I had the honor and privilege to present to the MMA Global event in New York City where I gave the first keynote of day 2. I was asked to present magical mobile marketing examples from around the world, featuring both sides of the Digital Divide (more about my presentation in chronological order here below).
As luck would have it, my flight arrived very early and I was able to join Day 1 nearly from the beginning. And I stayed for the full 2 days of the event, and made meticulous notes of all presentations. I was stunned to find at the end, that I had made more notes of this event - which indicates innovations and relevant updates - than any other event in mobile that I have ever attended before in my over 260 public speakerships in over 40 countries on all six inhabited continents. Noting that those include the biggest telecoms event of North America - the CTIA, the biggest telecoms event of Asia, CommunicAsia, the biggest telecoms event of Latin America, Andicom, and the biggest telecoms event in the world (and of Europe obviously) - the Mobile World Congress - this 2 day New York event arranged by the MMA was something quite exceptional. I promised to blog about what I had found noteworthy.
I also want to mention two very fascinating observations. First, that as mobile advertising is quite old as a concept - I chaired the world's first mobile advertising conference (held in London by the WAA the Wireless Advertising Association, which later merged to form part of the MMA) almost ten years ago - we've seen mobile advertising and marketing experience a slow growth through most of this decade. Certainly its innovations and revenues and market successes have been in the shadow of ringing tones and videogames and news and social networking until very recently. Mobile advertising for most of the past decade has not been particularly innovative. That has now changed radically, no doubt most of all propelled by the USA-driven global advertising industry, which was awoken only after 2007 when the iPhone hit the pockets of every self-respecting ad man and mad man (and -woman).
Secondly, one would be forgiven to assume, that a mobile advertising and marketing event held in the USA today, would be filled with iPhone Apps hysteria (the iSyndrome, as our friend Martin Wilson calls the mistaken notion that building an iPhone app translates into a mobile strategy haha...) and location based advertising hype. And that the American audience would not be offered a view into the true mass market reaches of SMS, MMS and WAP. Yes, one might think that. But this was an event arranged by the MMA, the Mobile Marketing Association. They are professionals. They know their stuff. And yes, SMS, MMS and WAP were regularly mentioned, and even more reassuringly, many speakers emphasized the point, that while advertising clients (the 'brands') often requested iPhone apps in first meetings, the reality is today for MMA members, that even in the USA, they run mostly SMS, MMS and WAP solutions for most mobile advertising and marketing uses, and apps are - as they should be - a minor element for the premium smartphone segment where they can add value. And as to location based ads, there was very little mention of this other overhyped proposition.
I missed the first keynote of by Soledad O'Brien of CNN, and I walked in almost at the end of the second presentation by Mike Steib of Google. I don't have any notes from his presentation. But after that, I was there the rest of the event. Lets go in chronological order the most interesting items that I made notes of. (I am not going to mention every item I observed.)
The US sports broadcasting network ESPN had Sr VP of ESPN Mobile, John Zehr present. He told us about 'Citizen Scoring' ie as ESPN sends a TV crew to televise about 2,500 live games per year, there are another half a million live junior, amateur and youth league games of some sort. These don't get formal scores into the digital record of their sports. So ESPN has set up a platform to allow fans or supporters of these games and leagues and teams, to post the official records of these games. Thus when a future professional superstar emerges, we'll have a digital record of that star's junior career all the way to first public games etc... Clever, and very 'Communities Dominate' kind of thinking over at ESPN. John called it 'structured user-generated content'.
John also told us that Dunkin Donuts has run a campaign (similar to the Lays potato chips campaign in India) where customers of DD were asked to submit ideas for a new donut flavor. The suggestions were submitted via SMS of course.
MMA NORTH AMERICA
Jack Philbin who is co-chair of MMA North America, told the Track 2 audience that the Chicago Blackhawks mobile fan club (that I have discussed before) went from 25,000 fans to 75,000 fans in one year - and this was before the Hawks won its Stanley Cup, so today that number is likely even bigger - by the way, congrats to Finnish goalie Antti Niemi for becoming the first Finnish ice hockey goalie to get his name on the Stanley Cup, and the 8th Finnish hockey player across all time.
Sybase365 is the mobile arm of the database IT giant Sybase, that was just bought by SAP a few weeks ago. Cameron Franks the Sr Director at Sybase 365 presented in Track 2. He told of a really cool innovation by Rite Aid the pharmacy in the USA. They have regular plastic electronic card based loyalty cards like most major retail chains. But they have now allowed their loyalty card holders to register a cellphone number as the alternate loyalty card, and can use the phone numbers as their loyalty card, so they don't need to carry the plastic card in their wallets anymore (and have the loyalty card always with them obviously through the phone). This in itself is of course great utility to custmomers, but now Rite Aid can also send targeted messages via SMS such as offers and reminders if a prescription is running out, etc.
Cameron also told us of a Blockbusters UK video rental store campaign stats, that over 1 million rentals related coupons have been delivered (discounts, free drinks offers etc) and 100,000 of those have been redeemed ie conversion rate of 10%. Cameron pointed out that with paper coupons, all any company can do, is to validate the paper coupon itself (that it is not fraudulent) but with mobile coupons, of course the coupon itself can be validated, but so too can the customer using the coupon, be validated. Very powerful improvement over paper.
The Weather Channel has for many years had more total web usage in the USA coming from mobile users, than PC users. But now Cameron Clayton, the VP Mobile, gave us unique audience numbers which I think were very revealing. On TV, the Weather Channel gets a unique audience monthly of 119 million. On the PC, they get 42 million. On mobile they get 22 million. And on the iPad they have 520,000. Cameron also made a funny statement, that the Weather Channel is America's largest locatoin-based ad platform (obviously all weather forecasts they show is local ie typically TV will show weather for any city). He also said that their mobile use had 'struggled' until the iPhone came along, which 'changed everything' (haha, sounds like my original blog here before it launched, forecasting iPhone's future impact haha)
After lunch we had Salomon Masch the Director Mobile & Emerging Media for MTV. He said that while MTV has tons of video format content for mobile, 90% of all mobile advertising on MTV is WAP banner ads. He also told us that they have now adapted (MTV property) Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - a 30 minute daily news parody show - into a daily 60 second mobile summary version. (I want that on my phone haha...)
The US brewer of Budweiser beer, Anheuser Busch, had Todd Masinelli, the Sr Manager Digital, tell us about the Text Cruise to Beers contest, which is now in its 3rd year. Their Bud Light (light beer) brand has a text-to-win contest where they fill two cruise ships of contest winners on a monster party which ends on a private island with a surprise superstar rock band delivering a private rock concert. All the beer you ever wanted to drink on the cruise of course. Only way to get in, is if you text and win. They have a multi-platform campaign in all types of media, both nationally and locally where legally allowed, to drive Bud Light drinkers to try their luck in texting to win. The campaign runs from May 1 to December with continuous reminders and opportunities to reconnect with the brand along the way, while awaiting the announcement of the winners.
The award-winning NY based global digital agency, RG/A (which I mention often in my books) had my friend Richard Ting, their VP & Executive Creative Director Mobile and Emerging Platforms, on a panel (I wish we'd have had a full presentation from Richard, his presentations are always worth their weight in gold). On the panel he responded to one question telling the audience that 2 years ago, RG/A had globally only 5 dedicated mobile specialists. Today their mobile competence has grown to 85 people. That to me is prefect evidence of how much increased attention the advertising and creative agencies are now focusing on mobile, and obviously reason why so much innovation is now happening in mobile advertising and marketing. Richard also said in another reply, that their clients often now know to ask for mobile, but don't know how to do mobile.
Gene Keenan the VP of Mobile Strategy at Isobar, told of how they set up Adidas's campaign around the London Marathon. They offered all supporters of the runners, the chance to monitor the performance on mobile, plus to send personalized messages to digital billboards at given intervals at the marathon (ie any runner would see messages directed at them, correctly on time, when they approached the billboard). The total traffic yieded one half million SMS text messages during the London Marathon.
MMA BATTLE OF REGIONS
Then the event had a fantastic way to end Day 1, with a 'battle of the regions' where the Managing Directors of 3 regions of the MMA went head-to-head in a debate of whose region was best in mobile advertising and marketing. Michael Becker represented North America, Paul Berney Europe and Africa, and Rohit Dadwal Asia-Pacific. The audience (they had over 700 signed up to the event by the way, MMA's biggest event ever) voted using SMS. Each of the speakers had prepared short fact filled presentations for their regions, and we voted out one to give a final between two, and then saw more presentations for those, to then pick the winner (Paul won it). There were many really great stats and case examples that these 3 MMA veterans showed us, including several that are familiar to regular readers of this blog. I will only pick a few of my personal faves here.
In Turkey, Lipton Tea ran a campaign on ringback tones. Had 250,000 signed up. Grew Lipton sales by 47% (wow! Ringback tone advertising is VERY promising and Turkey has been an innovator in this space for a while now. Still, I was VERY impressed)
In the UK, the Ariel detergent brand had a campaign which hit 400,000 housewives using SMS and achieved a 20% response rate which generated footfall to the stores.
A TV ad (I think it was in the UK) for Wiskas cat food using SMS achieved 100,000 ads delivered and drove Wiskas sales up 30%
In South Africa, a florist chain named Sasko Flowers, ran an SMS campaign that resulted in 20% response rate.
That 'mosquito noises' campaign by Fanta that I have shown religiously for the past year as magical and fun, out of the UK, was revealed to have generated 600,000 downloads (cool, so there are about 1.2 million parents and several million teachers, who never hear those sounds while the kids play with their phones haha).
Our regular readers know intimately the award-winning BMW winter tyres MMS campaign with 30% conversion rate. I was happy to see it mentioned too, although I didn't learn anyting particular from that one haha..
The AXE virtual Wake-up girls, another of my faves right now, out of Japan, generated an increase of sales of AXE deodorant for young men, of 300%.
Out of India comes the 'Condom' ringing tone campaign, aiming to reduce Indian men's reluctance to use condoms, educate about contraception and AIDS awareness. The very funny campaign won CNN's award as best educational mobile campaign of the year, and drove condom awareness up 10% in India.
In Kenya its now possible to post savings to a funeral insurance account, via SMS.
And once again amazing milestone from Estonia - Estonia became the first country this year to allow citizens to post their tax return via SMS (don't we wish that was available in every country immediately? Ultracool) - Correction. A reader, Arild from Norway pointed ou t that Norway has offered this facility since 2003, so Estonia is no the world's first to do this.
The Puma F1 multiplayer racing game from China that I have often talked about has now usage stats - it achieved 200,000 downloads of the advergame, resulted in 300% increase in Puma sales in China, generated bonus interactions with the brand through ringing tones nad wall papers, and was so successful it forced rival Nike to react also on mobile in China.
TOMI T AHONEN - MY KEYNOTE
My keynote started Day 2. I gave 9 service examples across the digital divide, using my 8 Unique Abilities of Mobile as the framework for the case studies. As I have a tendency to do, I started first with some statistics such as that in India 33% of all messaging received by consumers is machine-originated, ie is media content, advertising, alerts or other marketing messages. I showed the stat that in Africa the average user looks at his or her mobile phone 82 times per day. And that in China of all paid newspaper circulations, paid mobile daily news updates on MMS and SMS have cannibalized 39% of the total paid readership.
I then used my line 'mobile is as different from the internet, as TV is from radio' and illustrated that when radio gave way to TV, all radio content was also replicated to TV, after which TV invented new formats you can't do on radio - like music videos - and that today TV revenues tower over those of radio. And that mobile will be exactly the same, it has already cannibalized all internet content in some way or another, it has already invented formats that are not viable on the web - like ringing tones - and that already today mobile data is bigger by revenues than total internet revenues.
Then I used the 8 Unique Benefits of mobile to showcase mobile advertising excellence, switching between the least advanced markets and the most advanced markets across the digital divide. For unique ability 1, personal, I mentioned the Australia stat that one in three spouces will spy on their partner's phone - and mostly do this while we are in the shower. My service example came from South Africa, the free Call Me service I have often talked about.
The second unique benefit of mobile is permanently connected. I quoted the UK stat that more than half sleep with the phone ringer left on, so SMS will literally reach us even in our sleep. My service example was the Guinness Sevens Rugby tournament app from Hong Kong, which includes game scores etc, includes tourist maps and of course bars serving Guinness, and that magical ability of the simple tourist translator, where the phone user clicks on an English phrase, and the phone speaks it in Cantonese - from take me to my hotel to may I have a Guinness to 'whats a pretty girl like you doing in a bar like this' haha... I also added my recent finding that this app increased Guinness beer sales by 25%
The third unique benefit is always carried. I quoted Finnair mobile check in stats that over half of fliers on short haul business routes now use the service. Then gave the example from Poland of the Knorr soups MMS based cooking guides, prepared by Poland's top TV chef.
Unique benefit number 4 is mobile payments as we know. I listed Kenya's latest number - that now their mobile banking accounts exceed traditional banking accounts (the first country to pass 50%). And as my service example, used the power of mobile to bring digital interactivity to non-interactive media, in the Coco Presso billboards campaign using NFC in Japan (where instant discount coupons can be redeemed at vending machines which are located literally next to the billboard advertising)
For unique benefit 5, creative impulse, I quoted that stunning UK youth stat, that 10% of british young adults think its ok to send SMS text messages while having sex (and for those who didn't know, obviously these young adults can all send SMS text messages single-handed and blind, so the phone may be behind the pillow for example haha). And my service example came from India with the Lay's potato chips campaign where India consumers were invited to submit ideas for new flavors. The four finalists are currently in test market after there were more than a million SMS text messaging based suggestions. The winner will get among other things, 1% revenue share of every bag of chips that new flavor will sell.
For unique benefit six, most accurate audience measurement, I quoted the AMF stats we know well here, mobile most accurate. My first example was Japan's Otetsudai networks (help wanted ads location-based service with full e-commerce etc). Then I showed the same concept can also thrive in simple tech markets, using Babajob from India where a similar service was deployed on SMS, WAP and IVR, and the addresses were manually entered by the prospective job seekers rather than automatically using the location data.
For the 7th unique benefit social context of consumption, I quoted the slightly older Jupiter stats that two thirds will try something recommended by a friend while also two thirds will forward something that they like. I used the Puma F1 race as my example - this was the only service example that I used of my nine, which had been mentioned by someone else during the two days. But I pointed out that when Rohit Dadwal of the MMA had shown the Puma F1 game, he talked of its user numbers. In my keynote, I focused on the viral aspects (social context) of the game which was also very clever.
For the 8th unique benefit, Augmented Reality, I quoted the stats on mobile virtual goods being worth 2B dollars this year, and mentioned Layar of course as the archetypal AR service. But for my AR service example, I showed the Adidas T-shirt campaign from Singapore, and illustrated to the audience how we've now moved from observational 'third person' AR to participatory 'first person' AR.
After the presentation (there was a sound glitch which caused me to run a bit over) there was the autographed book give-away of one copy of my latest hardcover book,Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media, and a rare print edition copy of Tomi Ahonen Pearls Vol 1: Mobile Advertising (it is only sold in ebook format). We ran an audience quiz of first, which country has the highest per-capita rate of mobile phones (UAE is the first country to pass 200% rate) and then where was TV-interactivity invented (the UK).
Of my presentation, based on Twitter commentary, the items that most struck the New York audience were the China 39% migration of newspapers to paid MMS/SMS news alerts, the 10% UK texting while having sex stat (of course haha) and that in India 33% of SMS is media content and/or advertising. Also the Q&A contest stat of UAE having 200% penetration rate got a lot of Twitter mentions. And I want to particularly thank Jeff Hasen, the CMO of Hip Cricket, who tweeted each of the 8 Unique abilities of mobile in its own Tweet with nice brief summary of that point and related facts.
Returning to my notes, then we had Elizabeth Harz the Sr VP for Electronic Arts (better known simply as EA the world's biggest videogaming company). She told us that EA Games has already 50 games with a 'Lite' version, where the full capability total gaming experience is given for free on a game version that has only a few levels - those who want to play the full game will need to then buy the upgrade to the rest of the levels, or other such business models.
ALCATEL - LUCENT
Then my friend Thomas Labarthe the VP of Mobile Advertising for networking equipment makers Alcatel-Lucent, was kind enough to state that their mobile advertising platform was developed based on my book Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media (thank you so much Thomas!). He further kindly attributed to me my thought that in mobile we are witnessing the third evolution of mobile advertising, the first was copying existing formats from legacy media, the second is the current interactive advertising, and the new, mostly still emerging wave, is engagement marketing.
Thomas talked of the need to have clear opt in, to be transparent to end users, and to have clear and simple opt-out options. He said something also very perceptive as we ponder 'who owns the customer' haha, Thomas said 'the customer owns the customer.'
Then we broke into streams again. I was in Stream 2, where our dear friend Antti Ohrling, the co-founder of Blyk was on a panel. (I would compain bitterly of this injustice, as Antti has forgotten more about mobile advertising than the rest of us have learned. Yes, normally Antti Ohrling should be doing a keynote of course. Except that Antti was actually used to run a workshop before the conference, so those who wanted, had received a lot of Antti's insights.) Antti told the room that in mobile the need for privacy increases 10-fold. He said traditional media had been living in a static model of segmentation, but in mobile we have dynamic segmentation ie our behavior can easily change in very short cycles, - it is possible for one person to exhibit alternate behavior several times per day, being a business professional, then a parent etc in the same day. Antti also told of a banking case in the UK without naming the actual bank, obviously, who had used Blyk to target youth first time bank accounts. When they ran their first campaign, the response was so enormous, that the bank's calling centre crashed..
Then Coke's Tara Scarlett, Sr Manager CRM, told us that the consumer today has 3 times more choice in convenience store branded items than just 30 years ago. We are now facing hyperchoice. She also told of the Coke SMS campaign of Twist, Text and Win. It was supported across multiple platforms and media, but the purpose was to drive sales of Coca Cola bottles, where under the bottle top, there was an SMS code to win prizes.
The Centers for Disease Control had sent Holli Seitz, the Presidential Management Fellow to tell us about their pilot project in mobile which they now are expanding. I particularly noted the stats that even on such a sensitive issue as the government asking for personal data related to our health, 70% of their registered users, were willing to take a 3 question survey on the phone, asking for their age, their sex and their zip code. (obviously data which is very relevant to diseases..)
Finally we had the CMO of Kodak, and bestselling author Jeffrey Hayzlett give a most dynamic and energetic and funny and emotional final keynote, based loosely around his book, The Mirror Test. Jeffrey said that photographs were the kind of property that regular consumers will run into a burning building to save. He also mentioned - very Communities Dominate haha - that the value of pictures increases when they are shared.
Ok, that was the best highlights of the MMA Global conference in New York. If they release a video of my presentation, I will blog about it and add the link also here of course. Thank you MMA for a truly wonderful event with a fantastic lineup of excellent speakers. I had a wonderful time.