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“Predictions….? Pain!”

In the words of Clubber Lang in Rocky III, 2009 is certainly predicted to be a tough year for the economy in general.  It is always good to take a look at what is expected to happen in your own industry – although it starts getting old hearing “this is the year of mobile video” over and over again.

based on research by Chetan Sharma Consulting

based on research by Chetan Sharma Consulting

Chetan Sharma is a gentleman who very much has his pulse on the mobile market, especially the US. In his annual predictions survey, he polled 200 executives in the wireless industry about various topics.

Besides believing that AppStores will pop up everywhere (ref my article on this), it was interesting to note that industry insiders are fairly optimistic on mobile advertising in 2009 (note that I always wonder whether people separate mobile advertising – i.e. placing banner ads on mobile properties from mobile marketing – i.e. using mobile as part of branding/advertising campaigns. I have to admit I have been sloppy with the terms myself).  I share this view (as I stated in this article), simply because the growth has been tremendous and although the growth rate may(!) decline, overall spend will still increase drastically over last year.  In fact, growth may increase as traditional advertising is going the way of the social network banner ad — it is increasingly ignored.  Advertising campaigns need to engage the user, and no other device is better suited than the mobile phone.

Another major “prediction source” used to be moconews. This year, the predictions were far less conservative and based on seeing if 2008 trends would continue. The only reason I bring them up is that I feel they are a bit harsh with Sprint.  They call Sprint’s AYCE data plan a “flop” but I would argue that Sprint’s move was almost as significant as the launch of the AppStore!  What the moconews reporter refers to when calling it a flop is the basic strategic marketing outcome of their move (i.e. price moves are easily copied and do not provide sustainable competitive advantages unless your organization is really the cost leader).  Sprint has a lot of smart people in their organization, and surely they would have fully expected competitors to copy their moves. Effectively their move to offer flat rate data triggered the entire US market to have it within a week! This went a long way in solving what has considered to be one of the major hindrances to mobile data usage: cost.  This also shows that in any market, it only takes 1 major player to make a bold move and expand the size of the pie for everyone.  The industry owes a lot of gratitude to Sprint…

Posted in The Business of Mobile.

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