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Mobile Advertising and Marketing Awards: Roundup

Guest post from Mobile Enterprise CEO Tony Riley:

The first Mobile Advertising and Marketing Awards Conference was held in London on 12th/13th March 2008. The event continued many of the themes from the GSMA’s CMO Forum and the Telco 2.0 program. It added its own unique sound bites enhancing previous debate and also a few new insights into “what the industry is really facing.” Here are a few thoughts from the conference:

At the GSMA’s CMO Forum, organised by Telco 2.0, Brian Featherstonehaugh, CEO of OgilvyOne suggested the ad business needed to say “Good bye to the 4 P’s and hello to the 4 E’s”. Those are:
Product to Experience Place to Everyplace
Price to Exchange
Promotion to Evangelisation

How can this be applied to telecoms? The historical paradigms for additional revenue in telecoms have been 1.) voice mail for call completions and 2.) SMS. Is mobile as a medium the third financial paradigm of telecoms? Are the necessary structures being formed to reduce fragmentation, increase transparency, create media propositions, provide measurement through metrics and audit through independent adjudicators? How are life’s three drivers supporting the development: sex, avarice, and ‘free’?

Here’s what the network operators present had to say:

Kennet Radne, TeliaSonera:
Where is the money? SMS continues to grow!
“Portal first until we have got it right, then independent channels”
Can the Two sided business model wait?

Telco 2.0 Comment: Portal first? We’re not so sure. The point of the two-sided business model is to get away from the problem that telcos - big, conservative organisations - have to do the innovating.

Jonathan Mac Donald: Blyk
Voice text and alarm clock, consistency “Blyk is an open network to the market and to our customers, the audience”
“We partner brands and embrace the market”
A valuable communication service, we are a media owner……

Telco 2.0 Comment: Don’t get hooked on being a media owner - being a distributor is good. And it’s distribution that you (telcos) actually own.

Steve Ricketts: Orange
“Mobile: The second platform, but becoming the first” AND…. “50% of customers WANT to see more advertising”
” Let’s employ the idle screen as customers like to see it work”

Telco 2.0 Comment: The idle screen is an interesting territory. By definition, it’s not interrupting or intruding on the subscriber while they try to do something else. This is important, as you can see from the next speaker…

Stacey Fassberg: Celltick
Mobile media is causing people to have a love affair with their mobiles. “Love may be blind, but very rich”
“Mobile may generate love, but not too much please…”
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; Kahlil Gibran

Telco 2.0 Comment: And only fools interfere in a love affair. You better believe the subscribers will be angry if you get between them and their love..the value of mobile advertising property appears to scale directly with its potential for user rage.

Robert Victor: Double Click
“Concerns over brand erosion on-portal” No metrics or standards for metrics
Lack of knowledge about available inventory
There is more than just demographics

Telco 2.0 Comment: Don’t worry about on-portal brands; were they making any money anyway? After all, that’s the big metric; will anyone pay for it? What you really need better metrics for is the “it” - which of your data assets are valuable, in what format, to whom. There surely is more than just demographics - hold back on this and Google will have it.

Jimmy Roukolainen: Xtract
“A case for using demographic and behavioural data, scientifically with psychology and mathematics. Operators can expect 82% less revenue if advertising is not profiled!

Telco 2.0 Comment: You’re damn right. The more valuable a mobile ad, the greater its potential to offend. Mobile advertising is targeting; look what the guy from Google said.

Jim Levey: Amdocs
“The future is a hybrid on and off-portal approach.” Let the future start today! “Increasing use of SMART phones by those who can afford to pay”
“Don’t forget the long tail whilst chasing the prime market”

Telco 2.0 Comment: He’s right - it really doesn’t matter whether you’re “on” or “off” portal. What matters is excellent content, even better targeting, and the right commercial terms. The only way to learn is to experiment. But you may need an ethics committee…

Paul Whiteing: PhonePayPlus
“We have to earn TRUST from our customers” “We have no desire to fine companies, but will if they breach that trust”
“Communicate with us if you are in doubt”

Telco 2.0 Comment: Yes, Virginia, the regulator will make you suffer if you get this wrong. Remember the huge potential for offence mobile ads have.

Summary of Findings by the Chair

Will mobile medium be the third financial paradigm of telecommunications? There is significant fragmentation in:
The audience: Phones; networks, services, channels… The Market: Sectors, disciplines, Interests…
The channel: On and off portal and channel association conflict
Mobile customers: the audience is very positive about mobile advertising.
Very positive market: Eager to embrace mobile when they understand it …and for some, before they understand it. So, increasingly a positive channel with:
Huge investment in mobile
Significant knowledge
Enormous breadth and depth
Oozing with specialist market knowledge
Actively bringing the market forward and awakening media owners and buyers

The whole value chain needs to help in reducing fragmentation, providing consistent propositions, increasing transparency, offering consistent measurement, and independent audit. The recently announced GSMA Cross Network trial in the UK is a key step in the right direction. Engender trust up and down the value chain. Everyone has a role to play, let us respect it!

Finally, it is very clear that the two sided business model CANNOT wait if we are to make mobile the first screen. The breadth and depth of the supply industry is so great and diverse, the industry needs to embrace it and enable it to enliven the Mobile Medium and to deliver value.

The long tail, although highlighted for the internet, is even more appropriate to mobile. To make the long tail work, we need to open the doors and let the channel and market participate! As Rory Sutherland said at the CMO Forum this year:
“Get on with it and then figure out how to charge for it and what to share later, when there is something to talk about. We all have clever people to do that and we will find a way”
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