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Mobile is the closest you can get to your consumer: Kerstin Trikalitis

Kerstin Trikalitis, Out There Media

Mobile advertising company, Out There Media, is all set to further expand its presence in the Asia Pacific region. The company’s CEO and Co-Founder, Kerstin Trikalitis, states that not only is the company augmenting its resources by hiring aggressively and bringing in key parts of its technology capabilities into the region but it also intends to set up offices in two new markets by the end of 2013. At present, the company has offices in Singapore, Jakarta, Manila and Kuala Lumpur in APAC.

In a conversation with DMA, Trikalitis said, “The region is very important for us as a company and for the whole group. We are a European company who came into Asia in 2010 and the business in Asia has grown ever since. We are going to invest heavily in the region both in terms of the new market expansion and also in terms of human expansion.”

As is known, it is now a global trend for big advertising spenders to invest budgets in APAC, a trend that is expected to continue for at least another next two to three years. Trikalitis reiterated this point and explained, “APAC has become very important. We are looking at three billion mobile phones and that number is growing. We are also looking at a very healthy smartphone penetration here. We are very optimistic about our telcos partners in this region, who play a great role in getting mobile advertising right. Overall, the region has a lot going for it.”

Relevant and Targetted
Trikalitis is quick to point out that each market in the APAC region comes with a different characteristic. For instance, Malaysia is technologically advanced and sees significant number of smartphones, which in turn means advertisers can employ rich media for their messaging in the market. Philippines, on the other hand, is a more SMS friendly market and brings substantial response rates for dialogue based advertising initiatives. Singapore too is a responsive market. Indonesia, which is seen as the next crown jewel, scores on various counts. She added, “At the end, it doesn’t matter what handset or the market, the campaign has to be a great user experience, which requires creative skills.”

Ensuring a great user experience is one of the foremost challenges facing marketers today, when it comes to the mobile medium. Trikalitis however is of the opinion that when a company doesn’t lose sight of two aspects of mobile advertising – targeting and value – engaging a consumer on mobile doesn’t become as difficult. “As soon as an ad is targeted to a specific segment and therefore adds value to the consumer, it is not seen as an ad but valuable content,” she explained.

Quoting an example to illustrate her point, Trikalitis said, “Suppose a message goes out to females 18-25, walking on Orchard Road in Singapore, anytime from 4-6 PM, that says, ‘Do you want to join us for a glass of champagne and see our new Louis Vuitton collection’, our hunch is that such a message would be appreciated.”

Out There Media has been able to execute similar campaigns with specific targeting for different kinds of advertisers. For instance: a text-based campaign for an FMCG advertiser in Indonesia that was targeting housewives, where the company offered discount to the target group for making a purchase in a mall on the given day. And another campaign for BMW in Malaysia that targeted at business travellers. The campaign was eyeing smartphone users in this case and delivered 19-20 per cent increase in response rate with relevant messaging. At the core of this, is what Trikalitis defines as a key capability for the company – dealing with data.

Data Matters
“Data mining and managing is an area of big investment for us. We are constantly working on improving how we make data available to advertisers to reach the right consumers at the right time. The advertiser wins because when the combination of relevance and target is right, there is higher ROI,” said Trikalitis and added, “The precision marketing also allows no room for wastage. Unlike traditional media such as TV which has 50 per cent wastage, mobile gives you results, and in real time. Mobile is the closest you can get to your consumer.”

Out There Media believes that even though the shift in advertising dollar from traditional to mobile has not happened at the same pace of the shift of consumer’s media consumption patterns, there is momentum in the right direction. As mobile brings more advanced targeting on the back of data granularity the medium will create a bigger differentiator for itself.

Some of the APAC markets that Out There Media doesn’t have an office in already but finds interesting in terms of what the market offers in terms of data richness, operator landscape and the significance the market plays for advertisers are Thailand, Vietnam and India.

Trikalitis reiterated that the company will continue to invest significantly in the APAC region.

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