I was in the Mobile Marketing and Branding track at World Telemedia for most of today, including speaking in the last two sessions of the day. I hadn't thought about until today, but over the past year I've become somewhat connected in this field – I kept running into people I know and have just seen at other recent conferences.
Some forms of mobile marketing are highly developed. I refer of course to SMS and WAP push-based systems which have evolved from simple SMS broadcast to highly targeted campaigns, based on contextual and behavioral information. It's just economics – even at bulk rates, SMS costs money and everyone is measuring their ROI. Also, on the WAP side, all the web analytics that can be applied are in use, so rich click streams are routinely captured.
But there are significant limitations in the mobile space compared to the web. About the only things common across all handsets are voice, SMS and, hopefully, a WAP browser. But that's a browser with only one context. If you have clickable advertising in your handset application, and the user clicks, they are gone from your application and must restart and possibly re-login upon return. Despite problems, there many companies pressing the limits.
The situation with the mobile operators is less advanced – at least compared with data-driven marketing leaders like Walmart, Tesco or Amazon. Worse, the big issues for operators are acquisition costs, ARPU and churn. Despite a public desire to drive data and content revenue, operators can't afford to jeopardize their cash cow, which is voice and person-to-person SMS. So they are extremely cautious.
What was my topic? My title was Leveraging Telecom-Specific Info to Drive Consumer Behavior. By telecom-specific info, I refer to Call Detail Records (CDRs) – a rich set of information phone companies have been capturing for 100+ years, but have never used for anything besides billing. Unfortunately, I'm not prepared to write up the details right now. Sorry, you had to be there...