Here's a an audio (scroll down) primer on the Mobile Marketing Association from its President, Laura Marriott. I had the distinct pleasure--and fun--of meeting and interviewing the President of the Mobile Marketing Association at CTIA which you can listen to here.
Laura's s view of CTIA
...not much emerged at the show from the mobile advertising segment. Although there was increased interest and attendance from the agency and advertising arena reflecting a growing understanding and recognition of the importance of mobile in the marketing mix. Meaning: good things to come in mobile marketing.
What is the MMA?
Good question--a laurel which Laura tossed my way twice in the interview. MMA is a global trade association across the entire mobile marketing ecosystem with regional representation in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America reflected by 600 companies in the business drawn from across the world. The Mobile Marketing Association is the premier trade association that strives to stimulate the growth of mobile marketing and its associated technologies. It's membership is comprised of drawn from the worlds of advertising agencies, advertisers, hand held device manufacturers, carriers and operators, retailers, software providers and service providers, as well as any company focused on the potential of marketing via mobile devices.
Listen here to Laura describe the differentiating aspects of innovation and creativity development across the world. (1x, 11:51 min)
Is the MMA important?
Yes. As consumers increasingly use their handsets to browse the Web, it's no wonder that advertisers see mobile screens as valuable turf. In the US, cell phones haven't yet proved to be the same kind of advertising bonanza as the Internet, mostly because of the wireless industry's more controlled nature and the slower adoption of text messaging and mobile Web services. But momentum is gradually building, especially behind text-based marketing campaigns, which are more prevalent in Asia and Europe.
According to research firm eMarketer, worldwide spending on mobile advertising totaled $2.7 billion last year and is expected to hit $4.6 billion in 2008, rising to $19.1 billion by 2012. In contrast, eMarketer projects that Internet advertising in the U.S. alone will reach $25.9 billion this year. Global brands drive much of it since the advertising business is driven by global brands, while the types of marketing varies region to region. More text based in other parts of the world than the US, with use of sponsored Peer to Peer messaging for example in places such as India and Africa.
MMA Boards in each region set the regional focus while following global advertising guidelines and policies. Overall goal of the MMA is to provide ease of use of for global brands to enter the market on a global basis, not a carrier to carrier, country to country basis. Part of this is promoted through 8 events across the globe sharing as a best practice identification and inspiration process source. For those who are interested in pursuing the MMA best practices, there are also lots of white papers and other free downloads at their website.
The Elephant's Legs
MMA dances between the legs of two industry elephants, advertising and mobile. Through the deft leadership of Ms. Marriott she's been able to wrangle these beasts and have them cooperate successfully. Challenges exist such as extending reach and fully using the feature rich phones for advertising, but through education of brands as well as consumers on leveraging the technical sophistication of mobile phones the conversation around mobile advertising has made great strides. As Laura rightly concludes: "Mobile advertising is going to be hot this year!"