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Next up: The iAd!

Category: Andy Marken's blog Published on Monday, 07 June 2010

The Tie That Binds…Mobile Ads to In-Store Signage Messages




"All that I desire to point out is the general principle that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life."  --Oscar Wilde


After a few weeks spent in meetings and airplanes our wife thought a quiet weekend at home as in order, just cocooning.

Her selections were innocent enough since we rather like sci-fi but jjeezz … Minority Report and Matrix Revolutions.

There is no escaping the Internet, digital signage and short messaging service (SMS) advertising!

In Minority Report you’re walking down the street and BAM!!! you’re in contact with an intelligent messaging service.  Suddenly you’re hit with custom tailored holographic messages regarding your clothes, finances, all of your personal life and concerns. 

The movie was designed to entertain but as you watch it you realize sci-fi is quickly becoming reality!

Digital signage technology (hardware, software, content) is rapidly evolving so that it can interact with you and deliver a very effective, persuasive message.

Smartphones and apps are available to “assist you.”

It won’t be long and you’ll walk down the street and the store will reach out to your mobile device and deliver personalized messages. 

Advanced, personalized messaging is gaining a strong foothold in the Pacific Basin.  Europe is not far behind. 

This year SMS/mobile advertising will begin gaining an audience with I, Y, X Geners. 

They use their mobile GPS to find specific stores, restaurants, other locations where they can get just the product/service they want. 

But…you have to determine what you want. 

Then you have to describe it, look it up.

That’s sweat labor!  

How much better to have the service, product find your device and you. 

Certainly some of the apps will be developed and posted to the cloud for notebook/netbook users.

More will be made available for on-the-go/show tablet users.

Everyone who is anyone has a smartphone.

The number of users compared to POPs (plain old phones) is rapidly increasing.


Compelling Solution

Suddenly individuals, small firms and global enterprises have compelling requirements for the always-in-contact technology and service.  This is one of the first times pornography hasn’t led the way in advancing the technology.  Instead there are a wide range of business reasons to adopt the technology. 

There are even more business reasons to begin developing applications and content now because of the marketing potential. 

Think about it…technology that can stimulate and manage customer interest and point you to a purchase. 


Tie it into the in-store digital signage message such as the above BrightSign application  and BAM!!! deal done.

Device, application producers as well as service providers around the globe embraced and promoted the wide ranging capabilities and benefits of today’s smartphone and other mobile devices.   


Slow Launch

When the concept of SMS first arose in late 2000 it garnered very little attention.  It took more than two years for individuals and organizations to realize the value of sending short, sometimes cryptic alphanumeric messages. 

Today more people routinely mute phone calls and use the texting capabilities of the device to stay in touch. 

They’re so busy multitasking that the boss or instructor seldom notices half the room is somewhere else doing …something with …someone

With the growing popularity of written messaging, service providers have found a new opportunity to increase revenues (data transfers are much more bandwidth-efficiently than calls or videos).

Advertisers see a new and hopefully more efficient, more productive means of reaching consumers. 

In several European countries and in certain markets in the Far East service providers offer customers the option of opting-in to lower their monthly mobile service costs or maintain their present service and block the unsolicited messages. 

While the messaging services are still in their infancy, most service providers and advertisers are working to develop a promotional model that will be acceptable to consumers so they want to resubscribe to the service or perhaps even move to complete ad-supported service.

Unfortunately the early efforts of service providers and advertisers the results were far from encouraging.   Studies by CTIA and InfoTrends noted that resubscription was less than 20 percent, hardly a vote of confidence by consumers. 

Deteriorating Into SPAM

The initial service sign-up rates were excellent.

What wasn’t to like? 

The idea of lower mobile costs is certainly compelling. 

However, consumers quickly tired of the interruptions and barrage of SPAM.


Mobile message servicing and service provisioning is in its infancy, but several software developers are already selling mobile/smartphone message blocking software.  

The software was probably developed by the same people who developed and offered on-line filtering solutions for people who wanted to avoid drop-down, drop-in and sticky on-line ads. 

Properly developed, executed and monitored; SMS offers some interesting opportunities:

·          Service providers will suddenly have a new opportunity to produce bottomline profits

·          Marketers will have a very focused and control means of reaching the individual consumer in a controlled manner with a controlled, much more effective message

If you don’t recall Minority Report, rent it and watch it with a new perspective.  You’ll see the future of controlled, potentially effective, everywhere intrusive advertising messaging.    


Weighted Control

It is only just beginning but has already gained its share of detractors. 

Consumer groups and governmental agencies in a number of countries are looking into how they control:

·          the recipient from being “trapped” into receiving advertising messages he or she has no interest in receiving just because they activated their phone

·          the recipient who chooses to opt-in for the free or advertising supported service only receives certain “class” of messages and is not forced to endure undesirable messages

·          that the user only receives a specific level of SMS ads based on his/her device usage patterns and volumes

·          widespread distribution of SMS activities without prior user agreement

As service providers seek out new revenue sources to lower their overall costs and improve their bottomlines, SMS and video mobile ads will gain more widespread use as Apple’s iAd proposal has shown. 


The challenge for both advertisers and providers is to implement the messaging technology based on a well thought-out and staged introduction program. 

Widespread implementation will only cause a pushback by consumer groups and governmental agencies that will position the mobile ads as an unnecessary, unrequested and undesirable intrusion.

Consumers will paint the implementation as a greedy solution for “companies” to tap into additional and unnecessary profits. 

Corporations will take the position that it is an invasion on the company’s paid staff time. 

Governmental agencies will strike back based on their knee-jerk response to the first two placing greater restrictions on the service providers.


Minimize Impact

The implementation of SMS, video mobile ads will come to pass.

It will serve either as a valuable advertising tool or another mark against firms’ ill-planned efforts to reach the consumer at his or her moment of purchase. 

It will go through a period of misuse, abuse until sophisticated monitoring and measurement has been carried out to profile the mobile user and his/her wants, needs, goals. 

The challenge will be to develop and nurture opt-in opportunities that appeal to and benefit the mobile user. 


Steady, Successful Implementation

If we don’t do it properly we’ll see a huge backlash that will hurt all parties. 

The last thing we need is the government – any country’s government – “managing services.

Mobile device advertising combined with superior point-of-purchase digital signage messaging can become an efficient and effective marketing and communications opportunity for us.

The mobile device has become a tool of daily use. 

Now if we can just make it a tool to manage ads to the consumer we’ve got it made.

Otherwise, Ernestine may say Steve’s on the line for you!!

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