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What Media Buyers Want from Telcos: New Research Programme

The 2nd edition of our report on the opportunity for operators in the media and advertising space, Telco’s Role in the Advertising Value Chain, seems to be going down well. We have been inundated with requests for the executive summary and several orders following an interview we did with Jim Cook of the excellent MobiAd News Portal. If you haven’t seen the executive summary of the report and want to, then email us for a copy.

Building on this and in preparation for the Telco 2.0/GSMA ‘Digital Advertising & Marketing Summit’ in October we have recently started discussions with several members of the Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA) UK Board who have expressed a great deal of interest in a new piece of research which we are planning. For those who aren’t familiar with the MMA, it is an industry forum designed to promote the development of the mobile marketing channel. Where the GSM Association has an operator-centric focus, the MMA has strong representation amongst agencies, advertisers and media buyers: the future customers of a Telco advertising channel.

We spoke to Tony Riley (Mobile Enterprise), Maureen Scott (Openwave), Mark Palmer (Maverick Planet) and Jonathan Bass (Incentivated) about the need for operators and vendors/enablers to better understand the requirements of media buyers so that they can develop appropriate solutions and, where appropriate, work together on relevant industry-wide initiatives.

They all felt that this information would be hugely valuable as the danger at the moment is that the very customers that operators and vendors would like to serve are not able to contribute effectively to the discussions and activities currently taking place. This reinforces the discussions we’ve been having with our brainstorm stimulus speakers from Vodafone et al. So, this is what we plan to do to rectifiy this:

Research Programme Objectives
To build a clear understanding of the requirements of Media Buyers and Advertisers from the Fixed and Mobile channels and so enable managers in operators and vendor companies to:

  • Build appropriate strategies and solutions
  • Work together more effectively on industry-wide initiatives

Specifically, the research would aim to answer the following questions:

  • How might media buyers plan (integrated marketing) campaigns in future?
    • How might advertising being bought differently?
    • What fixed and mobile telco inventory will be most popular?
    • What is likely to be most important to media buyers - branding or direct response?
    • What interfaces do media buyers need from operators and other providers of advertising platforms/media?
    • What silos within media buying organisations need to be dismantled to supported integrated marketing programmes?
  • Which would media buyers prefer: a common industry-wide platform vs multiple platforms but with a common, standardised interface?
  • What customer profiling data would media buyers like from fixed and mobile channels? What is the relative important of:
    • Demographic data?
    • Contextual data?
    • Behavioural data?
  • How should this customer information be presented to media buyers?
  • Which metrics are most important to media buyers and marketers?
    • How should performance metrics be presented to media buyers?
  • What other roles should the operator and/or vendor partners perform for media buyers?
    • How can the mobile (and fixed) channel contribute to integrated (cross-platform) campaigns?
    • How can operators help with response to advertising?
  • What do operators and vendors need to provide now to accelerate growth in this market?

We propose that this would be a multi-region study looking at media buyers’ needs and attitudes across core mature markets:

  1. Western Europe (with differences explored between UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy)
  2. North America
  3. Asia Pacific

We aim to collect responses from around 500-800 media buyers to enable us to conduct the necessary regional cuts.

Process and Methodology

  • Form a syndicate of 8-10 research sponsors from operators and vendors. Sponsors would receive:
    • Co-branding rights on the report
    • Input to the design of the survey so that key questions they need answering are included
    • Global licence for the STL Partners report
    • Up to 3 bespoke analysis cuts from the raw data in addition to those we will do for the report

This syndicated approach keeps the costs down for everyone, raises sponsors’ profiles in this space and ensure we get a wider input and a better result.

  • Develop web survey questionnaire in conjunction with sponsors and through qualitative interviews with media buyers
  • Test questionnaire
  • Distribute questionnaire to media buyer contacts in each region
  • Collect and analyse data
  • Produce report answering questions above and showing regional/country variations
  • Conduct bespoke analysis for sponsor companies


  • Agree sponsors and questionnaire - end October
  • Collect responses - end November/mid-December
  • Write report - end January
  • Bespoke analysis - from end January

The brainstorm on the 16th October, which will review the white paper outputs from the MMA/GSMA on inventory standards and metrics, will help specify this research in more detail.

Please do get in touch with us through the blog or directly via email if you have any:

  • Questions
  • Comments
  • Would like to discuss participation as either a sponsor or a media buyer organisation
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