Operators should control the medium
Flytxt, a technology platform developer and deployer of mobile marketing and advertising technology and services, already enjoys the backing of top European venture capital firms like Clifton Holdings, IVC Venture Capital AG, RM Shareholding Management and Schnell Consult. With the 3G roll out gaining pace in India, the company, with its headquarters in India, is beefing up its offerings. Abhay Doshi, senior director and global strategy head-product and marketing, tells Raghuvir Badrinath how Flytxt is planning to ride the tide.
Mobile with its unique attributes is an unparalleled marketing channel. But on a flip side, mobile is a highly personalised and sensitive channel. If the communication is not relevant to the person receiving it, mobile advertising could have a reverse impact and can even be dismissed as spam. In order to unlock the full potential of mobile as a marketing and advertising channel, operators have to take control of the medium. Currently, they are just acting as bit pipe provider selling their SMS inventory at a wholesale price — at the rate of transaction per second (TPS). Operators need to realise the value of subscriber touch points, and stop selling it in bulk. If operators take full control of the medium, we will see mobile advertising changing from spam to personalised subscriber communication. Privacy will be a concern, and those operators who can take care of privacy mechanisms and drive preference-based mobile advertising to consumers will benefit. It is here we come with our products that are designed to optimise value of mobile marketing and advertising by ensuring highest relevance to consumers.
Despite the advantages, mobile marketing has not really taken off. So far, only SMS is promoted as the most-preferred and abundant touch point by operators. From a marketer’s perspective, it has limited scope for creativity and of differentiating from mom-and-pops shop. Though MMS also has a lot of potential, it has not yet taken off due to limitations in handset support. Mobile video is another subscriber engagement channel, which has not been a hit due to lack of high-speed wireless internet connectivity. With 3G coming to India and availability of handsets with MMS and 3G capabilities, operators should promote other mobile channels apart from SMS.
What is the level of maturity of mobile advertising in India?
Majority of marketing impressions over the mobile channel are operators selling something to their subscribers. Mobile advertising, that is brands using mobile as a channel for advertising is at a very nascent stage. Advertisers need to believe in the results of their investments before mobile advertising can take off. Recent advances in campaign platforms enable operators to accurately demonstrate the impact of individual adverts.
How is the arrival of smartphones and tablet PCs, along with 3G and 4G, set to change of scene of mobile advertising in India?
Until now, one of the biggest challenges for digital advertising has been lack of internet penetration in the country. With the arrival of 3G and 4G, internet availability will not be a hindrance anymore. New price trends in tablet PCs will make it easier to hit the $100 tipping point. Once that is broken, we will follow similar exponential growth as we saw in mobiles once the $100 price barrier was broken in 2002. This surge in internet users will be the prime focus for advertisers. Operators should be ready to provide rich touch points to reach subscribers in more personalised and innovative ways. One of the areas that will see significant growth is ad-sponsored content. Operators will provide subsidies to subscriber for using branded Aps Widgets as well.
We are teaming up with operators to monetise their strategic assets and improve customer experience. Flytxt’s flagship product, NEON, optimises subscriber value at mobile operators by enabling more effective marketing of their voice, data and VAS products and by building subscriber loyalty. QREDA, the second product of Flytxt connects all brands with all consumers using mobile opertors’ subscriber insights, spread across multiple operators’ network.