Even though 2009 may not be the most hotly anticipated year of mobile, the mobile channel has been rapidly developing as a serious communications channel for marketers. You only have to look around in the industry, sniff out a few recent and ongoing mobile compaigns, and you’ll see plenty of major brands out there experimenting and pushing the mobile envelope, and doing some pretty interesting stuff. 

You’d need to include in any current market assessment of mobile the growing popularity of smart phones, the launch of many new models by the big handset manufacturers, the sudden proliferation of tweets using Twitter, the rise of a plethora of applications to support the iPhone and other such devices.

There is also the fact that the mighty Google machine launched its own open source Android platform to carve out its share of the market, taken on by next generation Symbian (Nokia runs on this and bought the company) whose software and functionality is also heading towards open source, and we can see mobile is finally becoming a serious medium. 

If you’re currently looking at mobile marketing activities, here are just some of the things you ought to be considering in your plans:

  • Mobile billboard/poster advertising by integrating mobile with outdoor display using bluetooth or simple SMS, mobile proximity marketing campaigns.
  • Mobile phone campaigns, where you can set up calls from celebrities and personalise them to friends and colleagues. Samuel L Jackson was very popular for promoting “Snakes on a Plane” when it came out, and it’s still one of the best of its kind.
  • Innovative SMS texting as part of a promotion or campaign. The Terminator TV series had a great use of texting by running a Terminator killer campaign using location data.
  • WAP sites tied into mobile ad campaigns. Take a look at some of the great mobile sites developed by the big car brands like Mercedes and BMW, and how they use the medium effectively.
  • Mobile photo submissions for competitions and to encourage mobile UGC on WAP sites and websites. This is an area that is going to grow massively, we feel.
  • Mobile content creation, for give aways, as part of broader digital campaigns, particularly the use of videos. Check out the innovative Lynx campaigns with its weapons of mass seduction.
  • Mobile promotions and competitions with simple mobile entry, responses and giveaways. Orange Wednesdays is a long standing mobile campaign that has high awareness.
  • Mobile news and updates for those who want immediate information, particularly fanzine type mobile sites for music artists.
  • QR codes are already highly popular in Asia, particularly in countries like Japan and South Korea, soon to happen here and change the face of couponing.
  • Developing your own mobile apps for the iPhone and other devices. Many companies are developing these now.
  • M-commerce opportunities and mobile payments. It doesn’t just have to be the big guys like ebay in on this business.

If you’re looking for ideas from great campaigns check out MobiAdNews.

In China and India, mobile has already become incredibly significant (2009 could well be the year of mobile in these markets). M-commerce is now widely used across these markets, and mobile has become the predominant means of accessing the web for millions of people, with laptops and desktops too expensive for the masses. You would  have to look to more sophisticated countries like South Korea and Japan if you’re seeking a glimpse of how mobile is likely to fit into a more complex digital landscape like ours, and where we’re heading.

It’s perhaps more than a mere coincidence that BMW promoted its mobile expert Marc Mielau to Head of Digital Media, thereby recognising how important mobile has already become to their business. It may even be an indication that those who are currently getting to grips with the new mobile marketing opportunities and tools today could soon be sitting at the helm of the plummest digital jobs in the not so distant future.

To find out more about where mobile is heading and what’s going on with this fascinating medium, why not join us at our next Econsultancy Mobile Marketing Training course, which takes place in London on 17 June.