That’s right, the mobile wallet is already a marketing channel.

What exactly is a marketing channel?  Wikipedia defines it this way –

A marketing channel is a set of practices or activities necessary to transfer the ownership of goods from the point of production to the point of consumption. It is the way products and services get to the end-user, the consumer; and is also known as a distribution channel. A marketing channel is a useful tool for management, and is crucial to creating an effective and well-planned marketing strategy.

You have something you have created, and you need to get it in front of the people who might buy it, barter for it, or otherwise do something that results in them taking your creation off your hands for some sort of fair value exchange.

[LISTEN: How Mobile Affects the Shoppers Journey – PODCAST]

The term “marketing channel” tends to be flexible depending on the people discussing it.

For instance, there was an article on MarketingLand this week that quoted a couple of notables in the mobile wallet marketing field (Urban Airship and Vibes), and for some reason, one of the Airship quotes –

Corey Gault, director of communications of mobile engagement provider Urban Airship, told me via email that his company believes “mobile wallets will become [a] marketing platform” within six to 12 months.

We beg to differ – the mobile wallet as a marketing platform, marketing channel, means to an end, whatever you want to call it – is already here.  It’s been here for awhile now, and in spite of the fact that the myriad of amazing possibilities don’t seem crystal clear to everyone on their first contact with the technology, it’s likely going to stay here for at least a few more years.


What are the advantages of mobile wallet marketing as a marketing channel or marketing platform?

Using the mobile wallet pass as an integral part of (multiple) marketing channels is fairly straightforward and mostly simple:

#1 – Create brand identity with the consumer in a semi-conspicuous location.  This one is easy.  Get your business, your brand, yourself, whatever you are marketing, into the smartphone.

#2 – Lock screen and other notifications can be triggered by a variety of methods.  Again, super easy.  Time based messaging, location or proximity based messaging, or plain old manual updates can trigger messaging – directly to the users lock screen.

If your head has been in the sand, the lock screen notification/SMS style notification is the single most effective means of getting a prospects attention today.

#3 – Mobile wallet messaging is infinitely flexible and always changeable.  What does this mean?  Simply put, if you have a mobile wallet campaign, you can change the graphics, change the links, change the colors, change the look and feel of the pass in the wallet at any time.   Changes are retroactive to all the passes you’ve issued, not just the new ones.

[LEARN: 3 Steps to Creating Your Mobile Marketing Strategy – WORKSHEET DOWNLOAD]

Show me how you can do that with any other advertising or marketing medium, and I’ll buy you a soda!  Yes, you can make changes to your website, but that requires a user to come back on their own… unless you send them an email or other notification (um, but wait, that’s what mobile wallet passes already do, and they’re updated, with the ability to send users to your website built into them) to bring them back.

How hard is it to use mobile wallet marketing?

Getting started is a really simple process – you will need to have a campaign idea – whether it’s a discount, a loyalty reward, a location or proximity based offer, or updates for your podcast or online marketing campaigns.  Once you have determined what you want to promote, the technical implementation usually takes a couple of days, you will want to proof and approve the campaign, and then you’re set to start promoting it.

How do you promote a mobile wallet campaign?

Just like you would any other mailing list, social promotion, or interactively based type of marketing or advertising.  Mobile wallet passes don’t magically jump onto consumer phones, they have to actively opt in to add the pass to their wallet.

Ways you can add a pass to a wallet include:

  • Email link
  • SMS link
  • Website link
  • Social media page link
  • QR code scan
  • Directly typing a URL link into a browser on mobile
  • Airdrop or Share function between iOS (Apple) users

So, you can see that there are any number of ways to get your message out there, once you’ve determined the content and had the technical bits done for you.

What’s the cost of mobile wallet marketing?

Unlike SMS messaging, mobile wallet lock screen notifications don’t cost anything.

You could build your own app, but you can save roughly $25,000 per year by going with mobile wallet marketing instead of a stand alone mobile app (and that figure does NOT include marketing your app).

[TEST DRIVE: $17 Digital Business Card using mobile wallet]

Realistically, you’ll spend anywhere from $40 monthly to a few hundred each month to run a mobile wallet or digital wallet marketing campaign.  The costs will depend on how many passes you want to distribute, what level of interaction you’re looking for from the consumers using your pass and whether or not you plan to do a large number of updates that rely on manual changes to the passes.

The beauty of a mobile wallet marketing campaign is that it can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be.  There’s no requirement to create the next Matrix while trying to market your product to your target demographic as effectively as possible 😉