“What are we doing about mobile?” – That’s the question marketing managers all over the world are hearing from their bosses, and some say that traditional ad agencies are not helping them find the answer. Software companies that focus exclusively on mobile marketing are finding an opportunity to take business away from established agencies, as companies realize that their mobile traffic is far outpacing their mobile revenue.
The Association of Online Publishers recently polled 37 major media owners, and 71% said that mobile represented a higher percentage of traffic than revenue. More than half the publishers blamed agency attitudes toward mobile and low-yield ad networks for what they see as a missed opportunity in mobile marketing.
Many companies are bypassing publishers and ad agencies altogether in their efforts to reach mobile customers directly. When BMW wanted to market its new Mini Ray to young car buyers, it turned to mobile marketing specialist Lumata for a full-on mobile campaign. Lumata developed an iOS app that lets users race one another in virtual Minis and see their scores posted on a central leaderboard. The goal of the race: be first to BMW’s Mini Essential store.
Lumata was able to leverage its relationships with European media outlets Repubblica Group and Deejay.it to promote BMW’s game. The company says that more than 100,000 people have downloaded the iPhone app so far. Other major brands working with Lumata include Nestle, Christian Dior, and French Connection.
“We have an opportunity to create a global leader in a space where one really doesn’t exist,” says Lumata CEO Thomas Enraght-Moony. He’s best known as the former CEO of match.com, but Enraght-Moony has also held positions at AT&T and Clearwire. He says Lumata has found some of its best opportunities so far with carriers. Orange, the largest carrier in the UK, hired Lumata to create its Orange Wednesday program, a partnership with retailers to offer discounts to subscribers. Last month Lumata acquired ACT750 to enhance its offerings for carriers with more predictive analytics, real-time marketing capabilities, and micro-segmentation. “We had been running some small micro programs, but in our evaluation they are the best in class technology,” says Enraght-Moony.
Carriers have a history of working with software partners to find new ways to monetize their subscribers, but now traditional retailers and publishers are also turning to software specialists. That could spell trouble for both ad agencies and publishers who don’t invest quickly and carefully in mobile marketing talent.
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