4INFO announced a deal with NBC Universal today to place ads on their text-based content. It's a sign of the mobile advertising market growing up. Most text alerts are served without ads. Most content providers have had the mentality of "let's focus first on the consumer experience and worry about monetizing later." Besides, you need a audience of reasonable size and reach before it's worth monetizing. Coke doesn't buy ad space 10 messages at a time. These kinds of deals mean that the audience is large enough to be worthwhile - or is at least heading in that direction. I'd expect to see more of these deals signed in the upcoming months.
Seemed like I spoke to a lot of folks at the CTIA event this week who didn't think there was much going on. I actually thought there was. For me, the biggest takeaway is that the reality is beginning to match some of the hype we've been seeing in the market around mobile content and data services. In the past, there seemed to be a lot of talk and 1.0 versions of applications that no one other than an early adopter would touch. I saw some applications and experiences that I could envision my mother or one of my friends using.
I saw some great UI's from Nokia, T-Mobile, UIEvolution, Openwave, UIOne, et. al. - a lot more compelling than most UI's on phones today. In the past, an interface was good if it wasn't really bad. I saw some stuff this show that was really, really good. Loved the new interface on the T-Mobile device.
Played a skiing game from GestureTek. They had to pry the phone out of my hands - I didn't want to give it back. Was a good step in the direction of a mobile Wii.
There was lts going on with UGC from uLocate, Ontela, PixSense, and many others - those are just a handful of the ones I saw today.
MobiTV announced that they passed the three million mark recently for mobile video subscribers worldwide. Yes, it's worldwide. Yes, it's across 20 operators which doesn't amount to a ton per operator. It's still an impressive number. The third million came much faster than the first or second - good sign.
I recently heard from a client who wanted to know whether I had any data or best practices around how business-to-business firms define – and count – their customers.
Here are two scenarios to consider:
A large software company sells to Vodafone UK, Vodafone Spain, and Verizon (US). All are owned by the parent company, Vodafone. Each entity goes through a separate buying process, contract negotiation, and installation. How would you count this: as one customer or three?
A top ten professional services firm has separate engagements with GE Money, GE Appliance, and GE Medical. These are three very different businesses, each with a separate purchase process. How would you classify any subsequent sales to GE Appliance: cross-sells/upsells or new business?
My perspective: I see B2B companies define “customer” as a legal entity with which they have a contractual obligation. A “customer” is the part of the organization with the budget authority and the potential to deliver a future revenue stream through service contracts, training, consulting, upsell/cross-sell, and the like – without having to run to the parent for approval.
Boost Mobile and Cellfire announced a partnership today to put Cellfire's coupon application on their cell phones. The article doesn't say that Boost will pre-load the application, but a spot on their portal is a start. Makes great sense given their customer base.