Saturday, October 4, 2008

Executives from AT&T and Verizon, Coke, Quattro and AdMob fearlessly lead mobile marketing while MMA pulls a rabbit out of it’s hat.

Laura Marriott, MMA’s president opened discussions by announcing that 2009 is the year of mobile advertising, really. I was reminded of Bullwinkle’s asides to Rocket J. Squirrel, “this time for sure Rock,” we’ll see next year if the MMA can pull a rabbit out of it’s hat. Notwithstanding, the industry has more than a few new tricks up its sleeve.

The panel discussions themed Mobile Advertising Insights, featured an impressive cast of characters from advertising, interactive, mobile agency and telecommunications. Google’s director of mobile advertising, Diana Pouliot shared some of Google’s key findings on mobile traffic. One major point worth noting, already far more people surf the mobile web than with ye old desktop computer. As it turns out, people work on desktops and play on mobile phones.

Commentary from AT&T’s executive director of media innovation, Jordan Berman included particularly animated discussion on branding over mobile platforms, establishing subscriber relationships and mobile wallet coupons. T’s case study on 1 800 Flowers revealed a 40% contest conversion rate with 25 percent of participants being acquired virally. Tom Daly, Coca-Cola’s group manager, strategy and planning, global interactive marketing (who is also incidentally MMA chairman) offered a narrative on mobile applications, one of which engaged consumers in voting for commercials that brought Coke an 80 percent response. Similar successes were hailed by Richard Williams, executive director digital media operations, Verizon and Quattro Wireless CEO Andy Miller.

So why wasn’t 2008 the “the year of mobile advertising” as had been previously predicted? If mobile is such an effective channel, why haven’t advertisers moved more of their budgets to these miraculous mobile media channels. I am an advertiser, objective audience attendee and a mobile media evangelist, but if I didn’t know better I might have gotten the impression that I was being pitched on mobile media by panelists.

“Set the Way-Back machine Sherman.” In 2004 mobile carriers didn’t want advertising running amuck with network operations. Meanwhile Back in Frostbite Falls, US carriers had dropped the iron curtain around carrier networks and imposed heavy restrictions on media making it extremely difficult to deliver content on cross carrier networks. So why are carriers suddenly pitching advertisers on the mobile channel? Why Natasha? Because Fearless Leader has a right to change his mind. Secret formula driving wireless carriers’ interest in advertising isn’t network traffic darling, is financial transactions! Nothing else, my little babushka, makes for Moose and Squirrel to spending American greenbacks like advertising media.

No, 2008 was decidedly, not the year of the mobile media boom, but the promise of financial transactions has started the thaw of the mobile media Cold War and with anarchists like Android and Apple, the walls around walled gardens are crumbling like a fractured fairy tale.

The plot thickens this November in San Diego at the MMA Mobile Marketing Forum. Don’t miss our next exciting episode entitled,
“Carrier to Credit Card Network” or “Who Swiped My Mobile Wallet?”

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