Our series wouldn’t be complete without a profile of a Canadian mobile marketing company and trends they see for 2008, below is the interview I did with Jonathan Dunn, Director of Communications with Vortex Mobile.
Any highlights for Vortex Mobile last year that really shaped your business?
2007 was a big year for Vortex. The first big change was a re-branding from Vortxt Interactive to Vortex Mobile. The change was made to better reflect our expertise in multi-media messaging and the mobile internet space. Trying to stay ahead of the curve in an emerging media space like mobile is hard work. But we succeeded by delivering programs that used picture & video messaging, user generated content, interactive voice recording, mobile websites and a broad range of SMS based applications.
The second major highlight was the growth of our client roster. New client wins included Dove, Adidas, Vtech, Nestle, Winners, Tag, Scotiabank, Staples, Jean Machine, Pure Divine and a whole bunch more. We also ran repeat programs with existing clients that include Levi’s, Barcardi, Playtex and Microsoft. The ability to deliver on the promises that came with our re-brand really help drive biz dev.
Our business tools division gained momentum as Shiftex, the first product in North America to use two-way SMS to resolve shift and scheduling issues, ran trials with several household-name quick service restaurant chains and signed up its first major client, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. We also minted a partnership with Kronos, a leading workforce management solutions provider, to offer Shiftex as part of their product suite.
Other highlights included revenue growth of 100% and the addition of 5 new staff. Our founders, Brady Murphy and Adrian Schauer, were named to Marketing magazine’s 2007 One’s to Watch. Brady has also been a regular contributor on all things mobile at the CMA’s blog while Adrian moderated the Mobile panel at the IAB’s Interactive to the Max: Genius Edition event in November.
Will mobile marketing continue to grow in 2008? Any particular factors that will cause this growth?
Mobile marketing will definitely continue to grow, but by how much depends on a whole bunch of factors. SMS programs will continue to be embraced by marketers looking to increase the interactivity of their media impressions and deepen brand-consumer engagement. Marketers will like the deep measurement that mobile can add and its cost-effectiveness as a plug-in to existing promotions. We’ve build our own measurement dashboard that clients really like, but the Mobile Marketing Association has struck a committee to establish measurement standards and it will only help the industry to have universal (or at least widely-accepted) metrics.
Whether next-generation applications (next generation in Canada, anyway) like mobile advertising, multi-media messaging and the mobile internet will take off really depends on the carriers bring down data rates to a level more in-line with what we see in other countries.
I think we’ll also see mobile ticketing and mobile coupons take a step forward as QR codes and the required technology get more of a foothold. But don’t be surprised if we’re saying the same thing at this time next year too. We might also see mobile commerce applications start to peek over the horizon but there’s still a big technology gap to bridge.
Ultimately, mobile’s success will have a lot to do with marketers and mobile service providers like Vortex respecting the highly personal nature of the mobile phone. Mobile’s a permission-based marketing activity. The consumer is ultimately in control and they will quickly stop paying attention to any campaign that abuses that permission or doesn’t deliver a compelling interaction and balanced value-exchange.
What can we expect from Vortex Mobile in 2008?
We’ll definitely be looking to add more people to help us manage the business growth and the technology requirements of living in this space.
The mobile marketing business will continue to be our bread and butter and I’d also expect to see big growth in our mobile business tools operations as Shiftex starts to generate more attention and more companies recognize how mobile can be used to solve human resources and other operational business challenges.
We’re making one big move with the launch of Vortex Social (more on that soon). Leveraging our development team’s expertise with emerging platforms, Vortex Social will focus on Facebook application development and we’ve already locked down some nice pieces of business on that front. Expect to hear a lot more from us in that space.