OMMA Panel: Mobile Still Lacks Scale
There was some dissent, with notable exceptions cited, but everyone agreed that mobile marketing still has not lived up to its full potential.
On the issue of scale, Genex CEO Walter Schild said he was excited about the proliferation of useful applications that engage consumers with data on their mobile phones, pointing to the promise of video and search advertising.
But achieving large-scale reach "is more complicated now than ever before," because "what we're lacking is the advertising networks," Schild said. "We just don't have the scale of platforms. We really need to build the next-generation networks for delivering ads and distribution of applications. We don't want to negotiate with five different carriers. We want to be able to talk to one or two major players and reach the masses like in North America."
Ujjal Kohli, the CEO of Rhythm Media, cautioned that it will be harder to achieve scale for high-engagement mobile applications because things like games--while appropriate for big, familiar brands "like Nike, Burger King, and Apple"--are less plausible as branded experiences for "more marginal brands like headache pills, cleaning supplies, insurance companies."
By contrast, Jeremy Wright, global director of mobile brand strategy for Nokia, objected: "My God, it has scale ... look at 'American Idol' with simple text messaging.
Over 90% of Americans have mobile devices." According to Wright, Sprint can deliver 18 million uniques in various networks, "with whatever scale you like."