Bag and Bricks: Mobile Marketing in the 90’s

Marketing has been around since the beginning of time, it was nameless, and no one had marketed marketing. The Oxford English Dictionary recognized the word marketing in 1884 and from there it has only grown and developed into the powerhouse that is today. When looking back at marketing in the 1900’s and comparing it to marketing in 2013 it is clear the entire process has changed completely.  One thing has remained constant and that is the goal of marketing. Google says it best.

Marketing is, “The action or business of promoting and selling products or services”.

Marketing has and will always continue to improve and adapt based on technology, but will still accomplish the simple goal of promoting and driving sales.  This basic principle is important to understand and remember especially as we move in to the Mobile Marketing Era.

When looking at the Mobile Marketing Era, it is important to look at the technology behind it. We must recognize how that technology has conditioned us in order to utilize it as a marketing tool.  Thinking back to the “bag” and “brick” mobile devices of yesteryear we need to understand how consumers were conditioned early on to become prime candidates for marketing’s message.

Even in the early years of mobile phones we were taught to always have them on our person.  Many of these devices were originally purchased for “safety” and due to their high cost were only used in those types of situations.  As cell phone providers lowered their cost the safety message became less important and the focus was shifted to an unlimited communication mentality no matter where you were. In turn, this solidified the mentality to always have our mobile device with us. In 1990, 2 million people owned a cell phone and by 1999 it jumped to 87 million people, proof that this mentality had caught on. As the phones turned from safety to communication devices technology also developed further laying strengthening the mobile marketing foundation.

The second part in this was the introduction of the Short Message System (SMS) or what we commonly refer to as the text message. The SMS was originally released in 1993 and did not even become a common practice till 1999, where a consumer averaged 35 messages a month.  When looking at this you have to recognize that the technology was only a small piece. SMS added a new opportunity to communicate. People were on their way to becoming readily available to anyone who had their mobile number even in situations where they could not have an audible conversation a message could still be conveyed.

When looking back at the 90’s and mobile marketing it is clear that there were no ground breaking mobile marketing campaigns or even the technology to support such an endeavor.  However the mentality needed for mobile marketing to succeed was birthed. This mentality is key today when it comes to mobile marketing.  The mobile phone is based on the fact that it is just that, mobile. The product was introduced as a device that you would have with you at all times. A new type of thinking was introduced you could communicate with someone outside of their home or car. SMS took that mentality even further and paved the way ideas to be shared even when someone could not answer their phone. If marketing is the action of promoting or selling products or services, than mobile marketing is the process of promoting or selling products to a consumer that is accessible 100% of the time.

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