Attending the Mobile Marketing Association Forum last week reminded me of my meeting years ago at Raffles City with Rohit Dadwal when he first came to Singapore to promote the Mobile Marketing Association. Frankly, at that time, I didn’t see mobile advertising as being anything but a very minor player in the industry. Remember SMS and a few trials of running ads along the bottom of a tiny screen were the only options for an advertiser. This was the era when there were companies selling ring tones!
Interestingly, the phone manufacturers were, in this period of time, trying to reduce the size of the mobile phones, having first marketed devices the size of bricks. Now we witness a steady growth in size of the Samsung models and Apple is planning to introduce 5.5 inch diagonal screen for the larger iPhone 6 (due out in September rumour has it). Of course, this has been driven by the morphing from a telephone call instrument to an entertainment device.
Rohit Dadwal, became a regular guest columnist for AdAsia (yes, we did support the nascent industry despite my initial doubts) and, as the Managing Director of the Mobile Marketing Association APAC, he tirelessly promoted the platform and helped build awareness in the region.
For many years, I attended the Mobile Marketing Association Forum, hearing each year that this was to become “the year of the mobile”. Well, that milestone came so swiftly that we did not even have time to register it. Mobile devices, including tablets, are now the leading way we connect to the Internet and are the gadgets by which we entertain ourselves via games and videos. As I write this, the technology is still changing and the devices evolving. More marketers are realising the potential of interactivity and connectivity and there can be very few who have not increased the budgets for mobile advertising in 2014. However, I get the impression that the telecommunications companies have not yet understood the value of the huge amount of data they have collected from subscribers nor the opportunities offered by direct phone debits.
And what about the opportunities offered by mobile apps…but I must stop here. I have some old-fashioned phone calls to make.