Five-minute interview: Kerstin Trikalitis, Out There Media; MMA

In June 2012, Kerstin Trikalitis was appointed chairperson of the MMA EMEA board. She is the CEO of specialist mobile advertising agency Out There Media. The company boasts that its opt-in mobile advertising platform reaches 500 million mobile customers, via SMS and mobile Web, through partnerships with 40 mobile operators. Out There Media is based in Vienna, Austria, with offices in Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Ukraine and the US. Before joining the agency in 2008, Trikalitis was MD of WIN plc (now part of IMImobile).
You can catch Kerstin Trikalitis at MMA Forum Istanbul 2012, November 14-15, 2012 (mobiThinking readers can claim a 15 percent discount for this event with promotional code mobithinking_MMAF2012).

1. What is the one thing that gets you most excited about mobile Web, mobile services and/or mobile marketing?
For me there is one key word, when it comes to mobile, and that word is speed: I’m thinking about speed in adoption, in evolution, in development, in communication. Both in business and personal terms, mobile is the fastest-growing sector globally, and one that is full of amazing prospects ahead. In the mobile world, there are no dull moments. I can’t think of a more exciting sector to be in right now!

2. What are your favorite (and least favorite) a) mobile Websites, b) mobile services c) mobile campaigns? What can the rest of us learn from these?
As I seem to be travelling all the time, I really appreciate the sites that keep me in touch with friends all over the world, such as Facebook and Twitter, although there are times that I am really grateful for resources that are perfectly optimized for mobile, and help me find everything I need, such as Google or Wikipedia. As far as mobile campaigns are concerned, I have thousands of favorites – mostly these are the campaigns that we have been designing and running for our clients since we started the company.

3. Who is the new kid on the block – the mobile site/business to watch for the future?
The mobile sector seems to be at its hottest currently, which is why we see lots of new startups with fresh ideas and innovative products come about all the time. I do like, however, new propositions that actually bring mobile technology to real life. One of these is Innovalley, which develops wearable technology for the mobile user of today.

4. What (vertical) sector would you say is furthest ahead in mobile Web/mobile marketing? What can the rest of us learn from this sector?
We see a growing number of verticals capitalizing on the many and various benefits and capabilities of mobile advertising. For instance, consumer technology companies can very effectively showcase their offerings directly to their customers, while music and entertainment players use sound, image and video to keep their customers happy and loyal. However, I believe that the retail sector, using location-based services as well as mobile coupons, are steadily entering a new era in the relationship with their customers. And last but not least, when mobile payments are mature enough for general roll-out, this will be yet another breakthrough, which will also have a massive impact in the industry as a whole.

5. What’s the most exciting/inspirational country/part of the world for mobile Internet/mobile marketing? What can the rest of us learn from there?
Out There Media operates in over 20 countries across the world, so we have the privilege of coming to contact with multiple mobile cultures on a daily basis. The knowledge and experience that we gain from this are, of course, invaluable. If I were to choose one part of the world, however, that would be Asia-Pacific, and countries such as Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. There we see companies and consumers that are bold, creative, open-minded and keen to innovate, which explains why some of the most exciting mobile advertising campaigns that we have designed and rolled out to date are related to that region. Of course, for this to happen, it is essential that blue-chip companies actively incorporate mobile advertising into their marketing mix and run innovative campaigns with impressive results. This is why I am happy to single out some very special companies that we work with in this region, such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, BMW and Coca-Cola.

Q6. What technology or initiative is most likely to revolutionize mobile Web/marketing? What sites/brands use this to maximum effect?
I have no doubt that Location-Based Services (LBS) is the technology that will enable mobile advertising to fully materialize its potential and at the same time be one of the most powerful drivers of its growth. In a recently-published report, Berg Insight predicted that Location-Based Advertising will account for 28.3 percent of mobile ad spend in 2016. I’m really positive about this, since it will make mobile advertising more targeted, immediate and relevant than ever before. Our aim, however, is that, in the future, location-based mobile advertising will be a powerful tool for more and more companies across the board, including small businesses competing for customers on the high street.

7. If you could wave your magic wand and change one thing in the industry, what would it be?
I would love to be able to speed up the process of education on the benefits of mobile advertising in more and more markets across the world. It makes sense for publishers, operators, brands and agencies and, of course, consumers. Mobile advertising is steadily claiming its rightful place in the media mix of campaigns across the globe, I would just like this process to become faster, for everyone’s benefit.

8. What’s the biggest mistake in mobile Web/marketing?
There is no bigger mistake in mobile advertising than the unsolicited sending of advertisements on a subscriber’s mobile phone – in other words, spam. As pioneers in permission-based mobile advertising, we see every day how the ability to opt-in to mobile advertising tailored to one’s needs, hobbies or lifestyle, as well as the ease in opting out, are very powerful factors in the adoption of mobile advertising by a growing number of subscribers globally. On the other hand, spamming, done by irresponsible providers who are only after short-term financial gain, harms people’s perceptions of the value of mobile advertising and may deprive them of a significant addition to their enjoyment of everyday life. Thankfully this is a phenomenon in decrease, as everything seems to point to the fact that opt-in mobile advertising is the smartest option.

9. What are the most useful resources – sites, must-read books, associations etc – for mobile marketers?
I like to keep up-to-the minute with developments in the industry, so I frequently visit – and thus recommend – sites such as Mobile Entertainment News, Mobile Marketing Watch and TechCrunch. Most of all, however, my colleagues and I value the opinion and experience exchange platform, as well as the networking opportunities presented by the MMA, of which Out There Media is a Global Board Member, and I have the honor of being Chairperson of the EMEA Board.

Q10. Which mobile-marketing guru would you like to do our five-minute interview next?
I would definitely recommend Tom Daly, director of mobile interactive market for the Coca-Cola Company, for your next five-minute interview. He is a true expert, with rich experience in mobile advertising and one of the top ambassadors of our medium at global level.

Previous mobiThinking five-minute interviews:
Scott Seaborn, XS2Jay Emmet, OpenMarketChris Bourke, MobextDr KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCityCarsten Frien, MadvertisePam Horan, Online Publishers AssociationBarney Loehnis, OgilvyOne, Asia PacificTom Eslinger, Saatchi & Saatchi

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• Role of mobile in publishing – friend or foe? Interview with Judith Curr, Atria Books
• The insiders’ guides to world’s greatest mobile markets
• Guide to mobile industry awards
• The big compendium of global mobile stats

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