According to, mobile marketing is 'promotional activity designed for delivery to cell phones, smartphones, and other handheld devices, usually as a component of a multi-channel campaign'.

Or, we could go with the simpler and intuitive 'mobile marketing is marketing on a mobile device'. Whatever your take is on what mobile marketing actually is, all marketers agree that we know it when we see it.

The question is, how can the small, retail-based businesses, that appear to be under so much pressure in these challenging economic times, jump on the mobile bandwagon? It’s easy enough if business owners can think out of the box. Successful mobile marketing is all about creativity.

The importance of trying new tactics

Here’s a good one for the bricks-and-mortar crowd – how about sending the firm’s regulars 'Please Call Me' messages? Watch their annoyance turn to pleasant surprise as the customers who actually call receive a loyalty gift. Mobile makes it easy, and affordable, for every business owner to be creative. Mobile marketing really does come into its own when paired with any economy’s retail sector.

Perhaps the reason for this is because bricks-and-mortar transacting is the most direct and personal of commercial behaviours, while mobile phones are the most personal of communication enablers. So there’s a natural fit that is only improved by the ongoing creativity of mobile marketers.

How storefront retail businesses could benefit

Cellphone numbers of the regular clientele are easily collected by on-the-ball business owners who are interested in their bread and butter customers. Coupons delivered to these regulars’ mobile phones via SMS show that the business cares about its regulars. This is also a useful marketing research exercise because the business will be able to see which special offers are, in fact, redeemed.

Unlike paper coupons, which often get lost, one’s text message inbox is a convenient place to store SMS coupons. In addition, mobile is a great way to piggyback on key national holidays (and we have quite a few) and seasonal changes to drive sales of new products – or to clear old products. You could combine this with encouraging clients to use their mobile devices to check in at the establishment on social media.

The last word belongs to Dealer Marketing's Don Scheich – "There’s a huge opportunity to build deeper personal relationships with customers through mobile, and it is that personal service that can make customers feel heard – and be the difference between a repeat customer and a one-time customer." 

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