Dorrian Porter is the founder and CEO of Mozes, a mobile audience engagement platform.
AdExchanger.com: You’ve seen the mobile industry change quite a bit since Mozes was founded in 2005. What is one change in the company’s strategy that you’d make at the beginning if you could?
DP: We pre-maturely pitched the concept of a broad mobile marketing platform when we should have been pitching simpler tactics because the market was fairly nascent at the time. For example, mobile contests have been a popular use case so we should have simply called ourselves a mobile contesting platform. Now that we have almost 12 million unique US mobile consumers using the service, our customers are thinking beyond mobile contests and becoming more strategic. They are exploring other types of mobile engagement like voting, trivia, user generated content, and mobile commerce. We’re getting much more interest and traction as marketers become more sophisticated about their mobile marketing strategies and campaigns.
What problem is Mozes solving today?
Today, marketers at most brands are spending over 80% of their marketing budgets in traditional media, yet yearn for more ongoing engagement with consumers and comprehensive measurement tools on how their offline and online marketing efforts pay off. Mobile engagement allows brands to engage at the “point of inspiration,” and bridge the physical and digital worlds. Marketers who use Mozes create a more holistic view of the customer and run more integrated campaigns, which leads to more effective conversations and interactions across all brand touch points.
Mobile commerce is set for explosive growth in 2012. Right now mobile commerce is focused on in-application purchases (i.e. games, virtual goods, etc.), but there are some pretty big reasons for a larger shift. First, marketers are finally adopting mobile as a communication channel with consumers, which is critical to get them thinking about how to bridge the conversation to commerce. Second, consumers are showing a preference to use their mobile device. We recently sold 400 $25 posters at a single music concert via the mobile device.
What does the competitive set look like today for Mozes?
Most of the notable mobile players have focused on mobile advertising like Admob (acquired by Google), InMobi, and Velti, or building apps with companies like Augme and Vibes. We’re seeing some companies claim to be a comprehensive mobile marketing platform, but I think you’ll see every company in mobile get more focused. Our focus on combining mobile engagement with events, sponsorship and consumer passion points like sports and music is unique in the market. Marketers spend nearly $20 billion on sponsorships in the US alone and mobile has a huge opportunity to make that spend more effective and measurable.
Any thoughts about getting into the mobile display ad network business either through apps or the mobile browser? Could be a good extension of the biz, no?
We are actively exploring partnerships in this area and we see a huge opportunity to work with customers on mobile engagement campaigns that play well with mobile advertising. You could even argue that the current model of taking digital advertising to the mobile phone won’t work for consumers at all. It’s likely going to take a contextually relevant approach for mobile advertising to be successful, like tying a user’s location to a point of sale, an event, or even a billboard ad. That’s where mobile engagement will really shine.
What has surprised you about mobile advertising recently? Any trends you can share beyond overall growth and adoption of mobile?
The rise of HTML5 is happening in a significant way and we’re going to see it live up to expectations as the best way to build innovative applications and advertising experiences. Our company is starting to invest significantly in HMTL5 capabilities that will allow marketers to create smart phone experiences for consumers in a few clicks.
What are the typical success metrics that your clients look at?
Our clients are looking to Mozes to contribute to overall campaign awareness, better direct engagement from consumers with their campaigns and the number of opt-ins to email, mobile or social programs. When you think about the vast amount of marketing that is not digital, mobile also brings measurement metrics across all forms of advertising.
What’s the perfect type of client for Mozes?
Marketers who are already marketing around consumer passion points like sports, music and causes have a huge leg up when it comes to mobile marketing because consumers are ready to engage. We’ve targeted some of the largest brands who are spending in areas like professional sports, extreme sports, the NCAA, music tours and charity events. These brands tend to quickly see the value of mobile and how to use mobile data, combined with social data, to make their overall campaigns around these passion points more successful.
The company was last funded in 2008. Any plans or need for a future round of funding?
Actually, we received a small round in 2010 and are emerging as a profitable business. At this point, we are focused on making the product as easy and powerful as possible for our customers.
A year from now, what milestones would you like to have seen the company accomplish?
We’d like to continue to grow our business with some of our most innovative customers like Sprint, Ford, Live Nation, Rock the Vote and Jim Beam. We’re on track this year to surpass delivery of 170,000 mobile campaigns since we started. Based on our current trajectory, I’d expect that in a year our customer roster will have expanded considerably among brand, music and sports marketers looking to drive better marketing with mobile. I also expect the overall mobile marketing industry to significantly grow–both in interest and investment–to become a standard stand-alone line item in all marketing budgets and as part of any integrated marketing campaign.