Mobile Phone Advertising

I’ve recently just begun to spend a little bit of time thinking about marketing and advertising on mobile phones. With my background in online/e-mail direct marketing, I can easily see the potential power of direct marketing opportunities that the mobile phone platform offers. Obviously, members of groups like the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) see the promise as well. It seems to me, however, that most of the mobile marketing to date has been the utilization of white-labeled storefronts for brands to extend into images, ringtones, and games. Or MMS/SMS opt-in promotions. Will we ever see banner-ads or text-ads, akin to those online, enabled by advertising networks embedded into applications or even onto the deck itself? In five years will I open up my flip-phone and see an ad before I answer my call?

It seems to me that the difference between online and mobile marketing is that the consumers fundamentally view media consumption on these channels as different. Consumers expect everything online to be “free,” and thus tolerate an amount of intrusiveness from advertising. On the other hand, consumers are conscious of and willing to pay for their phones’ service and the content that goes with it. An inappropriate or ill-timed advertisement could overly disgruntle a user away from either the carrier or the marketer. The hurdle promote on a mobile phone seems like a high one which deserves careful attention of those who are pursuing these avenues. But if approached correctly, it seems like quite an opportunity. Because of this working hypothesis, I’m going to continue to spend more time here; again, it’s something that I’ve just started to think about.

David Beisel

David Beisel is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has been focused on early stage Internet startups his entire career, both as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. As an investor in the digital media space, David was most recently a Vice President at Venrock and previously a Principal at Masthead Venture Partners. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, David co-founded Sombasa Media, an e-mail marketing company best known for its flagship product BargainDog. Sombasa was successfully acquired by About.com where David served as Vice President of Marketing. David holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an AB in Economics, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Duke University. He also founded and leads the Boston Innovators Group, an organization which holds quarterly entrepreneur events drawing a thousand attendees.

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