Marketing Solution Goes Mobile

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SkyGo is expected today to announce its entrance into the already crowded mobile marketing field.

To accelerate trial of its product, it has planned an unorthodox promotion for late summer during which 1,000 consumers will receive free mobile phones.

SkyGo will function as an advertising and marketing provider for wireless devices. It plans to bait consumers with loyalty points and frequent-flier miles in exchange for demographic data and their selection of goods and services about which they wish to receive information. The company will then use this information to target consumers with ads delivered directly to their wireless devices.

"It is entirely opt-in. Consumers have 100 percent control over what types of information [they] want to give," said Daren Tsui, CEO of SkyGo, San Mateo, CA.

To grease the wheels among consumers, SkyGo will launch its special trial promotion in Boulder, CO, this summer. The site will give Internet-capable phones to a prequalified cross-section of 1,000 users. Boulder was chosen because of its balance of early adopters and students.

An advantage that SkyGo believes will help separate it from competitors is its ability to serve ads across many different types of wireless devices. Alerts, notifications, special offers and coupons will be delivered on a location- and time-specific basis across multiple service providers, handsets and browser versions.

"Right now, the wireless environment is very chaotic. [With our service, marketers] won't have to refabricate their ads," Tsui said.

SkyGo is in the process of creating a network of wireless carriers, Internet sites and credit card companies for mobile commerce as well as national advertisers, online media brokers and ad agencies.

While the back-end deals aren't likely to compel consumers to use the service, the company believes its offers and incentives will. For example, mobile advertising allows for first-response advertising, in which the first 10 people that respond to an ad will get a reward.

Suppliers can create time-critical special offers. Additionally, suppliers that have pre-existing loyalty programs will be able to incorporate them into the mobile world. For example, if AltaVista chooses to advertise, they can make their CMGI Points available.

To enroll, consumers are asked approximately 10 different demographic questions as well as more specific questions over time. Additionally, all of the activity consumers conduct using the service will be logged. Each of these pieces of information helps the system to target ads.

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