I read an interesting article the other day about wireless advertising. The article featured a firm called Mobliss (now PressOK Entertainment) that is fast becoming what some industry experts believe to be one of the leaders in the delivery of wireless advertising. They may very well be on to something.
Mobliss founders have developed a pretty unique business model that delivers advertising, with permission, to those looking to “save time or to kill time.” Mobliss, which views itself as a media company, has bet on the “kill time” approach to engaging the consumer. Through the use of gaming and entertainment-oriented content, Mobliss can deliver promotional messages with to wireless devices. These promotions can also be targeted, relevant and location-based. The firm has partnered with gaming and entertainment providers-Group Lotto and Tribune Media Services, among them– for branded content.
It works by offering a variety of message opportunities–from contextual advertising to mobile alerts–to those accessing the Mobliss servers. One example is their recent partnership with 1-800 Contacts where users, after playing the word unscramble game, Jumble, are presented with an opportunity to call 1-800 Contacts to order contact lenses. In this case, the campaign is even integrated into the game, with the word “vision” as one of the jumbled words. Like other web-based marketing programs, Mobliss promotions can be tracked and are measurable in a variety of ways.
As I read this article, I couldn’t imagine anyone sitting around playing games on their cell phones while killing time. I then remembered; the day prior I was sitting in the airport waiting to pick up a friend and found myself, for the first time, playing a game on my cell phone. The difference is that my game is loaded on the phone and doesn’t cost anything to play. To take advantage of these other games or entertainment, it requires a connection to a server, and that means I’m paying for the call and the data transfer. Call me cheap-make that “frugal”-but, I’d never do it as long as the wireless pricing models are as they are today. That does not mean, however, that others won’t. Or that future improvement in technology won’t make mobile gaming easier for everyone.
I understand that there are some 12 million wireless subscribers in the United States, with somewhere around 5.6 million who use their wireless devices for things other than phone calls. But are they using the devices for entertainment in this sense? Who knows? If they are, and I had an appropriate product for those folks, I would test the Mobliss approach.
My thanks to Brian Levin, CEO at Mobliss for providing clarification and validation of his firm’s services, for this article.
The wireless age is upon us, but as many of you know, it’s plagued with challenges. Chief among those challenges are limitations in bandwidth and costs for developing applications and supporting infrastructure. One start-up, Roamable (www.roamable.com) is attempting to work around those challenges by leveraging the infrastructures that most organizations already have in place. Roamable’s technology platform allows an organization to offer content to users in a format with which they are already familiar-e-mail. Best of all, the content can be delivered on virtually any e-mail compatible device-from a RIM (BlackBerry) Pager to a Web-enabled phone.
For marketers, this technology, like many others can improve value to customers by providing such services as updates on order status, access to purchase history, and current sales promotions. However, what’s different, and perhaps most intriguing about this technology its ability for dynamic interaction. Unlike most wireless content that’s pushed from a business server to a user, this technology allows content to be pulled based on a user’s request-enabling information to be provided both on demand, and with personal relevancy. Let us look at a couple of examples of how this might work.
I am on my way to the airport for a flight from New York to London. It is a particularly long flight and I’m bushed so I want to upgrade my coach seat to First Class, or at least Business Class. I want to use my frequent flyer miles for this upgrade, but I’m uncertain as to how many miles I have available. Using my web-enabled phone, I press a predefined number to send a message request to my frequent flyer account. Within a few seconds, I get a response that provides not only my available miles, but also the length, if any, of the wait list. If I so desire, I can then acquire the upgrade or be placed on the wait list-all done easily and within a few seconds time as I travel to the airport.
Another example might involve applications for a direct sales force, such as dynamic lead presentation by a specific geography (“I’m on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and have a few hours to spare. What other prospects or customers are within walking distance of my current location?”). Another may be the ability for a salesperson to determine up-to-the-minute product inventory availability while closing a deal in a customer’s office.
Roamable’s technology platform provides an interesting opportunity for marketers to build applications and services designed to improve customer acquisition and retention in what is becoming an increasingly mobile society. The question is, can we figure out a way to leverage this technology while maintaining the privacy levels we all so desire.
Here are a few thoughts to ponder:
What are some of your ideas on how marketers can use this technology? Are their potential opportunities for building revenue streams using this technology?
My thanks to Tom Feegle, VP, Business Development at Roamable for providing clarification and validation of the examples used here.