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Marketing Mobile Internet still Targets the Elite

Only five percent of U.S. broadband users (approximately five million) use the mobile Internet, according to Media-Screen. Although more than 60 percent of users currently own an Internet-enabled mobile device, they are reluctant to partake in online mobile activities due to extra fees and difficulties establishing and maintaining Internet connections.

The report, Netpop | Pocket, also reveals a significant gap between accessing the Internet on mobile devices and computers when comparing the number of online activities performed through each.

Users perform an average of 3.3 online activities on their mobile device versus 13.4 activities on their laptop/desktop, reinforcing the fact that online activities have yet to migrate into the pockets of broadband users.

"Broadband users represent an important audience to track as they have historically driven innovation of online applications by being the first to adopt and embrace new services on the Internet," says Jean Durall, Media-Screen's director of research services.

"Although the mobile Internet is still in its infancy due to technological and pricing hurdles, understanding this group of influential consumers will help carriers, content providers and marketers develop new offerings."

Among broadband users, the most popular mobile activities are communications-related -- similar to the drivers during the early days of the Internet. And, even though mobile is touted as the third screen, less than one in five users access news or television shows from a mobile device; however this could grow if and when pricing and packaging issues are solved.

Furthermore, the marketing and advertising messages surrounding the mobile Internet do not resonate with most users. Over 50 percent of respondents say that the mobile Internet access does not "fit with their lifestyle." In other words, after several years of attempting to appeal to consumer's needs, mobile phone services providers still have a disconnect with the mainstream user.

"The persistent media portrayal of mobile Internet users as either carefree youth or hard-driving professionals may be reinforcing perceived lifestyle differences, unintentionally delaying broader consumer adoption," Durall adds. "Providers and manufacturers must reevaluate their marketing messages to make sure the benefits of mobile access are directed beyond the 'Road Warriors' and 'MySpacers' of the world."

This latest study that reinforces what has now become a common theme in related market research is actually perfect timing, since the 2007 CTIA Show is next week. I wonder, is it too late to schedule an impromptu "Introduction to Market Segmentation" keynote presentation, or a "Crossing the Chasm" market development seminar?

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