tracking phones to measure footfall around their stores, and the police forces of this country are exploring the crime-fighting potential of knowing what handsets are nearby when a crime is committed. Someone will need to draw the line between benign and instrusive, because the technology that will deliver this ultimate marketers dream is also the ultimate phone-tap.

So watch this space. This Orwellian future is almost upon us. And when it happens, and it will, remember where you heard it first.

The next big thing is already in your pocket!

Tony Stanton Social Media Agency Called England

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