No longer a mere prediction of the digital future by starry-eyed theorists, marketing through cell phones is on the scene and growing. In fact, 2007 is the year many say that marketing via cell phones (and through other sorts of mobile devices that are collectively, and rapidly, merging into one technology) will finally come into its own. Advertisers and marketers are adding mobile-marketing programs to their ad budgets and are busy figuring how the new medium is going to work for them.
The relative newness of the medium gives marketers limited choices to reach consumers via their phones. Companies can use traditional ad venues like billboards or TV ads to encourage viewers to text in codesthe function is known as SMS for “short message service”to vote in polls, answer trivia questions or enter contests. Others are placing banners on Web sites (say, Absolut vodka reaching mobile surfers looking for a restaurant on Zagat.com). Meanwhile, those on the leading edge are experimenting with actual programmingcommercials disguised as “mobisodes” (mobile episodes)that run on cell phones just like traditional broadcast or cable content.