MMF Final Thoughts

I’ve written a few posts about the Mobile Marketing Forum, but I just wanted to close with a few thoughts and quotes from presentations that didn’t really justify a complete post devoted to them.

I thought that the best answer to a (fairly aggressive, if very fair) question came from Scott Seaborn, whose company I have written about before. Scott presented some of the work he’s been doing for the likes on Universal Pictures and Borders (the book store). Essentially, this involves using the mobile as kind of digital mouse, to bridge the real world and the digital one – a space I’ve been hot on for 5+ years now.

Bena asked (edgily) what was the difference between Scott’s company and the rash of startups and established companies who were now in this space. Scott replied that “there were lots of garage bands” but he was the only DJ with a string of hits. Yes, it’s about execution, not the idea – lest we forget.

There was a cool case study, by Sweden’s Crossmedia Avenue’s Stina Akesson. It illustratrated very well how creativity can can be mixed with a dull product like insurance, popped into a mobile medium, and shaken vigorously to make the perfect mobile marketing cocktail.

The insurance company had been running an ad campaign for a while, inviting people to imagine their 70 year old selves in the future – with the not so subtle message that they’d better start saving for that future today. Using some proprietary software, consumers could live the concept by taking a photo of themselves and MMSing it in. Once received, the photo was then aged appropriately.

Sweden has a population of only 9 million. Yet within a month, they had 323,000 entries – pretty amazing! And while there was a free web-based entry mechanism, 80% of people sent their pic in via MMS that they paid for.

A couple of things to note. 1. MMS has quietly been crossing the chasm and going mainstream, while operators have mainly been focusing on the new, new thing. 2. People will use it, if there’s a tangible benefit. 3. I’ve been saying since I wrote the book on MMS (with Ajit Jaokar) back in 2001 that MMS needs to be easier to use from a creativity point of view – as opposed to usability. An example might be the use of templates or this kind of promotion. 4. The face-changing technology could be used in other contexts – for instance, finding which celebrity you most resemble, or morphing you into your animal self.

M:Metrics gave their normal rocking presention, packed full of goodies. One curiosity was that Italy has about twice as many Smartphones as the UK (20% v 9.9%). Is this about style, substance or some other explanation?

M:Metrics are rumoured to be about to sell to WPP, by the way. Spend it wisely, fellas, if it’s true.

Google said search for “adult” content is trending down, but is still the most searched for term at 21% of all mobile searches. This is followed by “entertainment” at 18%, “computers and electronics” at 12% and followed rather later in the list by a rather peculiar “sensitive subjects”. “Errr, I’ve been been meaning to tell you me old pal, but hell, your kids are ugly. They must take after your wife.”?

Steve Ricketts of Orange UK gave a fascinating presentation that packed so many facts into his short session that it was impossible to write things down without resorting to a combination of highly competent shorthand and illegal drugs – neither of which are ever in my possession, just in case you wondered.

But one factoid that had me thinking was that mobile is the primary medium for most people between 12 and 6 pm. Yes, I suppose it would be. But I’d never thought of it in quite that way.

So, a great conference and looking forward to the next one already.

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