When asked about mobile marketing, many email marketers immediately jump to the idea of targeted outbound SMS messaging. And, if they think about it for a while, they also mention transactions and alerts (e.g., a notification that your plane's gate has changed while you're at the airport).
The more I learn about mobile marketing, the more I see it as a completely new and unique medium for marketers. Many of the old paradigms just don't apply. It's a bit like email marketers arguing over how different their medium is from direct mail. To get an idea of how differently mobile marketing can be from our traditional notions of marketing, take a look at the mobile site recently set up by Starbucks.
This simple application allows a user to enter a ZIP code and quickly displays a list of nearby Starbucks with each store's services (like Wifi). If the goal of marketing is to draw in attention and drive purchases, then this handy little application meets the definition and then some:
The mobile environment is the most intimate and potentially annoying kind of marketing ever invented. The brands that win are not likely to be the ones that steal your attention, but the ones that aid you in accomplishing your goals while you're on the go.
Disclaimer: The Starbucks application was created by mobile messaging and marketing applications provider Air2Web. I've been a board member of Air2Web for several years, and it has been a great opportunity to see the evolution of mobile applications and mobile marketing.