Mobile trends seem to come and go more quickly than we can talk about them. But the numbers don't lie. Especially when studying the way people really use their phones.
With three-quarters of the world's population gaining access to a mobile phone, and the number of mobile subscriptions worldwide (6 billion) poised to outnumber people on earth this year, mobile marketing can only continue growing.
Using consumer mobile behavior as a basis, Gartner predicts changes in the following areas:
(1) Bar code marketing as a tactical tool,
(2) Mobile coupon adoption by smart phone users, and
(3) Mainstream adoption of augmented reality.
"Understanding how consumers are using these devices is an important element of understanding mobile's benefits and risks," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. "Mobile technology is the vehicle of immediacy, putting mobile marketers in the critical position of being masters of timing - knowing when and how to drop the right offer at the right time."
Bar code marketing - The latest trends
Experts at Gartner predict mainstream adoption of mobile bar code direct marketing strategies in the next two to five years, due to increased consumer awareness of these types of campaigns.
"Bar codes are increasingly being used in mobile ticketing and check-in applications within the travel and entertainment industries," said the report, adding that the method increased brand loyalty and contributed to a "cutting-edge" brand image.
Mobile coupon adoption
As many industry insiders know, mobile coupon adoption has been slower than expected, yet Gartner's new survey indicates a greater willingness by smart phone users to use them.
For example, the recent launch of Apple's Passbook mobile app, which includes a built-in platform for mobile coupons on the iPhone, may lead to greater adoption.
But as most marketers know, mobile coupons should be just one of multiple e-coupon strategies, designed to reach consumers across many different channels.
Augmented reality - not just a fad?
For some, augmented reality technology seems like just a fad, destined to reach few consumers. But Gartner's study says otherwise, anticipating it will be five to ten years before the technology gains mainstream adoption.
That's because augmented reality's ability to enhance the user experience offers long-term potential as a logical extension of location-based mobile interactions.
Mobile marketing will never be an exact science, but these forecasts offer useful insights for business and enterprise the world over.
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