The Associated Press newswire has just published an interesting story about mobile marketing, which included a nice mention of SnapTell.
Advertisers have been spending a little money here, a little there trying to gauge what works on mobile phones. The efforts so far are best described as trials and pilots, lacking in comprehensive strategy.
"It's the Wild, Wild West right now," said Rick Sizemore, chief strategy officer for the tech consultancy Multimedia Intelligence. "This is an interesting and compelling vehicle, but they don't necessarily know who to work with. There are so many options out there — a lot of hype with no substance, and then a couple of gems."
SnapTell is among Sizemore's favorites.
Gautam Bhargava, SnapTell's co-founder and chief executive, said the company considered the phone's unique qualities — its lack of regular keyboards in most cases, and the ubiquity of built-in cameras. Rather than require someone to punch in a brand name using a clunky keypad, the company decided to accept picture messages.
"We wanted to make it simple for the end user," Bhargava said. "There's nothing to install on your phone. You don't need to pre-register. We do not have to worry about whether you are with Carrier A, B or C."
Anick J Jesdanun, the AP reporter, cited a third potential problem: the cost of data transfer. This is something that everyone in the mobile marketing industry is eager to address. Following the trail of the earliest adopters of smart phone services, we believe consumers will be increasingly inclined to sign up for unlimited data plans.
Wireless providers are also experimenting with ways that consumers can earn free airtime – such as, as the AP article pointed out, Virgin Mobile USA "Sugar Mama," a program that lets customers earn up to 75 minutes of free airtime each month by watching ads or responding to mobile surveys. PepsiCo Inc., the U.S. Navy and Nintendo Co. have been among the brands participating. More than 10 percent of Virgin Mobile USA's 5 million customers have signed up for the program so far.