Resources for Removing Mobile Advertising Roadblocks

Is the hype surrounding mobile advertising real? With millions more cell phones than PC’s and laptops in play, marketers need to look at this channel as a vital part of their overall marketing plan. But how can they overcome the roadblocks such as display continuity across multiple carrier platforms and long wait times to implement short codes?

Recently I watched Ad Age’s 3 Minute Video Report What Agency Creatives Don’t Know About Mobile Advertising which featured Richard Ting, VP Mobile and Emerging Platforms Group for R/GA. In it he lamented that there were three major obstacles to marketers dreams coming true of landing their message on the cell phones of their targeted audiences.

These included:

– Mobile creative teams are not usually involved in the campaign process from the beginning.

– The diversity of platforms now widely in use on cell phones and the optimizing of the creative for uniform delivery of their content.

– Short code campaigns can take up to 12 weeks to receive approval from carriers.

All of these are valid concerns, but there are service providers who can ease these pains for marketers.

Until mobile is seen as a vital channel to the advertiser or their agency’s strategy development teams not much will be done to change the organizational structure of agencies and their strategy process to include mobile teams from the beginning. They will remain focused on the tried and safe methods of putting up websites, optimizing SEO, sending out emails/newsletters, paying for Search and Display ads as well as dipping their toes into the Social media space. The key game changer will be the consumer themselves. Their acceptance of handheld advertising will be the tipping point at which advertisers will begin to add mobile to it’s core marketing plans.

The chart below shows the breakdown of offer types and how well they are responded to. The clear winner is text messaging. I attribute this to the cell phone’s capability, that is, the difference between a smart phone experience and a standard handset experience. As iPhone and Smart Phone (i.e. Blackberry) type devices with built in GPS begin to replace older standard handsets, more consumers will be hungry for applications that will empower them to do more from their cell phone than ever before.

Recent research from Compass Intelligence, a global consulting and market analytics company, predicts that U.S. businesses will spend about $11.6 billion on mobile applications by 2012.

Worldwide Mobile Ad Spending

This is important, but how do marketers today overcome Ting’s main roadblocks to a successful implementation? Here are several resources that can speed any mobile campaign as well as ensure cross platform functionality.

Mobile Content

In order to optimize mobile content for all handset platforms you will need a company that has major experience and resources at their disposal in order to make it succeed. SpeedShape provides clients such as FordMichelinJack DanielsChevroletSaab and a host of others with services ranging from creative direction and execution to platform specific encoding ensuring smooth and consistent message delivery by campaign. SpeedShape can ensure that all creatives whether video, Flash, rich creative or any other multimedia presentation you have will look their best no matter size of screen or resolution.

Mobile Platform Development

This is a company that I was introduced to a few months age, InfoWave Knowledgeware. This is a surprisingly nimble Indian based company whose main focus has been on creating multimedia and mobile technologies, 3D graphics and new media lifecycle management products and services.

I was particularly impressed with their ability to sort out the cell phone platform issues with mobile phones here in the US and around the globe. They support over 85% of all Internet Connected handsets in use today in the US. This includes Windows Mobile, Symbian, J2ME, iPhone, Blackberry and now Google’s Android Mobile Platform (set to debut in October 2008). They even show you a unique demo of how their mobile phone websites are functional, check it out.

If you really want a turnkey mobile media campaign, they have it. Mobile Media Campaigns for clients have been created using their 7 Step Approach to building and launching your Mobile Text Messaging Campaign, A Mobile enabled website, or a mobile application. I really have not seen a technology company be able to seamlessly move into the marketing space as these folks have. I have to admit, if I had a tech team like this (who understands marketing) many of the projects I have worked on would have gotten to launch faster.

One last thing, not only do they concept, develop and launch mobile marketing campaigns, they also monitor with incredibly detailed mobile campaign statistics and analysis. This alone is something very few providers can roll into their mobile solutions for marketers.

Alternative to Mobile Short Code Campaigns

If you have ever waited for a short code approval from carriers then you know that a firm launch date is never discussed. In addition, their no-recourse billing with frequent errors leaves much to be desired. But since they are seen as the only game in town, most marketers bite the bullet and press on.

There is an alternative, Joel Comm’s TextCastLive Mobile Message Campaign Solution. They are not much on their website in terms of info, but you can read my original blog post on TextCastLive here.

In brief, TextCastLive allows you to display a number for the user to text a two word message to. Those two words can trigger a number of events on the back end and automatically send out a series of timed mobile messages, subscribe them to alerts or updates messages, or even prompt an outbound call to the user if they double opt into it. Those are only the tip of the mobile interactivity that users can be exposed to. Joel Comm, is a remarkable online marketing promoter and someone who understands the value of customer relationship marketing when it comes to mobile.

I have always found that mobile messaging is about interest. Using it to blast out infrequent messaging to your entire list is just not going to work in today’s protect-my-privacy-at-least-on-my-cellphone world. TextCastLive allows you to silo unendingly to customize messages by any parameter, zip code, lifestyle, age, etc. It also costs far less than Short Code and will be installed in far shorter.


Jim Lillig, is an accomplished online marketing professional and entrepreneur. His eclectic assemblage of companies and projects gives a new insight into eCommerce tactics and strategy. A pioneering online marketer, Jim has pushed the envelope and found the edges of online marketing to be fertile ground for those who are willing to be bold and set a trail of success. He has authored many performance marketing articles as well as being a featured speaker and panelist at some of the industry’s largest events. Uniquely qualified with over 20 years of online marketing experience and 35 years of brand marketing know-how, Jim delivers innovative fresh approaches for both B2B and B2C clients.

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