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The Beginning of the Mobile Takeover

(This is a guest article by Michael Coco)

We all strive on the ability to obtain information when and how we want it; and it is becoming more and more popular to receive that information through our mobile devices. Millions of people use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and many other social networking sites every day. The question is, would we use them as much, or at all, if they weren’t available on our cellular devices? With the addition of 4th Generation wireless networks offering speeds that surpass traditional DSL Lines, we now have the ability to do more than we ever imagined. Although stringent mobile marketing tactics may seem like a distant thought for most, several organizations have already begun implementing them.

Much like many other professional ball clubs, the New Orleans Hornets have a pretty standard mobile marketing campaign. On a fairly regular basis they send out text messages informing their fans of the latest news and happenings around the league. However, It’s not their marketing campaign that’s drawing attention. The Hornets have recently implemented a system called Microsoft Dynamics CRM and used it to create a mobile application for their scouts. This app enables the scouts to store information on the players they’re watching in real time and load it into a database for instant evaluation. The database is then used to rank players based on a standard set of criteria allowing the front office to easily sort through potential draft picks before every round. I think we will see this type of technology catching on fast once the Hornets prove its effectiveness in the 2010 NBA Draft.

If you want a real life working example, the best one that comes to mind is Real Madrid. This European soccer powerhouse is well known for its play on the field, but what they are accomplishing with their revolutionary mobile marketing campaign surpasses even that.  The team has been working with mobile technology for the past few years. The recent campaigns have seen so much success that Real has created a fully functional marketing division called Real Madrid Mobile. This department has launched a state of the art mobile platform called MyMadrid which offers fans access to live news feeds, game updates, ticket purchasing information and in game video feeds.  They are even working to expand the possibilities of MyMadrid by offering Live TV feeds, Player Info. and merchandise links.

While there is a lot of focus overseas, there are also many teams here in the US that utilize mobile technology to keep fans connected. The Phoenix Coyotes, for example, recently implemented a mobile marketing campaign using Thwapr. This company allows them to send and receive mobile video via text message.  Using this technology they are able to interact with fans on a more personal level and bring them closer to the action than ever before. The National Football League is doing something similar by taking advantage of their new deal with Verizon Wireless. The League has allowed Verizon to give its customers the ultimate football experience on their mobile devices. Once the season kicks off they will have full access to live feeds of all Sunday and Thursday Night football match-ups. Not to mention, game highlights and special NFL inside access privileges. They also promise to offer even more content once their 4G service kicks-off. Believe it or not the US Men’s Polo team even uses Mobile Media to connect with its fans. If that’s not enough to make you see that the technology is here, I don’t know what is.

Do you think mobile media is killing traditional forms of marketing? Eventually will there even be a need for live events? It may be hard to swallow for some, but I believe it is already happening.  In the near future we will see more and more fans using mobile devices at games to supplement what their seeing on the field, and unless you’re on board with the newest way to market your brand, you could be left behind.


Michael Coco is an Event Coordinator at Octagon Sports Marketing who has been working in sports nearly all his life. Getting his start with a well established sports publication entitled South Louisiana Sports Scene, Michael steadily has built upon his passion and knowledge of the industry. Michael, aka Coco, specializes in marketing and event planning and has done work with various organizations including, the New Orleans Zephyrs as a marketing and community relations Associate. He currently resides in the Chicagoland area but is a Southern boy at heart and is always up for a good conversation. If you feel obliged to reach out, you can connect with him on Twitter @michaelcoco or LinkedIn

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19 Responses to The Beginning of the Mobile Takeover

  1. David Fuller June 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    Having been involved with various kinds of mobile marketing in Australia, Europe and the US over the last 10 years, I have found that giving phrases like 'mobile marketing' don't help the discussion.

    It's just another screen that is connected to the internet via IP. The only thing that mobile potentially adds to the equation is context, but most people who develop for mobile don't take advantage of the properties specific to mobile devices, rather they replicate their fixed internet offers on a smaller screen size.

    It is less important to think about the technology platform and think more about the user. The process should be seamless. If I am on my phone the session should be the same session as when I left my computer, however the service should be able to use the new context related data that sits on the Android chipset for example to contextualise my experience.

    Perhaps when augmented reality really takes off and utilises some of the functionality specific to mobile devices it will 'take over' but even then, it will need to be seamless transition between devices.

  2. Sara June 3, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    I tend to agree with David. In Europe, 'mobile marketing' has come and gone, only to be integrated into online marketing or digital marketing. To try and create another category doesn't make a lot of sense unless you are really using location and other pieces of context data as part of it.

    I'm also not sure if the Real Madrid is marketing? It's an app. It's got some live features, but seems like it is just another media channel, not marketing as such.

    Mobile is also not new to the US. WAP solutions were available back in 1999 and sports like the American le Mans Series were using SMS for updates, competitions and as a feeback channel for their streaming radio way back in 2004. Kangaroo TV has been around for a while and used by NASCAR to give people at the event extra media options.

    As for the end of live events – there are a lot of people who depend on ticket revenues, hotel nights and other event revenues that will be interested to see how you can make mobile generate enough income to replace that money.

  3. Sam June 3, 2010 at 11:19 pm #

    “It's just another screen that is connected to the internet via IP. The only thing that mobile potentially adds to the equation is context, but most people who develop for mobile don't take advantage of the properties specific to mobile devices, rather they replicate their fixed internet offers on a smaller screen size. “

    I can relate to that a lot. So many companies do the same tried and true things that they've been doing on their websites and cram it into a 3.5 screen (if you're lucky) but it doesn't work that way. How we use mobile internet vs “traditional” internet is totally different.

    One of my favorite examples are shopping mall websites. On a personal computer, I might want to check out some of their events, extra information, their latest promotions, so on so forth. But on a phone, I am probably close to the mall, and wondering A) what time they close, and B) if they have the store I'm looking for. All that stuff about where Santa Claus is going to be is just wasting my time.

    There have been small steps in improvement for use on the mobile web (WPTouch plugin for wordpress, are some of the ones I've come across) but in my humble opinion, I don't quite think we're there yet. But like Michael says, it's coming.

  4. Michael Coco June 4, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    I appreciate all the comments and would like to thank you guys for the additional info. I always appreciate a good rebuttle! I agree with you guys in the sence that Mobile still has to come a long way before it actually takes over but the potential is certainly there and much like socail media is taking over traditional forms of media I believe that mobile will eventually take over a large piece of the marketing puzzle.

    When I mentioned that mobile marketing would take the place of live events I meant grassroot marketing events not live sporting events. Nothing will ever be able to take the place of the sporting event itself, if that happened their would be nothing to market.

    If you disagree feel free to reach out to me because I would love to discuss it in more detail. Thanks again for the comments!

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