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The history of mobile marketing

Mobile marketing is an evolving market with an interesting history. Looking at the history of mobile marketing can help you better understand where it is and where it is headed, thus allowing you to better form a plan for your marketing campaign.

Mobile marketing had humble beginnings, it started with personalized ring tones. This is when cellular or mobile phones were first growing in use, and people wanted to add their own ring tones to them. The transactions took place on the phone, and bills were charged with the phone bill. This was a good system because it meant easy to reach content and applications.

Of course, it did not stop there, iPhone launched in 2007. This was the first prominent web-enabled phone. Instead of using phones for talking, some texting, and a picture or two, phones because content consumption devices. iPhone broke ground in being a content consumption device, and paved the way for others. What was different? What it offered, now phones are offering more than ring tones, although you can get those too. The iPhone introduced two new concepts, the first is using you phone like you would a desktop. They did this with Safari. The second was having a store right on your phone, which they did with iTunes and the App Store.

Apple opened the door for new modes of marketing that helps to engage their audience with branded applications. It means mobile phones are now mobile devices, as they do a lot more than just call. The key, however, was tight integration between hardware, software, and services. You buy it, use it, and store it, all on the one device.

Today, over 25% of mobile users have smart phones, and the number continues to grow. In addition you can see substantial growth in mobile Internet usage. From checking blogs, sport scores, browsing trends, checking stock market indexes, etc. More and more people are using their smart phone as they would a personal computer.

Users are talking less, and using more data-centric functions like texting, social networks, etc. to communicate. This means fewer ring tone sales, but that was not the end of mobile marketing, rather it opened up a whole new market. Sure people aren't paying a few dollars for a snippet of a song to use as a ring tone any more, but they are buying books, magazine subscriptions, applications, games, etc. all to use on their mobile devices.

Understanding this history can help you see that while the device has changed, the consumer has changed, and what is being consumed has changed, the one thing that hasn't changed, and likely will never change is that something is being consumed. It went from ring tones for a few bucks a pop, to you name it, you can probably find it, and the prices vary greatly, from under a dollar, to much more.

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