Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) today unveiled its mobile advertising solution, which company officials said will allow mobile operators to create more available ad space and provide advertisers with access to highly targeted audiences.
In an interview with TMCnet, Alcatel-Lucent officials explained that the Paris-based company’s new product, Optism, helps mobile operators develop new business models and offer more personalized experiences to their subscribers. In turn, it helps advertisers reach wider, more targeted audiences through permission and preference-based mobile marketing that is aggregated across multiple mobile operators, helping them expose “tangible and intangible assets.”
Thomas Labarthe, vice president of mobile advertising at Alcatel-Lucent, explained how Optism helps mobile operators offer more personalized experiences to their subscribers and what led to building an intuitive interface that bridges operators and advertisers.
“When we started this project 18 months ago, we spent quite some time with advertisers and agencies, and one clear message that we heard from them is that they needed someone in the market to make it easy to buy mobile and that in such circumstances, there is no doubt they will invest more in mobile [advertising],” Labarthe explained, noting that scale and simplicity ranked high on their list, and Alcatel-Lucent saw a “clear acceptance” of this kind of mobile ad solution.
Company officials said that at the heart of the product is a scalable, hosted advertising platform that reduces barriers for mobile operators and connects them with advertisers. The platform is built on three components: a hosted solution with an innovative business model; an aggregated, scalable solution that removes technical and operational obstacles; and the third positions Alcatel-Lucent as a media arm that brokers relationships between operators and advertisers, managing dynamically their preferences.
In addition, Alcatel-Lucent has been working closely with the Marketing Management Analytics (MMA) to develop standardization of permission-based media.
“They took the concept of conversational marketing to mobile [advertising], so the kinds of campaigns where an advertiser asks a question to the end-user to qualify their interest or non-interest,” then follows with a very targeted campaign based on preferences that are gathered quickly, Labarthe said.
“The more the system is used, the better the understanding of end users’ preferences,” he said. At the end of a dialog, Alcatel-Lucent can add “call to actions” that engenders the user to provide additional information so the advertiser has a targeted understanding of the users’ demographics and, in turn, provided a more personalized service for their subscribers.
“By first helping the operators run an opt-in campaign, we identify the demographics that will naturally respond more positively to these types of campaigns and services. As part of our proposal, we help the operators build their go-to-market plan for this type of mobile advertising service that includes targeting the right sort of groups within their subscriber base, which channels to use, whether an incentive will be provided, etc.,” Labarthe said.
He explained that through the initial opt-in campaign, based on gender and age segments, postal codes, “just with that basic information, including the use of their tool as targeting elements, we then basically start these dialog campaigns with operators and end users. Through all the targeting –we learn something about the end user. There are elaborated data mining and algorithms used on the basis of those preferences. “We have also the experience as to how to keep the end user engaged in the process,” he said.
In terms of protecting the end users’ privacy, Labarthe said, “We tried to make things extremely transparent to the end user. The opt-in process is extremely explicit. End users know what they will get and we’ve also made it extremely explicit as to how they can modify their profile. We’ve taken extreme precautions on user privacy, protecting their data.”
As an example, Alcatel-Lucent only stores permission and preference-based data. The operator stores the mobile number, which means that the information is not associated with a specific mobile number and cannot be reconciled. “Privacy is third piece we have paid extreme attention to,” Labarthe said.
A key component of Optism is its media arm, which brokers relationships between mobile operators and advertisers, greatly simplifying the media selling process for aggregated operator inventory.
“Our team of experts is able to assist agencies in terms of education on this type of medium, how to use our Web-based booking tool that we have created we have made available to their usage,” Labarthe said. And on the operator side, Alcatel-Lucent brings them a “go-to-market” strategy that ultimately bridges the operator and the advertiser.
Austrian mobile network operator Orange Austria has already deployed Optism, which connects their subscribers with the brands that they care about, and provides access to information and offers.
“By working with Alcatel-Lucent, we can provide value to our subscribers by ensuring that ads are interest based, while growing our revenue without adding complexity to our operations,” said Juergen Pillinger, senior business developer, advertising solutions, at Orange Austria. “The mobile advertising solution allows us to deliver targeted ads that subscribers actually want to receive, while providing a highly responsive channel for brands and media agencies.”
Company officials said that Optism Mobile Advertising Solution supports Alcatel-Lucent’s application enablement vision to combine the capabilities of network operators with the speed and innovation of the Web to provide end users and enterprises with a “richer and more trusted” Web experience.
Erin Harrison is a senior editor with TMCnet, primarily covering telecom expense management, politics and technology and Web 2.0. She serves as senior editor for TMC's (News - Alert) print publications, including "Internet Telephony", "Customer Interaction Solutions", "Unified Communications" and "NGN" magazines. Erin also oversees production of TMCnet's weekly iPhone (News - Alert) e-Newsletter. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Erin Harrison