Is mobile marketing about to be Everything Everywhere?

Orange and T-Mobile’s joint promise to develop new revenue streams in adjacent markets, such as mobile advertising and mobile commerce, through parent company Everything Everywhere is an interesting move. So will it help to bring in extra coffers?

The company says it intends to propel itself beyond mobile communications, with a greater focus in developing new revenue streams based on the way customers will use their devices in the future. It comes as thought leaders at the International Advertising Association conference in Moscow acknowledge it as a “bumper trend”.

Back in January, I spoke to Marc Overton, vice president of wholesale, business development and partnerships at Orange UK as he prepared to oversee the launch of ’Orange Shots’ to enable brands to engage and interact directly with targeted segments of the network’s customer base.

At the time, Overton, who goes on to be VP of wholesale at Everything Everywhere on 1 July, told me that Shots was core to the brand’s success in commercialising its own mobile broadband services. It was the “personal communication” that would endear customers and bring in profits for the brand.

There seems little doubt that Overton and the new leadership team share this faith. Steven Day, currently chief of staff and communications for Orange and soon to become vice president of brands and communications for new telecoms company Everything Everywhere, couldn’t offer full details but was confident that this would be an area into which the brand would rapidly expand and offer customers more input into.

Of course, they wouldn’t be alone in this area. Last year O2 launched a new advertising service enabling personalised mobile ads for its customers, called O2 More.

Shaun Gregory, managing director of O2 Media and former CEO of Blyk, says of the service: “O2 More offers a win-win situation for advertisers, consumers and O2. For advertisers, products will be personalised and relevant to where consumers are, where they live and what they’re interested in. For consumers, they’ll receive exclusive launch offers based on pre-selected lifestyle information – ending interruptive advertising.”

He has warned that mobile marketers must ensure that campaigns utilising the technology are relevant and accurately targeted, a move that is underway with the GSMA launching a mobile measurement system, following two years of development with Comscore and the major mobile networks.

More recently, Apple has tried to break into this area with software called iAd which “combines the emotion of TV ads with the interactivity of web ads.”

And Google, the online search global leader, announced a $750m deal in November to buy AdMob, which controls about one-third of the market for putting ads on mobile applications and Web pages. “I think mobile is a fantastic opportunity,” Nikesh Arora, Google president of global sales, told Reuters, adding “I think in the next 5 to 8 years 30-50% of the media is going to be consumed on the web, and if you look at the advertising proportion of the Internet versus the overall ad market, we are still under 10%.”

The explosion in this area is becoming noticeable, and although it still seems too early to call this the year of the mobile, as our reader’s poll identifies this week, interest in smartphones is increasing. The Mobile Marketing Association has recognised this by highlighting its efforts and focus to minimise the cost, risk and time to market for consumer agencies, brands and retailers as they implement mobile marketing strategies through a new initiative.

Our guest columnists from Forrester delve into this more, offering insight into how to calculate ROI for investment in mobile.

We also have two election-themed commentary pieces observing if digital really affected the election and what the coalition government might do to the rushed-in Digital Economy Bill.

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