What is the biggest mobile roadblock?

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Michele Deziel, SVP of Marketing, Modiv Media Inc.

More than 20 years in marketing and selling software applications

The decoupling of Verizon services has broad implications for the mobile market, but overall there is tremendous potential for innovation. Consumers can have better and more enriching mobile experiences. They will have more choices in the types of sophisticated applications they can run on their handsets, and they will have the ability to turn on and off those applications at will — without asking the carrier's permission.

However, from a consumer perspective, customer support is a significant obstacle. Who will provide customer support when there is a problem with a killer app? Because Verizon currently has 25 call centers nationwide with about 1,000 employees in each center, it is looking to reduce call-center costs. Pushing resolution issues to the third-party vendors would be a logical next step.

Adding to the challenge above, two additional issues are the expensive short code rental costs and the lengthy program approval process. Individual developers or small businesses that are looking to create pull-based coupon applications require a short code, or a four or five digit phone number to a specific keyword. Currently, it costs about $8,000 per year to rent a short code. For small businesses that want to venture into this market, the entry price point is much too high.

Also, today the approval process to receive program approval on a short code takes anywhere from two to three months. Will a new certification process add even more time? Time is of the essence in the mobile market.

 

CONTENDER

Steve Leonard, GM of off-deck at Motricity

Led development of content distribution platform and direct billing with carriers

The No. 1 obstacle to success for US mobile campaigns is that there isn't standardization of mobile advertising formats across media — from on-deck to off-deck or from SMS marketing to WAP banner ads. Carriers are still dipping their toes in the water when it comes to mobile marketing, and the off-deck mobile advertising market is still very nascent.

With Verizon and Google opening up they are fragmenting the industry even more. There are millions of devices out there and the content that marketers want to spread has to go through a lot of hoops to reach each device. The more devices you add, the more that challenge increases. This lack of standardization leads to fragmentation, which leads to lack of knowledge or education within the industry.

We are on the cusp of seeing some really huge growth in the industry yet, despite how far the industry has come, there are still marketers out there asking basic level questions.

In addition, the US consumer uses the mobile phone differently than European or Asian consumers. Buyers in the US are more used to getting information from a desktop or laptop than a mobile device.

On the brand marketing side, it becomes hard for marketing folks to understand mobile even though the personalization and usage make it a hot marketing channel.

In my opinion, you shouldn't have to be a mobile ecosystem expert to execute a mobile marketing effort, but that's the way it is today.

 

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