In 1989, Apple Computer started developing the Newton platform. Complete with state-of-the-art handwriting recognition software, the platform was brilliant. As amazing as the platform was, the world wasn’t ready for the Newton. Steve Jobs and others have looked back on the Newton and speculated its inability to capture a large audience. The booming success of the iPhone—inspired by the Newton and iPod—has only made people look harder.
Jobs thought the Newton was too focused on input when it should have been focused on consumption. The technology was sound, but consumers shied away from another input device. Jobs had the same feeling about Palms, and other PDA’s: they wouldn’t become mainstream because of their design.
The iPhone’s design made it easier for users to adapt. The device allowed the user to spend more time consuming information and not inputting information.
The same is true for traditional cell phones. No one likes creating a new address book contact. You’re lucky if a person types a first and last name, let alone a full address. Consumers want to spend a few seconds entering a phone number, or pushing a few buttons, and the rest talking or reading.
SMS is the same way. A lot of companies want to use mobile to capture e-mail addresses, or full responses from end-users. My response is always the same, “Yes it will work, but there are much more effective ways to use mobile.”
The biggest, relative hump in a mobile marketing program is the initial opt-in. This is usually the largest input from the end-user (i.e. keyword & short code), and it must be initiated by the user. After the initial opt-in, the best mobile programs minimize input, at most, asking for number, letter, or keyword replies.
I’m a junkie for companies that have mobile alerts or services. Right now my favorites are Mint, Twitter, and Jott. Mint and Jott are used more frequently than Twitter. Why? Jott and Mint send me alerts that I consume to stay on track. Even on an iPhone, I rarely use Twitter to Tweet; instead I use mobile alerts to know when I receive a direct message.
For the most effective mobile program, capture your consumers and PUSH them alerts or actions.