Thursday, March 29, 2007

Enpocket Makes Mobile Advertising Look Mature

As you know from Monday's post, I’ve been poking around a bit at mobile marketing software. One company that turned up is Enpocket, a Boston-based firm that has developed what appears—and I’m basing this only on their Web site—to be an impressively complete system for managing mobile advertising campaigns. Its two main components are a marketing engine that sends messages in pretty much any format (text, email, Web page, video, etc.), and a personalization engine that builds self-adjusting predictive models to target those messages. The marketing engine also maintains some form of customer database—again, I haven’t contacted the company for details—that holds customer preferences and permissions, predictive model scores, and external information such as demographics, billing, and phone usage.

Enpocket describes this in some detail in a white paper published last year. The paper is aimed primarily at convincing mobile phone operators to use the system themselves to market data services to their customers. This is just one small opportunity within the world of mobile marketing, but perhaps it’s a shrewd place to start since the operators have full access to internal data that might not be available to others. Other materials on the enpocket site indicate they also work with other types of advertisers. The enpocket Web site also says they now offer a content and community management module (not sure why those are lumped together) that is not mentioned in the white paper.

I don’t know what, if anything, is truly unique about enpocket. For example, Ad Infuse also uses “advanced matching algorithms” to target mobile ads. Waterfall Mobile promises interactive features (voting, polling, on-demand content delivery, etc.) that enpocket doesn’t mention. But what impresses me about enpocket is the maturity of their vision: rule-based and event-triggered campaigns linked to a customer database and automated targeting engine.

It took conventional database marketers years to reach this stage. Even Web marketers are just starting to get there. Obviously enpocket has the advantage of building on what’s already been done in other media. But there’s still a big difference between knowing what should be done, and actually doing it. While I don’t know what enpocket has actually delivered, at least they’re making the right promises.

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