Mobile Marketing is used to describe marketing on or with a mobile device, such as a mobile Phone. Mobile allows brands that have relied on traditional channels to create a more direct, sustained relationship with consumers. Mobile Marketing is yet to gain its foothold in Nigeria but with the upcoming 3G networks, this will allow data intensive applications, Brand and advert agencies will quickly see the opportunities in engaging the Mobile subscribers because of its uniqueness and interactivity.

South Korea is a classic example where Mobile marketing is striving. The largest network operator, SK Telecom, has some 500 clients and controls 80% of the country’s mobile advertising market. AirCross pushes multimedia ads to about one million users who have opted in, lured by reductions in their phone bills. It also has a database of four million SMS opt-ins, though multimedia is growing at a faster rate, having pulled in big advertisers such as Coca-Cola, Mercedes and BMW since its launch last year.

The 3G Marketing is the next big thing in mobile services but how prepared are the Network operators, Brand owners and Brand marketers to move away from the traditional media to mobile?

3G Marketing has the capacity to reach mobile users in style and with rich contents for mobile subscribers. Content in many formats like video, sms, mms and audio and can now target the mobile users. It will put the creativity of Brand manager to task. Present Mobile marketing ecosystem in Nigeria is not buoyant with innovative services because the focus of Mobile operators still tends towards Voice where 95 percent of the accrued revenue comes from. Mobile Marketing is still in its infancy as Brand marketers are not even experimenting with what is available presently. Caller Ring Back and Bluetooth marketing do not require very complex technology but yet am yet to see one single deployment in the whole Nigeria. 

The opportunities are immense and rewarding .More than 89 percent of Fortune 500 companies are dedicating more than 10 percent of their marketing Budget to mobile marketing in year,2008! The challenges for mobile marketing in Nigeria is tasking because Most Brand managers do not even understand the workings of the technology. Influx of low end phones will also inhibit the growth and spread of 3G Marketing and will be the immediate obstacle to mass-market 3G marketing because the user base is not sophisticated enough. Availability of 3G network in major cities will be a decisive factor if it will become a marketing medium of choice. Network operators are still battling with capacity issues and 3G might not be a front burner issues in low Average Revenue per user (ARPU) catchments areas and by implication brand owners may never be able to deploy a national mobile marketing campaign. They will have to manage with Regional.

The road ahead for 3G marketing is tough since Bandwidth issues will crop up intermittently. A key attribute of 3G is its ability to deliver high-quality MMS content, including streamed video with 3G subscribers able to tune into paid-for content from the likes of cinema owners like Numetro and silverbirds, showing cinema clips. Mobile Adverts can be streamed alongside a Tv programme and even Mobile users can be directed to a web site or WAP site that is dedicated to that ad.

Network operators should also allow media agencies to access their database so that campaigns can be more targeted based on the segmentation of subscribers but where they cannot allow that, then they can as well have an in-house agency because without a segmented database, there would be indiscriminate messaging to a mobile advertiser’s user base or publisher base and this could seriously damage the development of this potentially lucrative advertising market. The mobile should not go the way of the internet in terms of spam. The time to put the structure in place is now.

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