by Yann Chevalier, CEO with Intersec
One of the first lessons any marketer learns is the importance of the four ‘P’s: – ‘price’, ‘promotion’, ‘place’ and ‘product’. In the world of mobile marketing, ‘place’ arguably transcends the other three as the very thing that defines the mobile medium. Whilst much has been discussed of the potential of location-based advertising there has to date been few well documented examples of successful campaigns and technology has been considered immature. Well the market is now on the verge of exploding.
Not only has the technology come of age but the potential for location-based marketing goes well beyond pure advertising and offers mobile operators in particular, the opportunity to earn substantial new revenue streams.
Plus help them fend off the offensive from Internet giants, mobile device manufacturers and content owners for the hearts and minds of the mobile user.
The recent initiative of Weve is a classic example of this phenomenon in action. The leading UK mobile operators: EE, O2 and Vodafone are collaborating together to offer marketers a single entity that offers location-based advertising services and mobile payment to all their opt-in subscribers.
It is the first initiative of its kind in Europe and possibly the world, but one whose success will be closely watched by the mobile industry as an example of mobile operators working collectively to simultaneously offer a valuable service to brand owners and consumers and to monetise their assets in an intelligent way.
A ubiquitous approach
Let’s first look at the example of location based advertising (LBA). What is of paramount importance is the accuracy of the technology and its ability to target users within a particular geography.
This hopefully ensures that the user receives marketing communications when they are in a particular location, rendering the value of the communications highly relevant for both consumer and advertiser.
Another vital element is that it has to be simple and easy for the opt-in subscriber to receive relevant offers without themselves having to take any action.
The technology should be able to reach, not just a subset of the population owning a smart device, but the whole mobile device subscriber base and accurately identify all users within a specific geographical area in real time.
Only if all of these elements are present will the marketer be able to realise the true contextual advantage of ‘place’ in the marketing mix.
Working your assets
Mobile operators are in a unique position to capitalise on the fact that they have a unique ability to capture the users’ key network events like turning on or off their phone or tablet, moving between different cells, or changing their device altogether.
However with this ‘trusted partner’ status comes a responsibility not to abuse this privilege, hence the importance of gaining the consumer’s opt-in permission for location based advertising as well as finding out the regularity and subject areas around which they are interested in receiving promotions.
What’s absolutely clear is that location based services offer massive potential for new services; both commercial and non-commercial for the public, brand owners and government organisations.
Currently we are witnessing the beginning of a new emerging technology that has immense potential for use in a huge range of situations from m-health, to public communications in disaster situations, to M2M transactions for the enterprise.
The mobile operator sits at the heart of this new eco-system and – provided it respects the privacy of the individual and use the knowledge both wisely and ethically – it holds the key to unlocking a veritable treasure trove of new services – giving the operator vital new revenue streams and the subscriber access to exciting new benefits.
Yann_Chevalier is CEO with Intersec, a leading value-added software provider for mobile and integrated operators.