Mobile Marketing: Back to Basics

Mobile marketing has its acronyms and jargon. The number of letters and words can all be a bit daunting, which is why we’ve decided to visit some of the basic and not-so-basic terms.

We’ll start with the basic of basics: mobile marketing. Mobile marketing, what is being called “location marketing” by companies such as foursquare, is marketing delivered to mobile devices – that is, smartphones and tablets. Mobile marketing operates on either a push or pull method and attempts to target individual customers with relevant, location- and contextually-based ads.

Geo-fencing is what allows location-based ads to appear on consumers’ mobile devices. It is a niche application of geo-targeting, a strategy that targets ads to specific geographical regions. Geo-fencing pushes the application further; it creates a virtual boundary for a real-world geographical area, usually a radius around a business’ location.

M-commerce may be a self-evident term (“mobile” commerce), but it’s growing in popularity. Mobile payments used to fall under e-commerce, but the growth in them is making a distinction between “m” and “e” necessary.

As for mobile payments themselves, they are home to a number of terms. “Mobile wallet” is one, and it refers to any electronic account on a mobile phone that uses some sort of currency to make payments. No consistency exists when it comes to those accounts; people use a variety of apps to make payments.

NFC is a beloved acronym. It stands for “Near Field Communications,” the primary technology behind mobile payments. A consumer waves his or her smartphone in front of the payment screen or scanner and – voila! – instant payment.

The “internet of things” (IoT) isn’t a new term; it was coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999. IoT is the idea that devices are always “on” and should, therefore, be able to connect with other devices anytime, anywhere. A simplistic example is using a smartphone to set the alarm at one’s house while not being physically present at the house. Another is using one’s smartphone to schedule a delivery with Sears for a new washer and dryer.

QR codes stand for “quick response” codes. Despite a number of marketers who boohoo them, the codes continue to live and occasionally thrive. As to what they are, they’re the odd, black-and-white squares found on everything from brochures to cereal boxes. If consumers have a QR reader on their mobile devices, they can read the “square” to find additional information or deals.

The term “multi-channel” rose to prominence as more communication channels were added. A multi-channel business no longer relied solely on print but also used channels such as online advertising and social media. Omni-channel arose as marketers sought to describe how the in-store experience and the digital one should be seamless or “all together.” Today, the terms converge and sometimes are used interchangeably even though they don’t mean exactly the same thing.

RTB stands for “real-time bidding” and comes into play when advertising via mobile networks. It indicates a change in how advertisers can reach consumers; they are no longer tied to the scattershot approach found with print. With RTB, online advertisers are becoming better able to offer relevant ads to individuals – a crucial element when it comes to mobile marketing.

BYOD is a popular term, particularly in the workplace. It means “Bring Your Own Device” and is analogous to “BYOB.” BYOD, however, isn’t all fun and games; people use their personal devices for both work and pleasure.

Showrooming” is another well-known albeit worrisome term. Showrooming refers to customers who enter the store to look at merchandise in person but browse for that same merchandise on their mobile devices either to find either more information or a better price be it online or at a competitor’s store.

What mobile marketing terms would you add to the “basics” list?