Targeting a Specific Mobile Demographic

Marketing 101 dictates you position your product or service in a manner that attracts or sells to your target consumer.

It’s pretty simple. An age-old rule that’s been successfully applied by such brand marketers as Unilever, House of Blues, Toyota, and Playboy. This means, of course, you must know your customers. Their age, gender, purchase behavior, what value proposition resonates with each subsegment, and so on. All things we marketers know.

Similarly, mobile and mobile products and services have the same consideration. The old adage holds true: know your customer.

One theme emerging from last week’s CTIA show in Orlando was diversity, the differences between ethnic group consumption of mobile products and services, particularly content services. Mobile service providers are tuned in to who’s using services and how to effectively market these services to the appropriate consumer segments. In a December 2006 In-Stat study, several areas in which African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics have a powerful effect on carriers are identified, particularly when it comes to adopting value-added services.

In-Stat found ethnic groups provided 20 percent more revenue to carriers for certain applications than general population numbers would suggest. Other points made in the study include:

  • Hispanic respondents have the highest average monthly spending and usage minutes.
  • Nonwhite respondents are less loyal to mobile carriers than white respondents and plan to spend more on future handsets and services.
  • Asians are most likely to use mobile video applications.

Regarding Ring Tones

Telephia recently released statistics about rap/hip-hop and soul/R&B U.S. ring tones in Q4 06. The largest consumers by revenue are African Americans, at 33 and 32 percent, respectively. U.S. Hispanics are the highest consumers, again by revenue, of alternative/punk at 17 percent and 9 percent.

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) announced the creation of an Urban Special Interest Group (USIG) at CTIA. The group’s charter is to foster awareness and adoption of urban-oriented mobile content by creating networking, education, and policy opportunities among urban content owners, mobile service providers, technologists, vendors, and strategic partners.

Chaired by Boost Mobile’s Christopher Jones and Real Hip Hop’s John Huffman IV, the USIG’s initial focus will be to create a collaborative environment where urban content providers, service providers, and brands can find meaningful ways to develop synergistic business and community opportunities. Integral to continued success is broadening catalog diversity for this segment, as well as increasing opportunities for urban artists in the ever-growing mobile content ecosystem.

Jones and Huffman will initially focus on identifying the urban community’s needs and the relationship and educational needs of the carrier community and all ecosystem participants in urban development and content opportunities. We expect great things from this team.


I also cam across a fun application at the show that caters to a different segment: the single mobile user. The app is FunMobility’s FlirtPix. As CEO Adam Lavine told me, “FlirtPix is designed to be like SMS flirting, except all visual.”

Who wouldn’t like that? Lavine gave me a demo, showing me how a mobile user can browse pictures individuals send to the service, tagging each as “hot” or “skip.” Every hot rating adds to an individual’s total hotness factor. The application also allows you to upload photos via MMS (define) and be entered into different categories (Girlfriend Material, Check Me Out, Boyfriend Material, etc). Profiles can anonymously contain such information as age, location, and zodiac sign. When you find someone interesting, you can “wink” at them or send a private message. Sounds a little like the online dating, doesn’t it? Definitely one of the most fun applications I saw last week.

Women in Wireless

Finally, though not geared toward a broad consumer audience, this is a callout to female executives in mobile marketing and media. The MMA has launched a new initiative, Women in Wireless, to establish a forum for female industry leaders in the mobile media community. Its mission is to increase industry awareness around the success of female executives in the mobile space. If your company is an MMA member and you’re interested in participating in women-focused initiatives, please contact me.

Related reading

A QR code which leads to the URL for the ClickZ article about QR codes. Meta.