2 INTRODUCTION Mobile commerce: It’s a reality
By Giselle Abramovich
3 The current state of mobile commerce
By Steve Timpson, Siteminis
5 Mobile commerce: The importance of the end-
By Mike Beech, Acision
6 Mobile is not the tiny Web
By Jason Cianchette, Liquid Wireless
7 Mobile commerce: Leveraging the targeted impulse
By Alan Sultan, Acuity Mobile
8 From the desktop to the mobile phone: Advancing
mobile commerce a single-click at a time
By Michael Dulong, Billing Revolution
10 How content providers can profit from mobile search,
on- and off-deck
By Stephen Burke, MCN
11 How to optimize your Web site for mobile
By Marc Peter, on-Idle
12 Reaching consumers at point of need key to
By Brad Bostic, ChaCha Search
13 How to achieve mobile marketing success with
optimized landing pages
By Kim Ann King, SiteSpect
14 American shoppers turn to coupons during
By Steven Gray, Money Mailer
15 The role of idle screen in driving mobile commerce
By Jon Jackson, Mobile Posse
16 FEATURE Sears wins with mobile commerce
By Giselle Abramovich, Mobile Marketer
18 Mobile banking’s place in the ecosystem
By Michael Foschetti, Mobisix
19 Customer service leads the way in mobile travel
By Gerry Samuels, Mobile Travel Technologies
20 Beyond the handset: Leveraging mobile distribution
points to reach underserved markets
By Moneet Singh, MPower Mobile
21 An evolution revolution: SMS transforms
By Chuck Drake, Clickatell
22 Hate crowds? Want your mobile content to stand out?
Try thinking globally, acting locally and embracing the
By Ray Anderson, Bango
23 Banks and carriers finally realizing the power of
By Matthew Talbot, Sybase 365
24 So, now you have a mobile site. What’s next?
By Richard Eicher, Skycore
25 Personalization: Teenage sex all over again
By Mory Bahar, Personal Remedies
27 Mobile commerce: The Legal Landscape
By Brian W. Esler and David Rice, Miller Nash
28 Mobile sellers face technological and legal challenges
By Gonzalo E. Mon, Kelley Drye & Warren
29 12 tips for building a mobile site
By Marci Troutman, Siteminis
30 Camera-phone mobile commerce
By Rob DeStefano, Mobile Data Systems
31 A universal compliance standard will jump-start the
mobile commerce industry
By Eric Holmen, SmartReply
32 ‘Tis the season for mobile
By Conrad Lisco, 5th Finger
CCLLAASSSSIICC GGUUIIDDEE TTOO
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MMoobbiillee ccoommmmeerrccee:: IItt’’ss aa rreeaalliittyy
PAGE 2 MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE
Mickey Alam Khan
Editor in Chief
Director of Advertising Sales
401 Broadway, Suite 1408
New York, NY 10013
Web site: www.MobileMarketer.com
For newsletter subscriptions:
For advertising rates:
Mobile Marketer covers news and analysis of mobile marketing, media and commerce. The franchise
comprises MobileMarketer.com, the Mobile Marketer Daily newsletter and www.MobileNewsLeader.com.
2008 Napean LLC. All rights reserved.
etail giants Target, Sears and Wal-Mart and fashion houses Chloé,
Dolce & Gabbana and Dior all went mobile this year, proving that
mobile commerce is here to stay.
The launch of the iPhone 3G, BlackBerry Storm and the G1 Android-en-
abled phone proved that this industry is capable of getting over the small-
The fact of the matter is that mobile commerce isn’t just something mar-
keters are dabbing their feet into. They are slowly starting to jump in full-
Retailers such as GameStop are using mobile coupons to drive consumers
in store. If that’s not mobile commerce, I don’t know what is.
I think for the first time we can proudly say that 2008 was the year for mo-
bile commerce. Yes, the channel still has ways to go. Yes, there are still
some consumers who don’t trust mobile. But isn’t that always the case?
Let’s look back to the beginning of the Internet and ecommerce. Consumers
had all the same doubts about ecommerce as they do today with mobile
It was a challenge that the industry faced and ecommerce companies and
the software and technology companies that serve them overcame. The
same will be true for mobile commerce because, let’s face it, it is here and
it isn’t going away.
It’s no exaggeration when I say that mobile commerce will soon change the
shopping habits of consumers just like the Internet already has done.
Remember the mobile channel is more personal than any other and there’s
no doubt that well-thought out mobile commerce sites and services will
strengthen the bonds between brands and consumers.
However, there are still brands and companies that are new-comers to the
mobile commerce space and don’t know where to begin.
This guide aims to help advertising agencies, service providers, site de-
velopers, ad networks, analytics companies and others find their way
around the mobile commerce industry.
The list of contributors to this guide includes representatives from 5th Fin-
ger, Bango, Acision, Acuity Mobile, Billing Revolution, ChaCha, Click-
atell, Kelley Drye & Warren, Liquid Wireless, MCN, Miller Nash, Mobile
Posse, Mobisix, Money Mailer, MPower Mobile, MTT, on-Idle, Personal
Remedies, Siteminis, SiteSpect, Skycore, SmartReply and Sybase 365.
The articles offer best-practice tips, educational points of view and
The case study on retail giant Sears’ mobile strategy is worth reading.
The authors of the 20-plus articles in this guide play a vital role in the mo-
bile commerce ecosystem. Their insights and analysis will help you in your
mobile commerce efforts. We thank these senior executives for their time
and hard work.
To editor in chief Mickey Alam Khan, staff reporter Dan Butcher and di-
rector of ad sales Jodie Solomon: Thank you for your help and guidance in
producing this guide.
A special thanks to Rob DiGioia for his art direction and overall produc-
tion of this guide.
Please read Mobile Marketer’s Classic Guide to Mobile Commerce from
cover to cover and circulate it to your friends, colleagues, clients and
Also, visit http://www.mobilemarketer.com and sign up for our free
newsletters that offer the latest news and analysis on mobile marketing,
media and commerce.
We hope you benefit from this guide and look forward to featuring your
mobile commerce wisdom and work in the next.
Giselle Abramovich firstname.lastname@example.org
By Steve Timpson
In this column, we investigate what’s
available for a traditional Internet site
to use in transitioning to the mobile in-
Most sites transfer their entire content
onto small mobile screens.
Despite the significant buzz about the iPhone and its Internet inter-
face, it suffers inherent issues, including its small screen size, which
must receive content and load from larger PC/Mac formats, minimal
market penetration, and competition from other smartphones in the
This scenario often creates long waits for text, links and function-
ality to load, followed by another significant delay as the images load
on top of one another.
The images shrink to fit the screen
and, in most cases, become
Sites therefore become linear,
meaning that the pages scroll at more
than 20 times the height of the screen
to fit all the content and images.
After the first page loads, pass-
words, usernames, and most function-
ality are clickable but not functional,
meaning that users can click through
to the next screen, but data collection
behind the scenes does not always
work, leaving the user frustrated.
Several different scenarios cur-
rently exist in the mobile commerce
marketplace, yet they still do not pro-
vide a real solution for companies that
want to manage their brand and offer
their consumers a user-friendly inter-
face to view products and make
The Wireless Application Protocol
(WAP) represents the most widely
used solution to date for mobile con-
tent and mobile functionality.
It takes content designed for the
PC/Mac world and forces its con-
formity with the mobile platform,
which requires removing some con-
tent and alienating the original user interface and functionality to make
sites fit the mobile platform.
Specifically, WAP technology removes anything that is not mobile
compatible, often completely destroying the usability, intended flow,
and brand of the site.
With this approach, the mobile Internet provides a difficult interface
for end users and the general public therefore avoids the mobile
Internet Web sites generally are created with one platform in mind,
namely, the PC/Mac world.
The Major League Baseball site (http://wap.mlb.com) provides an
example of an ecommerce site designed for the PC/Mac platform that
has been forced onto a mobile platform through the WAP approach.
All commerce charges sent through this site are added to the cus-
tomer’s phone bill, because the functionality does not flow properly
The .mobi approach
Another commonly used option, .mobi, provides an extension that
retailers and companies may use to guide consumers to a URL that be-
comes, for example, http://url.mobi.
This extension also does not feature any software that rebuilds the
site but instead allows the site to be viewed as it would in WAP or by
pulling all data from the large screen to the smaller screen in smaller,
The BMW mobile site at
http://bmw.mobi offers an example.
Most retailers have not purchased
their .mobi URL, which creates the
concern that any company or individ-
ual could purchase the .mobi exten-
sion of a retailer for its own gain.
If a domain name with the .mobi
extension is available, anyone may
purchase it for their own purposes,
which could result in significant se-
The “one site for all” approach
In this third approach, all content
on a PC/Mac site forces itself into the
mobile application as best as it can,
which simply does not work.
The text and links populate first,
which can take a full two minutes,
and once that process finishes, the
images start to load in, one on top of
another, until the site is completely
pushed into the mobile screen.
The entire site therefore gets
crammed together to fit in a space it
was not designed to fit, creating site
confusion and difficult site
The Bloomingdale’s site at
fers an example. Note that the entire
screen must finish loading before
users may click through to log in.
When a user clicks the next screen, the long loading process for all
data and images follows the same tedious process and so on through-
out the site.
Should users choose to return to a previous page, they discover that
the pages do not cache.
In other words, the information is not stored in the mobile browser
windows and users must again wait for the entire page to reload to view
Each page follows this download process, making it (next page)
MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE PAGE 3
TThhee ccuurrrreenntt ssttaattee ooff mmoobbiillee ccoommmmeerrccee
(from page 3) nearly impossible to navigate sites, let alone buy
Even if consumers know exactly which product they want to pur-
chase, and the exact path to reach it, smartphones still demand an esti-
mated 15 minutes to find the product and add it to a shopping cart,
which rarely works on the small screen.
Thus, the overall effort represents a waste of time and energy and
makes mobile commerce impossibility for most retailers.
Free shipping on mobile commerce
Free shipping on mobile commerce purchases or should I pay more
for the mobile commerce experience?
It is surprising that the question of whether the mobile shopping
experience should differ from that of the normal PC/Mac experience
when it comes to service.
will be a difference in
the user interface due to the screen size.
There will most certainly be differences in the amount of infor-
mation a customer receives or their patience to wait to receive it.
Let’s say for the sake of argument, that the issues of imaging and
functionality are overcome. What remains the same is the drive for
online retailers to improve conversion and expand their market base.
It would seem that the same laws that affect the market place on
the PC/Mac world would be the same in the mobile world.
If you offer free shipping and other discounts to entice shoppers to
buy through your site, you would extend those same offers on the
In fact, the same data-based driven marketing strategies would be
deployed in marketing your mobile site.
Wouldn’t it be great that the user does not have to worry about land-
ing on any other site than your everyday .com page?
The technology is there to do that, but few have moved in that
direction – yet.
In the end, mobile sites will grow based on simple economics, slow
at first and then with the rush as water through a broken dam.
How long that will take is a crap-shoot guess at best right now, but
it will be sooner than you think.
The use of special applications to make sites work and the use of
text marketing to get people to a mobile-optimized site will rise and
then wither away as both Internet commerce owners and users become
comfortable with the technology, security and mostly ease of use.
Therein lays the answer to the question of free shipping.
The mobile commerce strategy will simply be an extension of the
online PC/Mac site and users will expect and demand the same cus-
tomer service on either appliance.
Failure to give the customer that same service will result in a loss
on mobile business over time in a free commerce world.
One question that comes our way every now and then is whether or
not shopping malls will become popular in mobile commerce as they
had in ecommerce.
My opinion is that this method of shopping will not gain in real
popularity, mainly due to the education that retailers got using shopping
sites during the dot-com boom in the late-’90s and early 2000s.
Retailers learned during the growth of their online business that the
real battle for customers was one with traditional strategies of brand-
ing, well-designed and informative Web sites and easily navigated com-
Why spend money building some other company’s brand or lose
valuable margin dollars that could be just as easily pock-
Certainly the next big play for commerce
sites is through mobile commerce.
These portals should be extensions of
the Web site itself and not through some
other portal or URL that may be unfa-
miliar to the user.
It would be easier to use their exist-
ing Internet platform and IT capabilities
to manage the mobile site just as they do
with their base site.
The bigger question becomes how on-
line retailing addresses the needs and concerns
of the mobile shopper.
In the same way the shop bots or online
shopping malls filled a need to the online con-
sumer, there may be a slight rise in mobile shopping malls
in the short term depending on how fast retailers develop mobile shop-
ping sites that are more robust than just text.
This is especially true when it comes to functionality and shopping.
If retailers are slow to embrace the mobile world, then, a sharp wire-
less carrier may develop an easy interface for shopability that makes
their site more attractive or easier to use than the online retailer, there-
fore giving rise to a short-term lift of shopping mall type sites on the
But, just as with the ecommerce changes we saw in the past, retail-
ers will eventually side-step this process for their own branding strat-
egy and the ability to keep more of their own margin in their
Customers comfortable shopping behind retailer’s URL
This has been accomplished through better security, better ecom-
merce and better delivery of goods.
My sense is that most customers want to dial in the retailers do-
main and do their commerce there.
If they need additional information, they are going to Google the
topic and work backwards until they have found the information, prod-
uct or pricing they need.
Steve Timpson is chief operating officer of Siteminis, Marietta, GA.
Reach him at email@example.com
PAGE 4 MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE
By Mike Beech
s Apple has demonstrated time and again, most recently with the
iPhone 3G, the end-user experience makes a real difference to the ac-
ceptance of any product or service.
For mobile commerce, it will be essential to create a simple yet secure user
experience in order to facilitate any widespread acceptance of the service.
Without an easy to use, but secure experience, mobile commerce will re-
main all talk and no action.
Using a mobile wallet
Many mobile phones have long had the capability to store “cash” within the
phone itself, the so-called mobile wallet.
In Finland, home of Nokia, mobile handset users have been able to buy
Coke from vending machines for many years.
Yet we haven’t seen this expand to many other services, nor have we seen
it expand, to any great extent, on a worldwide basis.
While the idea sounds easy to use, users have to “load” cash onto their
phone. The actual purchase procedure can be a cumbersome and an unwieldy
Many wireless carriers around the world have experimented with both mo-
bile wallets and other forms of payment, such as premium SMS.
In Singapore, one of the carriers conducted extensive field trials, using four
different mechanisms with a small user group in each part of the city.
The trial included mobile wallets, premium SMS and links through to their
mobile accounts. Their goal was to find the one approach that worked best.
Their findings were that all of the approaches were too time-consuming and dif-
ficult for end users.
Not one technique passed the trial stage.
Wave and pay
A model gaining popularity is the simple “wave and pay” concept, using
Near Field Communications (NFC).
Here the phone still has a mobile wallet, but payment is made easier as you
only need to “wave” your phone at the point of sale.
While NFC only has a range of a few centimeters, some fear this payment
method is so simple, you could walk down a street and unknowingly pay for
everyone else’s purchases.
While security is an issue in this approach, at least elements of simplicity
are being proposed.
Beyond retail payments
Of course, so far we have only considered the use of the mobile phone as
a payment instrument in a standard retail outlet.
When using the phone as an alternative way of accessing online retailers,
different problems arise.
Most existing Internet sites do not work well on the majority of
Put simply, the screen size and
lack of a mouse and keyboard inter-
face makes using most online sites
difficult, to say the least.
As covered by other articles in this
guide, online sites need to be designed for
the phone to be successful, which is in itself a
Phones vary in their own capabilities and particularly screen size, from the
iPhone or T-Mobile’s G1 (both geared for online access) to the more basic
handsets with very limited functionality and small screens.
Apple has shown that it can move a successful online site (iTunes) to the
However, not all Web site creators have the luxury of owning their own
phone as well.
Obviously, carriers are in a stronger position here and should be looking to
encourage other site developers as well as building their own portals.
Using your mobile phone account
In considering the end-user experience, we should look at one of the key
parts of a mobile phone – the already established payment method.
End-users are familiar with paying a monthly bill (on contract) or topping
up their phone with cash in advance (prepaid).
Having mobile commerce activity tap into this existing payment infra-
structure will help the usability and improve the perception of security.
Prepaid and post-paid accounts both offer advantages to the end-user ex-
perience for mobile commerce.
With post-paid, I have a readymade “monthly bill.” With prepaid, I can set
limits on my spending (by the amount I top-up) and can keep track of what I
have left in real-time.
In both cases, if a phone is lost or stolen, the carrier is able to block the
phone and stop any unauthorized transactions being applied to the account.
Also in both cases, I can have a full and detailed record of all my purchases.
The carrier can provide this to me as a regular statement or as an online,
self-service record that I can check at any time.
And I have avoided the need to create yet another account or another way
to load a payments instrument with cash.
The ultimate experience?
What end-user experience is the market looking for?
It has to be simple and secure, easy to use but, if the worst happens, easy
So consider this:
I take my purchases to the checkout and wave my phone at the register
when the goods have been scanned through.
My phone shows me a list of the goods, the amount of each, all the taxes
and, of course, the total amount.
If I am using a prepaid account for this, I would expect to see my starting
balance at the top and my remaining balance at the bottom.
I click “OK” and then maybe I am asked to confirm or even enter a PIN
(perhaps based on the total amount of the transaction).
At the end of the month, whether I prepaid or post-paid, I get my “mobile
All transactions are listed in detail, with totals for each transaction. Of
course, this is available online to check at any time and is updated in real-time,
so I always know where I am.
And what if my purchase was online? The collection into my basket obvi-
ously needs to be tailored, but the check-out and payment I want exactly the
same way. Nice and simple.
Mike Beech is vice president at Plano, TX-based Acision LLC. Reach him at
TThhee iimmppoorrttaannccee ooff tthhee eenndd--uusseerr eexxppeerriieennccee
MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE PAGE 5
By Jason Cianchette
enerally people think of mobile
as the tiny Web. They believe
that mobile devices have tiny
screens, tiny banner ads and tiny audi-
ences that generate tiny revenue.
Mobile is far from tiny and may
soon surpass the Internet in significance.
Like all new mediums, a fresh ap-
proach must be created to change the
way we think about mobile.
When a new medium is introduced, there tends to be a lot of un-
certainty in how to best leverage the functionality of the
In the mid 1990s, much of Web commerce
was made up of an electronic display of print cat-
alog content, sometimes even in the form of
Companies did not know how to fully use the
features that the Internet had to offer.
In time, the true power of the Web was un-
derstood and ecommerce sites began implement-
ing more sophisticated functionality such as
recommendations and user-generated ratings
Today, the new medium is the mobile phone.
Mobile phones currently have small screens
and slow download connections compared to
This leads many marketers and site designers
to create mobile experiences that are small,
stripped down versions of their Web sites.
Mobile, however, has much more to offer
than people realize.
A true paradigm shift is necessary. Some
ways that this can be done is to develop new
ideas that exploit the power and potential of the
How could this work?
One way is to create purchase opportunities
at new times and places.
For example, my brand affinity for Procter &
Gamble-owned personal hygiene brand Gillette
is highest each time my favorite team, the New
England Patriots, plays at Gillette stadium.
Mobile can provide a great opportunity to let
fans like me buy new blades during a game by
sending a text message in between plays.
In addition, many of the Web’s advanced
commerce features can be brought to physical re-
tail stores using mobile.
For instance, while shopping for a new
printer at Staples, I could have reviews and rat-
ings on the models available right on my
Furthermore, Staples could also give me per-
sonalized in-store recommendations based on my
previous purchases with the company.
Mobile also offers a fast channel to send targeted rewards.
For example, companies such as hotel chain Sheraton can use mo-
bile to enhance their loyalty marketing programs.
While in New York, Sheraton could send me offers based on my
current location and transaction history.
Using my mobile device, I could redeem an offer to get tickets to a
Broadway show with my Sheraton rewards points.
As marketers begin embracing the unique capabilities of the mobile
platform, we will start enjoying new and exciting commerce opportu-
nities that go well beyond the tiny Web.
Jason Cianchette is president of Boston-based Liquid Wireless. Reach
him at firstname.lastname@example.org
PAGE 6 MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE
MMoobbiillee iiss nnoott tthhee ttiinnyy WWeebb
By Alan Sultan
obile commerce certainly presents tremendous opportunities
for retailers to engage customers in more meaningful trans-
actions that are highly relevant to the customer, thus result-
ing in increased sales.
How does mobile enable this?
Mobile can deliver spot relevance –
the ability to deliver the right marketing
content, to the right person, at the right
time, in the right location.
To provide such a precise level of
communication, business intelligence is
captured or forecasted covering three
major dimensions to determine spot rele-
vance including user data, business data
User data includes inputting the iden-
tified interests (what they like) and activities (what they do) of the tar-
get group as obtained from prior market research activities.
The location can be determined using technology such as GPS.
Business data such as organizational goals and historical transac-
tions are also important to include.
Finally, leveraging any major wireless communications technology
such as WiFi, WiMAX, GSM or CDMA allows real-time decision-
making as the precise time-of-day data is captured in order to optimize
who is reached and how often.
All of this information is entered into or captured by an intelligent
preference engine which uses sophisticated statistical techniques and
predictive algorithms to determine the optimal content or offer on an in-
Prospects, customers and mobile commerce organizations are key
beneficiaries of spot relevance.
Prospects and customers value highly that they receive only com-
pelling offers or content of interest whenever they want and not the
digital spam that is too prevalent with current ecommerce marketing.
Mobile commerce organizations gain deep, measurable business
analysis in real time to understand what compels prospects and current
customers to purchase, plus how to engage customers in a meaningful,
Spot relevance can be delivered working within private networks
and with select carriers. So the time is now to start testing it as part of
your mobile commerce plans.
Alan Sultan is president of Washington-based Acuity Mobile.
Reach him at email@example.com
MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE PAGE 7
LLeevveerraaggiinngg tthhee ttaarrggeetteedd iimmppuullssee ppuurrcchhaassee ooppppoorrttuunniittyy
By Michael Dulong
t seems like only yesterday that consumers were
reticent to engage in ecommerce due to security
That was until Amazon paved the way toward
mass ecommerce nearly 13 years ago.
A lot has happened since those early days.
Mobile commerce, while still early in its life-
cycle, appears to be moving much more quickly
than ecommerce in terms of consumer adoption and
And when you really think about mobile commerce
and its many forms (credit-card billing, carrier billing,
PSMS, credit cards and mobile “wallets”) it makes sense that
consumers are only now beginning to make mobile purchases. Mobile
Web adoption is the required first step toward a scalable mobile com-
According to a white paper recently released by Nielsen Co., “The
United States is the global leader in mobile Internet adoption, with 40
million U.S. mobile subscribers (15.6 percent) actively using the mo-
bile Internet.” The paper further addresses that “9.2 million United
States mobile subscribers have used their phone to pay for goods or
Entering the age of “single-click” mobile commerce
Before getting into the details of what “single click” mobile com-
merce is all about, let’s consider how this is first handled with desktop
computers, which is basically transacted through tracking cookies.
Some phones have cookies turned on, some off, some carriers sup-
port, some do not.
In order to scale single-click mobile commerce, the technology
leveraged will need to function across all handsets and networks
whether the handset has cookies enabled or disabled.
To solve this dilemma, companies need a technology that enables
single-click mobile commerce across all phones and all networks with-
out requiring users to enter a user name or PIN code.
The technology involved would essentially license the handset for
“Access” in a digital sense could be to a download URL or, in a
physical instance this could involve order fulfillment and
Hey, wait a minute!
You might think this sounds a lot like ecom-
merce. And in fact you’d be right.
The mobile Web is the Internet being accessed
by a phone and eventually we will all own a larger
screen, Web-enabled smartphone, which will be
our preferred way of accessing the Internet.
The truth of the matter is the mobile consumer
is already making purchases and the mobile indus-
try will need to keep pace with this new behavior.
The single-click purchase experience is a glimpse
of the future.
Someday, we will all have a smartphone and we won’t
think twice about whipping out our credit card to make the same types
of purchases we take for granted on the Internet.
At first it will be digital goods, then impulse purchases and finally
major purchases of physical goods, which is something that everyone
can get excited about.
Without question, the future is bright for mobile commerce and a
single-click technology platform is the one solution to drive benefits to
all the stakeholders.
Consumers will enjoy the added convenience of mobile shopping.
Carriers can optimize the mobile purchase experience and enjoy sig-
nificantly increased data revenues, and merchants can extend their
shopping experiences to mobile.
Beyond that, publishers and ad networks can run commerce-en-
abled mobile ad campaigns and deliver improved return on investment.
With all of these benefits and consumer adoption increasing
quickly, the industry is entering a period of truly explosive growth.
Understand this is just the beginning of a natural evolution of the
digital medium from the fixed desktop to the mobile phone.
Consumers will ultimately lead the charge in this effort and help to
usher in a new standard for mobile commerce exchange.
Michael Dulong is senior vice
president of business development
at Billing Revolution, Seattle.
Reach him at
PAGE 8 MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE
FFrroomm tthhee ddeesskkttoopp ttoo mmoobbiillee pphhoonnee::
AAddvvaanncciinngg mmoobbiillee ccoommmmeerrccee aa ssiinnggllee--cclliicckk aatt aa ttiimmee
By Stephen Burke
Mobile users don’t buy what they
Content providers can’t survive if they
have to spend more of their marketing
budgets on costly, imprecise mass media and Web promotions or hit
and miss mobile pay-per-impression (PPI) campaigns in order to cap-
ture user interest in the ever-widening mobile Web.
This is especially true as the trend from on-portal content sales to
off-portal accelerates in the United States and as new mobile commerce
initiatives get under way.
In the early days of the mobile Web, carriers — rightly — sought
to control content access within walled gardens to ensure reliability and
a common user experience.
Content providers lined up to get “on deck,” creating pileups in op-
erator waiting rooms.
With recent advances in network capacity, data pricing, devices,
applications and standards, the U.S. is poised to rapidly follow the
trends set in Japan and in Britain.
In these countries the ratio of on- and off-portal content discovery
has flipped in the past two years and off-portal sites now dominate
Even more dramatic in Japan is the growth of mobile commerce,
which overtook mobile content sales in 2007 and will generate nearly
$6 billion in revenue this year versus $3 billion in mobile content
How will U.S. content and ecommerce providers profit? By grab-
bing space in the emerging “mobile malls” that are being deployed by
carriers and portals.
Mobile malls that are building clear pathways — on the phone top
and the WAP portal – to information search powered by Web giants
such as Google and Yahoo, as well as to high-value search merchan-
Search merchandising services are services that leverage new tech-
nical advances such as federated search and new content promotion
programs that reach users at the moment of highest interest in
Federated search solutions create direct connections to any content
sources (on- and off- portal) in real-time, and in any number of verti-
cal content channels (music, video, games and shopping).
Queries are brokered out to relevant sources, and actionable content
items—not endless links—are presented to the user in two to three
clicks, ranked and sorted in terms of relevance and value.
Federated search combined with new performance based pay-per-
click (PPC) content promotion programs to reach users directly at the
instant they want to buy cool stuff with their phone.
This eliminates costly and complex keyword bidding and campaign
management and ensures that if the content provider’s database has a
piece of content relevant to the query it will be presented to users who
are primed to buy.
Shorter click distance + relevant content items (not links) = higher
click throughs, conversions and return on investment.
With federated search and PPC content promotion at their disposal,
content providers can manage search engine optimization within their
own databases, leverage limited marketing budgets directly against
users at the moment of highest interest in a transaction, and maintain a
profitable position in high-traffic mobile malls.
Stephen Burke is the Tokyo-based senior vice president of marketing
for MCN Inc., a mobile search platform provider. Reach him at
PAGE 10 MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE
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By Marc Peter
here is still a marked difference be-
tween mobile usage in Japan and
Europe, where in the Far East,
i-mode services (e.g. localized restaurant
bookings) are ubiquitous, but not as
widely used in Europe.
I-mode is a mobile Internet service
that is popular in Japan.
Unlike WAP, i-mode covers more In-
ternet standards, like Web access, email and the network that delivers
I-mode users have access to various services such as email, sports
results, weather forecasts, games, financial services and ticket
Content is provided by specialized services, typically from the mo-
bile carrier, which allows them to have tighter control over billing.
The iPhone has changed user perception of browsing the Internet
via mobile, with the overarching question: Why should there be a dif-
ference between PC Web and mobile Web?
When site owners first started to investigate the possibility of mo-
bile sites, the ensuing and internal debate with developers was to go
down the WAP path or optimize a specific Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)
but use the HTML protocol.
Mobile is becoming a standard alternative CSS that develops in
much the same way as catering for different accessible site versions.
Thus, WAP has been somewhat forsaken and the focus has shifted
to learning design principles for small screens and narrowband
Most Web-enabled phones have native browsers, therefore existing
CSS and HTML displays – supported where relevant by the site’s con-
tent management system (CMS).
For every mobile site, a thorough analysis is completed on what
users need – information, commerce, interaction – and a typical set of
users identified, leading to the lowest common denominator
These are invariably Windows Mobile (Internet Explorer) on a mo-
bile phone screen – and the success or failure of a mobile site will be
determined by the graphical user interface (GUI) and ability of the user
to navigate content.
A mobile site is effectively a Web site that is specifically designed
to display on as small a screen as possible – a second skin – then de-
tect the user agent and serve up the relevant CSS design dependent on
whether a user is accessing the site from a mobile device, PDA or PC
It is important to display mobile sites as single-column pages. Mo-
bile screens are simply too small for multiple-column displays and look
different on various devices.
Remove any elements that are not supported by the native Web
browser. For example, Flash. All images should be reduced in size as
much as possible, in consideration of both screen size and band-
The most complex part of developing a mobile site is redefining
the location and structure of navigation.
On large and multilingual sites, the navigation can fill an
Breadcrumbs and “back” and “Quick Links” below page content
are invaluable to the user, and facilitate the separation of navigation
A search function is vital on large sites
As with all developments, test for optimum display and function-
ality on relevant operating systems (Mac OSX+ and Windows 2000,
XP and Vista) and Web browsers (Internet Explorer 6+, Firefox 2.5+,
Safari 2+), as well as mobile devices.
Physically test on various PDAs, smartphones and Web-enabled
mobile phones to ensure any anomalies that the PC simulators have
The one unresolved issue is for multiple language character set dis-
play on the same mobile/PDA interface: a device bought in China will
not natively display English or Cyrillic character sets (Arabic, Russ-
ian, Greek) and vice versa.
The user must install the relevant character sets. It’s laborious, but
solvable. Clients should be aware of the issue.
Marc Peter is creative director at Web design and development
company on-Idle, London. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE PAGE 11
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By Brad Bostic
n-the-go mobile users want quick rel-
evant answers and solutions to their
Due to the inherent limitations of Web-en-
abled mobile devices – small screens, slower
connectivity and browser downloading capa-
bilities – mobile marketers have to make the
most of their limited interaction with mobile
These on-the-go mobile users aren’t, in
most cases, interested in surfing the Web –
they’ve got a specific need and turn to their
Web-enabled mobile devices to find a quick
answer. So, how do mobile marketers reach
these consumers at their point of need?
There are numerous mobile search vendors
in the marketplace today offering mobile users
Internet search capabilities.
But the problem is, typical mobile infor-
mation services only provide algorithmic
search results, which translates to links to
But now, mobile marketers have the op-
portunity to capitalize on the game-changing technology that is revo-
lutionizing mobile marketing – human assisted mobile answers.
With mobile answers, consumers can quickly find spe-
cific answers to specific queries and mobile mar-
keters can reach them at their point of
Say you’re visiting
and in dire
need of a
you have no
idea where the
You call 411
or use mobile
search and they lo-
cate 15 outlets in
Or, imagine this –
you call or text your
question on your mobile
phone and a friendly
“guide” not only tells you the
exact location of the closest cof-
fee house, but also provides you with a dis-
count code to use at that coffee house.
Want to know where and when a certain
feature film is playing? Using mobile an-
swers, a human guide provides the answer and
at the same time asks you if you’d like to pur-
Hmmm…you’ve heard a song on the
radio, but you didn’t catch the song
title…with mobile answers you can simply
provide the guide with a few of the lyrics.
Within minutes, the guide gives you the
song title and artist and asks you if you’d like
to purchase the CD or download an MP3
This is smart mobile marketing — reach-
ing consumers at their point of need in a tar-
geted, relevant way — versus the intrusive,
shotgun approach of non-solicited
Through the magic of mobile answers,
mobile marketers are able to view behavioral
patterns, intent to buy, promotion responsive-
ness, brand affinity and other key metrics.
Tech-savvy mobile users – espe-
cially the 18-24-year-old
crowd – have widely em-
technology, so it’s
a natural fit for
keters to harness
the power of
to reach them in
a method with
which they are
so much so that
they can be equated to a
diary or to a personal
For marketers, this presents an extraordinary op-
portunity to carry on an intimate dialogue through highly
targeted marketing to a massive group of consumers.
Brad Bostic is president and cofounder of ChaCha Search Inc., Carmel,
IN. Reach him at email@example.com
PAGE 12 MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE
RReeaacchhiinngg ccoonnssuummeerrssaatt ppooiinntt ooff nneeeedd kkeeyy ttoo mmoobbiillee ccoommmmeerrccee
By Kim Ann King
It’s no longer a question – con-
sumers are increasingly using
their mobile devices to access
Organizations are quickly learn-
ing that mobile commerce comes
with unique challenges around
screen size, lack of navigation and
One way to maximize your return on investment around mobile
marketing initiatives is to create savvy mobile landing pages that help
increase conversion rates.
Seven best practices
When building mobile landing pages, there are seven best practices
to follow. While there is plenty of advice on this, this list condenses
the key takeaways:
1) Write a clear, concise and compelling headline and offer copy
that speaks to your audience’s problem. For example: “Hungry? Try
our new $1.99 chicken fajitas!”
2) Include an image of the offer for visual appeal.
3) Create minimal navigation to minimize distraction
and potential opt-out.
4) Keep the look and feel of your primary Web site
so consumers will immediately recognize your brand.
5) Don’t forget a compelling call to action that
should tie in to the offer. For example, coupons for the
scrumptious chicken fajita offer above could have a
call-to-action such as “Redeem now!”
6) Minimize data collection – it’s hard to fill out
forms on a mobile device.
7) But if you do include data collection, also include
a privacy statement to help establish trust.
Questions to ask when designing your mobile
When thinking about the seven best practices
above, you will want to ask yourself the following
1) Is the headline/copy/imagery compelling?
2) Are we selling the offer (recommended) or the
company/product (not recommended). In other words,
does the offer focus on audience pain or is it self-
3) Is the new mobile landing page taking advantage
of our keywords and ad groups?
4) Is there a humongous form to fill out? Can we
streamline that or get rid of it?
5) If we must include a form, are the questions on it
relevant to the buying cycle? For example, if you are
sending a mobile commerce offer to a consumer who
hasn’t even heard of you or doesn’t have the problem
you are trying to solve, it won’t be very effective.
6) Did we include a relevant, visually appealing image
7) Is the copy scannable? Are there bullets or call-outs, much like
8) Do we need a privacy statement?
OK, you have built your mobile landing page, your mobile com-
merce offer is out there and consumers are taking advantage of it.
Now what do you do?
Now is not the time to rest on your laurels.
You will want to test, measure and revise continuously to make sure
you are maximizing each and every campaign.
Consider a non-intrusive mobile multivariate testing solution in
order to test and track factors such as copy/text, offers and
images/graphics. Good luck!
Kim Ann King is chief marketing officer at SiteSpect, Boston.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE PAGE 13
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ooppttiimmiizzeedd llaannddiinngg ppaaggeess
TTRRYY RR NNUU
RREEDDEEEEMM NNOOWW 44
TTHHEE CCLLUUCCKK SSTTOOPP
By Steven Gray
s consumers continue to feel the pinch from
today’s economic pressures, an increasing
amount of American shoppers are turning to
coupons as an effective cost-cutting measure.
In fact, recent reports and studies show that for the
first time in more than a decade coupon usage is on
For marketers who are taking advantage of the
coupon trend, mobile coupons are a natural extension of
their mail, print and point-of-purchase coupon pieces,
among other communications.
“Going mobile” helps advertisers reinforce messages with con-
sumers who are becoming increasingly dependent on their mobile
phones, especially the highly coveted 18-34 age demographic.
In a recent ABI Research study, 38 percent of consumers indicated
that mobile incentives would increase their response, while 32 percent
of those polled indicated that incentives probably would increase
In the same study, 63 percent of respondents selected coupons to
local retailers as their marketing incentive and message of choice.
More than half of those polled, 52 percent, selected discounts at a
store as their second choice of incentive.
Among the tech-savvy 18-34 age demographic, the study found that
70 percent of mobile coupon redemptions were from members of this
The rise in publishing of coupons on the Web and their increase in
use are also key indicators that consumers and businesses alike are
ready for mobile couponing.
The number of people turning to the Web for coupons has soared to
38.6 million in 2008, an increase of 13 million people from 2005.
With this type of momentum, there is little doubt that Web-enabled
and mobile text digital coupons are here to stay and will provide mo-
bile publishers a promising source of revenue in the years ahead.
Even more direct than traditional mail or online pieces, mobile
coupons present advertisers the chance to draw-in consumers who are
progressively more comfortable using their mobile phones.
Whether “pushed” out to consumers through a text message or
made available on mobile phones through the Web, mobile coupons
provide advertisers new consumer touch points, including at the point
Similar to other offers, mobile couponing is a measurable market-
ing tactic with a direct call to action. Yet, the convenience and ease of
use of mobile coupons distinguish them as a perfect alternative media
for reaching different audiences.
Plus, mobile coupons fulfill the all-important relevancy and timely
factors that marketers crave.
They are relevant because those using them have opted-in to re-
ceive the offer.
Also, they are timely for both consumers and advertisers, made
available when consumers are ready to buy, and brought to market in
an instant as advertisers seek to increase sales with new products
Mobile coupons are a lower-cost complement to other mediums
such as one-to-one direct mail, ranging from eight cents
to 30 cents per message, depending on the size of the
Moreover, the incremental benefit of mobile coupons
on marketing campaigns can have a major impact on
revenues and profits.
Although relatively still new, direct marketers are
clinging to the technology as the next “big thing”
In general, mobile coupons are a welcome comple-
ment to the efforts many advertisers have underway with
their call-to-action messages offering discounts and provide a practical
way of connecting with customers wherever they might be
Steven Gray is chief operating officer of Garden Grove, CA-based
Money Mailer. Reach him at email@example.com
PAGE 14 MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE
ttuurrnn ttoo ccoouuppoonnss dduurriinngg eeccoonnoommiicc sslloowwddoowwnn
By Jon Jackson
s the number of mobile phones
per capita approaches 100 percent
or higher in some parts of the
world, there is no doubt that mobile
phones have become an indispensable
part of a consumer’s daily life.
Increasingly, innovative ways are
being created to help consumers conduct
commerce using their mobile devices,
from paying tolls to purchasing vending
machine products to replacing charge
cards when shopping for groceries.
These uses all require additional hard-
ware and functionality to be built in to the
handset. This means it will take time to
reach the masses.
The industry needs a way to effectively communicate with the masses
and make it easy for consumers to conduct mobile commerce now.
Most consumers have never purchased anything on their phones
What is needed is a solution that provides visibility to products and
services on the phone and in the physical world – an idle screen-based mo-
bile advertising solution offers just that opportunity.
When implemented with the support of service providers, idle screen-
based delivery of graphically rich and interactive marketing messages can
help brands and marketers establish a dialog with consumers that don’t
subscribe to or use data services.
Simplicity and ease of use are paramount
By driving discovery and visibility of products and services at the idle
screen level, with calls to action that are easy to respond to with the press
of a key, even a lay person can quickly start conducting commerce using
their mobile phone.
Particularly compelling are services and products that can be consumed
on the mobile phone itself, such as ringtones, wallpapers and
By providing offers or information about such mobile content through
idle-screen messaging, where one click provides a subscriber with more
information and an opportunity to download or purchase the product.
This makes a positive experience for the consumer and delivers com-
pelling results for the advertiser.
Consumers are generally inseparable from their mobile phones
By delivering coupons or offers on their mobile phones when they are
out and about, the likelihood that a marketer can influence consumer be-
havior and help drive them into a retail location is vastly increased.
Consumers like to save, whether it is saving money when ordering
pizza or getting a discount on an oil change for their car or buying flowers
for a loved one.
As a recent example of successful engagement through idle screen-
based ad delivery, Jiffy Lube ran a campaign which offered $10 off a Jiffy
Lube Signature Service in select markets.
Over the four week duration of this campaign using the Cricket Perks
program, the click-through rate averaged at 22.8 percent and unique sub-
scriber engagement was 56.3 percent.
According to Jiffy Lube representative
Janice Jack, “Cricket Perks has given us
the ability to make an instant connection
with consumers while they are mobile and
more likely to respond to an offer by sim-
ply bringing in their mobile phone to one
of our locations. We like the simplicity of
this approach – no coupons to clip.”
As illustrated by the success achieved
by this and numerous other similar cam-
paigns, the idle-screen engagement-based
solution provides the necessary platform
that can enable mass adoption and growth
for mobile commerce.
Jon Jackson is CEO of McLean, VA-based Mobile Posse. Reach him at
MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE PAGE 15
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By Giselle Abramovich
hen a department store giant such as Sears is using mobile
to complement its existing multichannel strategy, the mo-
bile commerce channel can be taken a bit more seriously.
Sears was seeing an increasing amount of mobile traffic on
http://www.sears.com, but the experience was not the greatest. This is
when the retail giant came to Usablenet to fix the problem.
“With increasing proliferation of robust mobile devices such as the
iPhone, BlackBerry, G1 et cetera, we believe users will start using
their phones for a lot more data-centric activities such as online
browsing and shopping,” said Ravi Acharya, director of Sears’ online
“We are starting to observe early trends where certain users rely on
their mobile device more than their PCs and laptops when traveling,”
he said. “Coupling industry trends with our core multichannel
strengths, we believe that providing our customers with valuable
tools on their mobile devices will encourage richer and relevant
Sears Holdings Corp. is the nation's fourth largest retailer with more
than $50 billion in annual revenues and approximately 3,800 full-line
and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada.
Key proprietary brands include Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard,
and a broad apparel offering including such well-known labels as
Lands' End, Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer.
Sears2go, the mobile commerce site, targets people on the go. Sears’
new mobile presence is meant to make it easier to cut out the holiday
shopping hassles and shop from the convenience of a mobile phone.
More of Sears’ customers are relying on their mobile device as their
primary means of email and Web usage. They are the retailer’s target
Sears2go showcases products in the following categories: apparel,
electronics and computers, fitness and sports, jewelry, tools, toys and
games. Users can buy these items right on the site.
“Sears is a phenomenal example of mobile commerce,” said Nick
Taylor, president of Usablenet, New York. “Sears has leveraged a
very powerful Web site and allowed customers to seamlessly and
successfully access Sears.com from any mobile phone for full
“A good example is the idea of a customer being able to order some-
thing for delivery or for pick-up in a store and an SMS is sent letting
the customer know the product is ready for pick-up,” he said.
“They've picked functionality that's very valuable on their site and el-
egantly extended to the mobile phone where this is such a relevant
The usage pattern from people on the go is best served by providing
a simple, fast experience that enables them to find and buy products
with minimal distractions.
The way people shop on their phone is much more surgical than on
the Web, people want to get in, transact and get out.
There will also be additional ways to get people excited about spe-
cific products and deals that will land them closer to the products
they are looking for, thus reducing the number of clicks they would
need to go through on a mobile device.
The mobile commerce site isn’t Sears’ first foray into mobile.
In the past, the company has tested 2D barcode scans from in-store to
retrieve product reviews and other information.
SSeeaarrss wwiinnss wwiitthh mmoobbiillee ccoommmmeerrccee
PAGE 16 MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE
Sears was also part of a large integrated marketing campaign this
summer to support the launch of the Incredible Hulk movie. This was
essentially a three-week text-to-win contest in partnership with
Kmart, Universal Studios and Marvel comics that had very positive
For over a year now, Sears has had SMS deals and alerts that inform
customers when their products purchased online are available for in-
store pickup, or a weekly deal is promoted.
Sears also has alerts at certain Sears Auto centers to let customers
know when their cars are ready for pickup after servicing.
“Why wouldn't a company with a Web site allow its customers to buy
products and services however they'd like?” Mr. Taylor said. “Espe-
cially in an economy like today's.
“In one month, Sears has already found success via Sears Mobile in
every single state in the country, which is staggering,” he said. “It
shows that people everywhere, in every state and demographic are
ready for mobile commerce.”
Research shows that millions of Americans are going to Web sites
from mobile phones, often to shop or buy products and services.
The success of the iPhone and the entire corresponding buzz has
made mobile Web and mobile commerce even more of an expecta-
tion for people everywhere.
Mobile commerce cut its teeth in the travel sector (examples: Ameri-
can Airlines, Starwood and Amtrak) over the last couple years, but
now it’s a proven channel for commerce across all sectors including
Increasingly, mobile commerce will be a basic expectation.
This trajectory will get steeper very quickly.
Consumers are mobile, now more than ever before, and it’s becoming
the first screen for absolutely everything people do.
There is a new, sophisticated device coming out every single day to
make mobile commerce even easier, more comprehensive and more
Companies will have to support their mobile customers and provide
mobile commerce or face the possibility of losing customers who
will buy something more easily and quickly elsewhere – from their
There is also this idea of consumers beginning to settle on the mobile
sites that they know they can successfully navigate and buy from.
Companies will prefer to be one of these sites, rather than a site
branded as non-mobile.
“We believe the mobile channel will support our multichannel
strategy very effectively,” Mr. Acharya said. “As mobile devices
evolve into the most personalized, first-screen point of contact, this
channel will be highly relevant in providing our customers with an
easy way of interacting with Sears.
“Mobile can also be a natural bridge across our various channels –
e.g. stores, online and print – to provide customers with a seamless,
integrated experience,” he said.
What’s Sears’ mobile strategy going forward?
“We are constantly exploring customer mobile usage patterns in
alignment with technology trends and testing various concepts and
applications that offer value,” Mr. Acharya said. “These could trans-
late into richer and more integrated user experiences for our cus-
tomers in various areas around commerce and support.”
MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE PAGE 17
By Michael Foschetti
keen interest exists in financial institutions across the country
to develop innovative new ways of engaging current and po-
tential customers with mobile to drive sales and improve
Many banks have taken the most logical first step into mobile: De-
ploying mobile banking servicing platforms, whether through browser,
SMS, downloadable applications, or a combination of one or more
These institutions are in a race to deploy and continue adding to
these platforms, as well as to encourage frequent customer usage.
But the mobile community is still struggling with how to extend
mobile banking and where it exists in the ecosystem.
Advanced applications and technologies hold great promise, but are
still in the development and testing stages.
Despite slower than expected adoption, the marketplace is primed
for mobile banking to take off.
have improved their so-
lutions and platforms.
Lastly, devices and net-
works are continually evolving to a
higher level of sophistication and speed.
Mobile banking provides a service that banks have not been able to
offer previously – quicker, more efficient access to account information
– and adds a strategic point of differentiation to those institutions that
do offer it.
It also helps banks extend their reach to new customer segments
that are typically more mobile-savvy, such as younger demographics
and U.S. Hispanics.
Audiences such as these look for different service offerings than
the older, Anglo demographic and mobile banking is becoming almost
a requirement for them.
This second stage of mobile banking will see more alerts and noti-
fications, funds-transfer services and location finders, as well as more
bill-pay functions and two-way, actionable alerts.
Currently, Visa is testing a notification system where customers re-
ceive a text message as soon as charges are made anywhere in
The message can show the date, time, dollar amount, merchant
name, location and clickable link for telephone support.
Banks have the option to customize the message with the wording,
the information that is included and whether a fee is charged for the
service or not.
Long-term, the desire is to make those messages two-way, allow-
ing customers to act on something in the message or respond if the
charge was not made by them.
The landscape for mobile banking is going to continue to change
and evolve from all sides over the next few years.
Banks and wireless carriers are starting to collaborate, working with
handset manufacturers to include applications on devices before acti-
vation by subscribers.
Platforms and user interfaces will continue to be improved as banks
aim for a better balance of simplicity and security.
Vendors and technology providers will be consolidated as platforms
become more consistent across banks and carriers.
Consumers will continue to become more comfortable and recep-
tive to mobile banking, realizing how much more efficient it is.
They will begin to look for increased service offerings and better
user experiences from their financial institutions, and mobile banking’s
place in the ecosystem will no longer be so questionable.
Michael Foschetti is managing director at Mobisix, Charlotte, NC.
Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
PAGE 18 MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE
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By Gerry Samuels
ith more than 500 million mobile In-
ternet users worldwide, and this fig-
ure expected to triple by 2013, the
mobile Web is growing at a phenomenal rate.
Whilst travel suppliers need to keep pace
with new developments, they also need to
ensure they match the provision of services
to customer acceptance of this relatively
Mobile Web sites can offer the full
functionality of the traditional Web plus
additional mobile-specific features.
However, what customers want to ac-
cess on a mobile is different to what
they want to access on a PC.
When travel suppliers and inter-
mediaries embrace this they find mo-
bile to be an ideal means to deliver
certain services that fit the context
and provide a layer of differentia-
tion over their competitors.
For example, combining online
and mobile services means a cus-
tomer can book on the Web then
push the booking to their
Hotel guests can then re-
trieve their booking on mobile
and see directions and maps to
help them find their hotel.
They can also amend
bookings on-the-go should
their plans change.
Airline customers can
check flight status, pur-
chase additional services,
select their on-board seat
from graphical seat maps
and even check-in.
From the mobile travel
services MTT has already
developed for travel
clients, we are already see-
ing up to 10 percent of the
number of unique users on
the regular Web site ac-
cessing the site on mobile.
In the United States, large
carriers have over 100,000 unique ac-
cesses per month, a trend which is growing by
up to 20 percent per month.
Geographic location and differing costs to access the mobile Inter-
net will of course affect to what extent this
medium is used.
In markets where there is a low
cost to access the mobile Internet, for
example, Britain (one pound per
mobile screen accessed), there is
high mobile Internet access of up
to 30 percent of mobile phone sub-
In other markets, where access
costs can be three to four times that
cost, access is lower.
Similarly, in some developing mar-
kets such as India and China, where
mobile Internet is the Internet for many
people, we are seeing the development
of mobile commerce, i.e. people making
reservations on mobiles, perhaps in ad-
vance of other parts of the world.
Whilst mobile services are currently
being used mainly as a positive cus-
tomer innovation, they also offer travel
suppliers the potential to reduce costs –
for example, where a traveler can self-
modify a booking rather than having to
contact a call center, and also have the po-
tential to deliver incremental ancillary
Looking ahead, as consumers’ confi-
dence and familiarity with mobile Internet
grows and as mobile data charges increas-
ingly become bundled as part of monthly tar-
iffs, mobile commerce is likely to expand.
be on enhanc-
ing their cus-
whilst on the go
rather than simply
developing a full
bile version of their
PC Web site.
Gerry Samuels is the
founder and executive di-
rector of Mobile Travel Tech-
nologies Ltd., Dublin, Ireland.
Reach him at email@example.com
MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE PAGE 19
lleeaaddss tthhee wwaayy iinn mmoobbiillee ttrraavveell WWeebb aaddooppttiioonn
ith 3.4 billion subscribers worldwide and service spanning 90
percent of the globe, mobile phones are the most quickly
adopted device in world history.
In fact, mobile phones have leapfrogged traditional telecommunica-
tion networks to flourish in rural areas where landline penetration has
long been stagnant at 5-10 percent.
Mobile technology’s increasing ubiquity presents an unprecedented
opportunity to deliver marketing messages and products in untapped
markets where television, bricks-and-mortar institutions and even postal
mail services have found it difficult to find a foothold.
Mobile networks in underserved markets provide marketers in all in-
dustries with two main channels for interacting with consumers.
The first is, of course, the handset itself.
Mobile banking and mobile payment networks have already demon-
strated the tremendous potential for engaging underserved consumers
via SMS technology, putting financial services within reach of the
world’s 2 billion un-banked and under-banked individuals.
In Kenya alone, Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile payments service has
facilitated $145 million in transactions among 1.6 million consumers.
The second channel, which remains relatively unexplored by mar-
keters, is the complex web of mobile distribution points that have been
integral in driving mobile phones’ rapid adoption.
These distribution points emerge organically, helmed by local entre-
preneurs offering mobile solutions that
best meet their neighbor’s usage habits.
For example, Safaricom relies on di-
rect sales agents who circulate in neigh-
borhoods and villages selling top-ups
for airtime or servicing mobile
Similarly, Grameenphone operates
the national Village Phone program in
rural India and Bangladesh, in which
villagers essentially become wireless
carriers by renting minutes to neighbors.
Such agent networks are an ideal
marketing and distribution platform for marketers of all industries, as
they reach underserved consumers where they live and work, and in-
volve highly personal transactions with agents they’ve grown to know
Thinking of mobile agents and carriers as a roving point-of-sale net-
work, companies can deploy advertising campaigns utilizing agents as
Their frequent interaction with hard-to-reach consumers makes them
extremely effective local partners for distributing advertisements, edu-
cating consumers about products or displaying your brand.
Coupon and sampling campaigns are another potential use of mobile
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, for example, could
arm these agents with traditional print or SMS coupons and even
To incorporate cross-promotion, the CPG company and mobile car-
rier – or the agent on their own – could offer free minutes for every prod-
uct sold as a result of these coupons.
Another angle to take toward this opportunity involves the engage-
ment of mobile distribution agents as a sales force and delivery channel
for your products and services.
Enlisting these agents to sell insurance, to act as a local reseller for
small products such as toothpaste, to distribute catalogs and take orders,
or to become a "shipping center" for express mail creates a mutually ben-
eficial business relationship.
The end customer can use his mobile or cash to complete such
In this relationship, your company serves the long tail, entering or
achieving greater efficiencies within underserved markets, and local en-
trepreneurs can in turn grow their businesses and increase loyalty by pro-
viding mobile customers with added value.
With such trusted partnerships in place, your product may enjoy
adoption as rapid as that of mobile technology itself.
Moneet Singh is the president and chief operating officer of Austin, TX-
based MPower Mobile. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
PAGE 20 MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE
BBeeyyoonndd tthhee hhaannddsseett::
LLeevveerraaggiinngg mmoobbiillee ddiissttrriibbuuttiioonn ppooiinnttss ttoo rreeaacchh uunnddeerrsseerrvveedd mmaarrkkeettss
By Moneet Singh
By Chuck Drake
nline commerce sent con-
sumers and businesses into a
frenzy of purchasing in a new,
more convenient way.
Initially named ecommerce, it changed our lives overnight and soon
everything received the online moniker including online marketing, on-
line sales, purchasing and payments.
Even Congress got into the act with hearings about the potential tax
revenues that might be reaped, propelling lobbyists into high gear.
Now, rocking the world again, mobile commerce is replacing the
PC with the mobile phone and replacing email with text messaging.
Consumers who once went gaga because they could accomplish
their bill paying online or receive email receipts for Christmas goods
can now do even more, via simple text messaging, all while they wait
in line or stop for coffee.
Today, the mobile commerce landscape is rapidly changing as the
masses text constantly (let’s face it, “text” is already a verb).
The early adopters depend on mobile banking and transaction alerts
via SMS. Those on the bleeding edge make payments and money trans-
fers, reload prepaid cards and gain purchase rewards – all via SMS.
Two concurrent developments in mobile technology made
First, everyone owns a mobile phone.
Even in countries where landlines never made it into the home and
computers were never plugged in, people depend on their
There are 1.3 billion Internet users globally and 3.4 billion mobile
phone subscribers. In some countries, mobile phone penetration has
reached 140 percent, which works out to be 1.5 mobile phones
Second, all mobile phones come equipped with SMS.
Text messaging has slowly crept into the practices of all
demographics so that now, everyone from middle school stu-
dents needing a ride home to grandparents wishing a friend
well text away everyday.
Because of this massive proliferation across the globe and
across demographics, SMS has reached and will continue to
reach more people than perhaps any other communications
channel available on any medium.
In the mid-twentieth century, credit cards revolutionized
commerce by putting real purchasing power in consumers’
wallets without needing to haul around a bucket of cash.
Imagine not needing a wallet at all to wield such power.
SMS can help turn mobile phones into mobile wallets
without needing to dig the plastic out of its slot.
Following the pace of ecommerce, mobile commerce is
only beginning to experience widespread deployment.
The masses will soon be performing all transactions dis-
cussed in this article. Soon, early adopters will receive ac-
tionable alerts for mobile receipts and rewards via SMS for
Near Field Communications transactions.
Before long, those people on the leading edge will se-
cure on the spot credit to make point-of-sale purchases and
eliminate the need for debit cards, enabling mobile pur-
chases via SMS on-the-spot.
The numbers suggest that mobile phones will indeed be-
come the “wallet” of choice as big brands, smart technology
vendors, banks, retailers and consumers continue to make
According to Juniper Research, mobile payments and
mobile money transfers will generate transactions worth
$600 billion by 2013. That is a number worth taking to the
Chuck Drake is executive vice president of marketing at
Clickatell, San Francisco. Reach him at
MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE PAGE 21
AAnn eevvoolluuttiioonn rreevvoolluuttiioonn::
SSMMSS ttrraannssffoorrmmss mmoobbiillee ccoommmmeerrccee
By Ray Anderson
he scenario has become all too familiar among content
providers: Company A has a presence on a major carrier’s por-
tal but its content sits alongside its competitors.
How can Company A stand out from the crowd and capture new
The answer is new, yet has a familiar feel.
Using the mobile Web as a platform for a direct-to-consumer site
not only can help you attract new customers, it also provides consumers
with the same “Web-like” user experience as on-portal.
By placing banner ads on the portal, businesses can drive traffic to
the off-portal site where they have complete control over how their
content is marketed to the consumer.
Here are just some of the advantages of having an off-portal
• Marketing programs such as banner ads or search marketing can
drive traffic to the site and the success of these campaigns can be
tracked, making it easy to see immediately which promotions yielded
the highest rates of return.
• A direct-to-consumer (D2C) mobile Web site works across all ge-
ographic locations, but can be localized for specific markets so the con-
tent is in the right language, is relevant and appealing for a
• The point of payment and download on the mobile Web can be
tightly coupled into one seamless WAP flow, leading to fewer support
problems with refund levels as low as 0.1 percent of all downloads.
Both subscriptions and pay-per-download payment methods can be
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), a global sports entertain-
ment brand with millions of fans around the world, launched an off-
portal mobile site of original made-for-mobile content to complement
its television and consumer product offerings.
WWE turned to the mobile Web, so that fans anywhere in the world,
on any network, could access and pay for content on their mobile
Within 4 months of launching the service, WWE reached con-
sumers from more than 40 countries purchasing an array of content
through more than 110 carriers around the world. WWE fans said they
were drawn to the WAP site because it provides a mini-Web
An example of a mobile company that is reaping the benefits of di-
rect-to-consumer is Dada Entertainment. New York-based Dada, a joint
venture between Dada, USA and Sony BMG, was the first company to
offer both ringtones and DRM-free full-length MP3s for mobile and
PC paid directly via the mobile phone.
Dada Entertainment cites the ability to offer a seamless payment
experience, which in turn increases consumer satisfaction and decreases
billing errors, as big positives for direct-to-consumer.
“A mobile Web business allows us to work di-
rectly with our consumers,” said Max Pel-
legrini, CEO of Dada Entertainment.
“Dada.net can offer a complete
mobile music service – cus-
tomers can download and pay
for their music all through
their mobile phones,” he said.
“With over 65 percent of all
new phones purchased in the
United States as music-en-
abled, it makes sense for a
new company like ours to be
As the demand for digital
content and the numbers of con-
sumers using the mobile Internet
continue to rise, content providers see
the value of going D2C via the mobile
Using the mobile Web, consumers can purchase and download a
variety of digital content as easily as they do on the PC Internet.
Many brands are realizing that by integrating the promotion of the
mobile service with the rest of the mainstream marketing, it is true that
“if you build it – they will come!”
Ray Anderson is Cambridge, England-based CEO of Bango, a mobile
Internet services provider. Reach him at email@example.com
PAGE 22 MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE
HHaattee ccrroowwddss??WWaanntt yyoouurr mmoobbiillee ccoonntteenntt ttoo ssttaanndd oouutt?? TTrryy tthhiinnkkiinngg
gglloobbaallllyy,, aaccttiinngg llooccaallllyy aanndd eemmbbrraacciinngg tthhee mmoobbiillee WWeebb
By Matthew Talbot
he mobile industry has been discussing mobile banking services
and mobile payments for more than 10 years, and finally we will
begin to see financial institutions fully exploit the potential of
Consumers have become increasingly sophisticated and
are demanding easier access to their finances. Gone are
the days of branch banking and paying by check.
Consumers and corporate clients are now look-
ing to access financial services without time, loca-
tion or device restrictions.
Like Internet banking and electronic pay-
ments, mobile commerce is a way for banks—and
even wireless carriers—to create new service of-
ferings with the potential for creating new revenue
streams or cost-saving opportunities.
Banks have been testing and launching mobile
commerce products since the mid- to late 1990s. After
the first faltering steps of WAP banking, banks often re-
stricted themselves to simple push information and marketing
alert services. These alerts services, when promoted, have been ex-
tremely successful for banks over the last five years.
In the last few years, we have seen a small number of banks ex-
panding their service offering beyond the simple one-way push alerts,
both as a response to consumer demands and to address business is-
sues for banks—including information requests and security
A great example is on-demand account balance via the mobile
phone. Up to 60 percent of calls to a bank’s call center involve an ac-
count balance request. If a bank moves even a fraction of these calls to
the mobile channel, there are clear cost benefits for the bank as well as
a better customer experience.
As banks and carriers expand their portfolio of mobile products and
services, they will need to break out of the single channel approach and
offer services via multiple channels (SMS, Java, BREW and WAP) to
address both the limitations and reach of a particular channel, balanced
against consumer preference and confidence in individual modes
The roots of mobile payments can be traced back to the first pre-
mium-rate telephone services to the mobile ringtone business launched
Today, these mobile payment options still flourish in the market-
place, but have been complemented by a range of new mobile payment
services – including mobile top-ups, credit cards, direct debit and mo-
bile wallets – incorporating the likes of remittance products.
While these services have, so far, come from small independent
companies and are geographically based, it is clear that these services
are a natural extension of traditional banking products and payment in-
struments, positioning banks and carriers as best placed to deliver such
products to their customers.
The ubiquitous nature of the mobile device creates the opportu-
nity for new products and services, and one such product is mobile
remittances. The official remittance market today is worth over
With mobile as the predominant communication tool in the
key remittance markets ofAsia,Africa, the Middle East and
Latin America, it is no surprise that remittances have
been extended to mobile.
As with the expansion of mobile banking serv-
ices, the range of mobile payments services will
expand as consumer confidence increases in mo-
bile as a payment instrument.
Future developments, including using the mo-
bile for Near Field Communications (NFC) trans-
actions such as transportation, ticketing and
payment for digital and physical goods, will only
serve to increase this confidence.
Mobile commerce, a young but rapidly-growing
segment, is already providing glimpses into what will cer-
tainly become a major means of day-to-day commerce for bil-
lions of consumers and enterprises worldwide.
It is inevitable that the world evolves from a Web model to a mo-
bile browsing model.
With the maturity gained by growing from an experimental chan-
nel to a core customer channel, consistency of experience, reliability
and product offering will be of even greater importance.
Matthew Talbot is the Singapore-based vice president of mobile
commerce at Sybase 365. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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ffiinnaallllyy rreeaalliizziinngg tthhee ppoowweerr ooff mmoobbiillee ccoommmmeerrccee
MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE PAGE 23
By Richard Eicher
emember the early days
of the Internet when all
you needed was a Web
site and you got lots of traffic?
It didn’t take long before the number of Web sites grew ex-
ponentially and with it the competition for visitors.
So too will competition grow for visitors to your mo-
bile Internet site.
Site discovery and repeat visits should be con-
sidered fundamental tasks in your mobile com-
merce and marketing plans.
Three important vehicles include messaging,
mobile search and cross-platform advertising.
Messaging can drive traffic to your mobile site
and foster customer interaction.
Campaigns are easy to create and messaging is fa-
miliar to the recipient.
Through your messaging provider, create an SMS or
MMS message including a clickable link to your mobile site.
Choose custom keywords and create a messaging call-to-action.
Promote your keywords in print and broadcast. Add links to your
Web site. For broad reach, promote in mass-market media.
For select markets, target by media type or geographic areas, such
as a specific retail departments in certain cities.
Messaging can also be used for post-transaction confirmations and
With your customer’s opt-in, use these messages to
offer alert subscriptions and related content and
SMS or MMS?
It depends on your objective.
SMS is less expensive but limited to 160 charac-
ters. MMS is more expensive but can include thou-
sands of characters plus images, audio and
The typical search is conducted through search en-
gines, content discovery services, Q&A services and di-
rectory services initiated through mobile browsers,
downloaded client applications and voice or text requests.
There are many ways to have your mobile site
Increasing search visibility
will vary by service and requires
However, most important is to
have your site designed specifi-
cally for mobile devices.
For search engine search engine optimization, carefully follow the
provider’s guidelines, including mobile sitemap submission.
One of the best places to advertise your mobile site is within the
mobile space itself.
This audience is generally mobile savvy and often has mes-
saging and data plans to use mobile services with little or
no concern for airtime charges.
Options include banner, text and image ads on
mobile Internet sites, including content publishers
and social networks, sponsored mobile search
links, advertising in mobile content and sponsor-
ing or creating your own applications and con-
tent delivered through subscription services for
Using cross-channel advertising has proven
to be very effective.
List your URL on your Web site and include a
send-to-phone link using SMS or MMS.
Promote your keyword in print and broadcast to ini-
tiate a text-to-shortcode or optical (e.g., 2D barcode) call-to-
Most importantly, be sure your site is quick and easy to access, op-
timize it for the majority of handsets and offer timely content and serv-
ices of real value to your audience.
Richard Eicher is president of Skycore LLC, Boston. Reach him at
PAGE 24 MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE
SSoo,, yyoouu hhaavvee aa mmoobbiillee ssiittee..
By Mory Bahar
nce again we are reminded of an old analogy. Personalization is like teenage
sex: Everybody is talking about it, very few are actually experiencing it and
of the few who do, hardly anyone knows how to do it well.
Whether we call it personalization or not, most of us recognize its importance:
Presenting content that resonates with the audience of one.
Personalization is also making offers that tie to the personal needs and desires
of the recipient. Also, it is tailoring an ad to the profile and perceived needs of the
specific individual viewing the ad.
What is personalization?
By personalization, we mean that the content we present, the ad that we display,
or the offer we make to an individual is relevant to, sensitive to, and important to
that individual's profile and preferences.
For example, Amazon.com attempts to personalize its offers to me based on
previous books that I have purchased. Two different people can log onto their Ama-
zon accounts and get totally different offers. It is not perfect personalization but it
is an excellent example.
Why is personalization important and relevant to the
Since mobile phones are personal devices, personalization of messages, ads,
offers and content makes sense for mobile marketers. It is a great opportunity for a
business when communicating with an individual.
Increasingly mobile users will expect to receive offers, ads and content that is
relevant to their personal situation.
This scenario is in contrast to the content, ad or offer most businesses make on
their Web site or other media where everyone sees the same thing.
In addition, since the mobile platform is very limited on space and speed, as mo-
bile marketers we have no choice but to be selective and show the content that is
most relevant to the individual.
We don’t have the space, and the individual doesn’t have the patience to scroll
through pages and pages of content.
For example, on my laptop Amazon can recommend 10 books to me on one
page. But on the mobile platform they may be limited to featuring just one book.
In this case, they need to make a much more intelligent decision on what to
show me based on my personal profile and preferences.
In search of a common understanding
In absence of any other standard, here is my proposal on various levels of per-
The first level is take it or leave it. It is when there has been no attempt to take
you and your preferences into account. This is how the network television, radio,
publishers and many mobile and Web content providers continue to operate. You get
whatever they planned for you.
The next level is context-sensitive. Based on the context, marketers make some
assumptions about the viewer. The message is then tailored based on those as-
For example, ads for tennis gear could be shown during the televised Wimble-
don matches. Note however that the ad that the viewer sees is no different from any
other individual watching the same match.
In addition, the assumption made about the viewer may be inaccurate. Just be-
cause it is women’s finals, does not mean that the viewer is a woman.
The next level is menu of choices. There are many content providers, portals
and publishers who claim personalization of content, yet all they provide is a menu
of choices to select from.
Here, the individual gets a menu and gets to choose, as you would select from
a menu at a restaurant. You get to select the dish you want, but they get to decide
what is on the menu and how each dish is prepared.
For example, on a finance portal, I pick the stocks that I want to follow and the
publisher displays the price and volume data for those stocks.
On the wired Web, I select “High Cholesterol” as my topic of interest, and
WebMD, periodically, sends me an online collection of
articles that are somehow connected to that topic. Is this level of personalization
Imagine you are in the old Soviet Union. You are handed a list of jobs or careers
that a central committee has decided that the country needs and you get to pick one.
Do you want your career choices be limited to the imagination of the comrades
of the central committee who made the list? Probably not. The “menu” reflects their
preferences, not yours.
And the solution is not just adding to the number of items on the menu. Would
you be content with eHarmony.com to present to you all candidates in their database,
male and female, young and old, local and international?
You as the marketer must help me the individual, by reducing the menu to a
manageable subset of all the available choices based on my personal preferences.
To do this, however, you would need to first learn about me and my
The next level is personalization. Using the restaurant analogy again, here the
patron can ask for something that is not on the menu, or gets to tweak the recipe
(e.g., no salt, more garlic, olive oil instead of butter).
I tell the finance site what I have in my portfolio – how many shares of which
stocks and it can now tell me how much I made (or more likely lost) in the market
Naturally, we cannot provide this level of personalization unless the mobile
user is willing to tell us about his or her preferences and we have the tools and tech-
nology to deliver on the higher expectation.
If WebMD can send me one newsletter that focuses only on adult males who
have high cholesterol, very high triglyceride, family history of prostate cancer and
like to lose couple of pounds (i.e., my personal profile) then that would be consid-
Incidentally, this type of need is what motivated me and my partners to create
The last level is intimacy. Using the restaurant analogy again, at this level the
patron does not need to make any choices or tweak any recipes.
This is because the waiter already recognizes the patron and serves to his taste
without being told.
Last year, a friend invited me to lunch at his favorite restaurant. His usual drink
along with the side drink arrived at the same time as we were seated.
If I clicked on the sport icon on my mobile phone and it recognized that it is me,
it is fall, it is Monday night and it automatically tuned into Monday Night Football
(without me explicitly programming it to do so) then that is an example of intimacy.
Mobile phones and personalization provide mobile marketer the best chance to
target individuals and deliver most relevant and high impact ads, offers, informa-
tion and services.
Increasingly, mobile users will demand it.
To deliver an acceptable form of personalization we need to move beyond the
primitive forms of context-sensitive and menu of choices.
To personalize, we must get to know the individual prospects and customers.
We need to learn about or just ask them their preferences, validate our assumptions
about them, take into account their behavior and then generate offers, ads, content
and service that respect their individuality.
Achieving more advanced forms of personalization will not be easy.
It may require a total redesign for many mobile and Web businesses and con-
tent providers. Some businesses like publishers and portals may find this transition
But for many other businesses, based on unique profile of their customers and
prospects, they can tailor their ads and offers, and tie them to most relevant prod-
ucts, features and options.
Mory Bahar is the president/CEO of Personal Remedies LLC, Boston. Reach him
TTeeeennaaggee sseexx aallll oovveerr aaggaaiinn
MOBILE MARKETERʼS CLASSIC GUIDE TO MOBILE COMMERCE PAGE 25
2009 BUYERS’ GUIDE >>>
The definitive vendor resource for purchase-empowered
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