I spent the last 4 days in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s clear to see that Vegas understands the power of mobile marketing. An overwhelming number of billboards and outdoor ads opted not to use a phone number of web address as the call to action. Instead they opted for “text ABCDE to 12345.” Shows, entertainment, and restaurants alike were all using this call to action. And by watching the number of people who were stopping along the strip to try out the call to action – it was clearly an effective and smart approach by the advertisers.
Boy, I would have loved to have been one of those lucky few people. But, alas, my AT&T service and both of my colleagues’ service kept crapping out. It didn’t matter if we were in a hotel or on the strip our “3G” access was crippled. Texting, phone conversations, and access to the mobile web were all brought to a standstill. Oddly enough, there were times when the 3 of us were standing in the exact same spot, and 1 of us was operating at full capacity. Huh? How does that make sense. My favorite detail is that our iPhones all displayed full bars and 3G. Hysterical.
I’ve heard horror stories about AT&T’s network failures. There’s probably no better and more talked about example than the SXSW debacle. For those of you not in the loop, during the SXSW conference earlier this year, the number of people using the AT&T network literally took the network down. So much for more bars in more places.
Every year it seems that we here, this is the year mobile finally becomes a viable platform and option for marketers. While mobile penetration may be at an all time high, the archaic infrastructure supporting those cell phone owners will ultimately diminish the possibilities for marketers.
Now before you jump to a conclusion and think this was just an AT&T/iPhone problem, there many other people with T-Mobile and Sprint that were having the same problems. The only wireless provider that seemed to be operating at full power was Verizon. I kept thinking to myself…”Adam, just jail break the damn phone already.” I’m close.
Not unlike when the lack of broadband access posed a major hurdle to marketers wanting to capitalize on the power of the internet, our current mobile infrastructure is posing an even higher hurdle. We gotta get this thing fixed. If we don’t, how am I going to sell you discounted left sushi at 3Am when you’re completely hammered?