101: M-Commerce, or Mobile Marketing?

With the economy looking a bit uncertain for the next year, many marketers are pursuing new and different channels to capture their audience's attention. Marketers are in hot pursuit of "cheap, easy, and effective" ways to increase conversions… and I feel there is confusion in terminology in the marketing world. After doing some reading, I concluded that the terms "M-commerce" and "mobile marketing" are being thrown around synonymously, when in fact they are two completely different things. Being a little confused about this all at first, I thought others might enjoy someone doing a little research and providing some basic background for something that can be a little tricky to understand.

M-commerce is defined as conducting transactional business by means of a mobile device. This boils down to a person making a purchase directly from their mobile device. So, an example of this is someone purchasing a shirt off of Moosejaw’s mobile site. Currently, there’s only a small percentage (6.8%) of retailers have an M-commerce site. This makes sense, because only a small percentage of the population feels comfortable with making purchases on their mobile devices.

According to the Mobile Marketing Association, the textbook definition of mobile marketing is: “The use of wireless media as an integrated content delivery and direct response vehicle within a cross-media or stand-alone marketing communications program.” This is a great definition; however, it doesn’t really explain the full extent of mobile marketing. So, let’s compare it to a traditional email campaign. Like email, mobile marketing can provide timely, targeted messages to an end user. But, mobile marketing is more personal and intimate because it can be accessed by the consumer at any time, no matter where they are.

M-commerce and mobile marketing are obviously two completely different concepts that cannot, and should not, be used interchangeably. Realizing that you do not need an M-commerce site to conduct a mobile marketing campaign is the first step for some. The next step is to see how easy it is to implement mobile marketing into your marketing programs. So, take this mobile knowledge and continue in your pursuit of marketing bliss.

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