They are ubiquitous. There are over 210 million cell phones in use in the United States, accounting for a 70% penetration rate. The US statistics pale, however, in the face of a worldwide deployment of 2.3 billion phones. Hong Kong tops the penetration list with 129% …. more phones than there are people. Our planet is only just beginning to discover the implications for a user-created, participatory medium that is globally connected.

As the US catches up with its Asian and European counterparts, we will begin to see a shift in the way we access data. Behavior patterns will emerge, displacing the PC for information needs. Consider that there are 575 million household PCs globally and 2.3 billion cell phones. Do the math! Which platform holds the brightest promise for marketers?

Marketers will, sooner than later, face the need to confront their communication options as internet-enabled technologies migrate to the cell phone. Today, consumers are loath to accept any form of commercial interaction unless it is to their distinct advantage. That will change as behavior changes.
Establishing a mobile marketing strategy is mission critical. Consider the following:

-Mobile phones are always on and within arms reach of the user while PCs need to be accessed.
-Over 60% of cell phone users take their phones to bed with them
-PCs are often shared (especially in an educational environment). Mobile phones are personal.
-Payment mechanisms are already built into mobile phone technology.
-Outside the US, mobile phones have outstripped the PC for Internet access.

There are hurdles. Standards need to be addressed. The fragmentation of handsets is an industry-wide concern as developers resist working with a host of wireless implementations. Efficiencies of scale, however, will soon wipe away competing platforms, giving way to one global interface standard, eventually with translation capabilities.

Opportunity rings. Are you picking up?

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