Sounding Off: Marcelo Salup – Mobile’s Calling. What’s It Saying?

Last Sunday I picked up my paper –the Miami Herald—from my front lawn. There were, easily, five pounds of FSI’s, which got quickly separated from the “real” paper over the kitchen counter and thrown away, along with the sports sections, the 2 or 3 car sales sections and Parade.

Later on, I went to my local Publix supermarket. Let me tell you what I didn’t see. I didn’t see any sign in the milk aisle saying “Text Milk & Oreos to 55555 and get $0.25 off any pack of Oreos today”. I purchased a tube of Colgate Total… I didn’t see any sign that said “Text Wisp to 55555 and get $1.00 off when you try a fourpack”. In fact, I didn’t see any SMS offers in any of the couple of miles of shelves that fills what is a relatively small supermarket in South Gables.

And that is the core of my proposal: marketers are missing the largest opportunity to create loyal consumers since the invention of the coupon.

If I were a marketer, I would be asking myself two questions. First… is the size of the opportunity big enough to make an impact in sales?

– PEW finds that 93% of all adults 18-39 have a mobile phone

– 80% of Hispanics in the same age bracket have one

– According to Comscore, there are 72.8 million mobile internet users, up 31% since a year ago, with the majority of the growth (111%) coming from smartphones, which grew from 17.8 to 37.6 million in just one year

– E-Marketer finds that there are 85.5 million internet users, who account for 27.6% of the population.

Second, will it move the needle?

It is sexy to think of mobile as “the next screen”, but Nielsen found that video watching on the phone remained steadily at 3:37 hours per quarter (vs 158:25 in a “regular” TV (and up from 153:47 from last year). So, that’s miniscule.

Well… people like texting: according to PEW, 72% of all adults currently send and receive text messages. More importantly:

– According to DeLoitte, 53% of smartphone users already compare prices using their phones

– 44% already use them to get coupons and discounts

– Harris Interactive found that 33% of mobile users with children would like to receive alerts from their favorite merchants.

– That 69% of parents with smart phones are interested in grocery coupons and promotions… but only 2% actually get them.

– The same poll found that 52% of these parents would like to get fast food menus and promos

– And 51% would like to get electronic goods and promos.

Yep. Mobile’s calling. And it’s saying “Coupons!”

Marcelo Salup is a strategic planning and media expert with over 25 years of experience in the US, Latin America, Asia and Europe. He has developed integrated strategies for clients such as S.C. Johnson, Nabisco, Embratur, Kingston Technology, Porsche, DIRECTV Mas, BlueCross BlueShield and more.