Mobile Marketing is like Justin Bieber

Mobile marketing is a lot like Justin Bieber: they both have a lot of growing up to do.

The two have potential, but they’re plagued by problems. Bieber struggles to control his mouth and temper; mobile marketing struggles to make sense of the available data and to use it in a way that produces relevant, contextual ads and apps.

Learn from the grown-ups

Bieber has been taken under Usher’s wing, but he hasn’t grasped the tutelage. He’s in some sort of copy-cat syndrome that isn’t at all successful. Bieber’s been seen dressing and making remarks that make him sound like a wannabe gangster rather than a teenage singer following in a successful peer’s footsteps. Such things cause him to be perceived as much younger than his nineteen years.

To grow into the person and singer he could be, he might do well to learn from the likes of Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. Both Aguilera and Timberlake enjoyed early success, but they transitioned from being thrust into the spotlight to learning how to stand in it.

JT, much like Bieber, started as a young-faced kid singing “Bye, Bye, Bye” but has moved into a more mature sound with songs like “Mirrors” and has developed seemingly strong, mature professional and personal relationships. Aguilera continues to sing and works with up-and-coming singers through her role on The Voice.

Mobile marketing could learn from successful, older, and wiser marketing strategies and tactics. It shouldn’t copy those things – consider the results of Bieber’s current mode of dress and speech – but it should study them. Mobile marketing needs to build on and become an extension of existing marketing foundations.

Avoid peer pressure

Bieber usually goes astray when he’s surrounded by peers or cameras. It’s the age-old problem of peer pressure, and it isn’t one that disappears as one ages. For Bieber, that means taking time for some introspection and discovering what he stands for – not what his peers stand for or what his manager or his fans wants Bieber to stand for but for what Bieber, on his own two feet, stands for.

Mobile marketing is rife with peer pressure as exemplified by the continued existence of mavens, wizards, ninjas, and rockstars. Such people tout one buzzword solution or another, but all they’re doing is trying to sell their wares, maintain their status or be allowed into an online clique. Mobile marketing has to use caution when it comes to such people and solutions. It has to learn to discern what is trendy – i.e., peer pressure – and what is a legitimate trend.

Embrace what makes them different

Bieber probably hasn’t discovered what makes him different. He’s coasting on the wave of adored teenage personality. The wave will end, and he’ll find himself stranded on a beach. He’ll then have to figure out what makes him unique if he hopes to have a lifelong career in the music business.

Mobile marketing already knows some of the qualities that make it different from other media. It can access different data than a desktop computer can. It also is a more intimate channel. Mobile communication occurs on devices that people keep with them at almost all times of the day.

Capitalizing on those characteristics while remembering to learn from the past and to not get sucked into the world of rockstars and buzzwords is crucial to mobile marketing’s long-term success.

What do you think? Is mobile marketing like Justin Bieber? Why or why not?