Friday, March 25, 2005

pwc Mobot Interview


Can you briefly describe what Mobot offers to consumers and corporations?

Mobot gives consumers a fun and convenient method of interacting instantly with consumer brands no matter where they appear: magazine ads, logos, posters, product packaging, T-shirt, etc. Consumers use their camera phone to send a picture to Mobot and receive a multifaceted response.

For marketers, we are analogous to why the web is so attractive—interactivity. By offering interactivity from static visual media, we open the door to deepen a relationship with an interested consumer in real time.

Mobot does not require ANY changes to the visual – no short code digital watermarks, or barcodes of any kind. Mobot does not require any changes to the handset – no clip-on attachments, software downloads, or flash upgrades. Mobot works with all camera phones in the market today using the standard picture mail service.

What is the biggest obstacle your company and this industry is facing?

The mobile marketing and mobile content industry is nascent, so marketers and brands are just beginning to understand the power of this new medium and how best to harness it.

Corporations or consumers, who are you catering your business to?

Both. Consumers and marketers each see value in using Mobot.

The marketer can capture the consumer right at the moment they’re interested in something and send them back a response with content teasers, more information, links to buy, fun contests or promotions, etc.

Through Mobot programs, marketers are able to create ongoing, deeper relationships with consumers – creating closer ties to the brands they enjoy.

What is taking service providers so long to implement this?

Media organizations are already implementing Mobot. And Mobot is available today on all major U.S. carriers.

Jane Magazine used the Mobot technology in their September and December 2004 issues. They named the promotion JANE Talks Back. Any time a reader sent Mobot a picture of an ad, they got back a response. Many got free samples and giveaways, including jean jackets from Calvin Klein, mascara from Maybelline, free mp3’s from Absolut, an autographed poster of snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler from Oakley, a Samsung videophone, or a $50 donation to the nonprofit “Dress for Success” from Citibank. Response to the program overall was greater than 1% based on the circulation of the magazine.

This week Mobot also announced we are working with VIBE, VIBE VIXEN, and have signed a one year contract with Elle Girl, a Hachette Filipacchi publication.

With Vibe and Vibe Vixen each picture a consumer send in gives them a chance to win an iPod and they get follow up information about the advertiser as well including links to buy items, store locations more details about products, etc.

Has the search engine industry recognized how your product, and this new industry, will be the catalyst for mobile marketing? (ie. Have any search engines contacted you about any business relationships?)

We have talked with search engine companies. Mobot is pioneering mobile visual search so it makes sense to consider how internet search intersects with our vision.

When do we see the ability to click on a barcode/2d code and purchase/retrieve info happening?

Mobot does not require any barcodes. You send in a picture and get a response and it’s working now.

Every company has at least one, what is your biggest fear.

As a startup company, we are inherently (one could say: by definition) fearless with regard to the market, business, and technology challenges in front of us. That said, there are dozens of topics which keep us working into the wee hours.

If you could land one specific customer/client, who would it be?

The ideal client for us has two attributes:
1) They are a marketer and/or a mobile content provider with extremely high brand recognition. Mobot can unlock the value of their brand by making each one of their logos or ads out in the world work harder.
2) A desire on the part of that marketer to create a great consumer experience for mobile phone users.

Does Mobot have an application that can read RFID tags?


If you had to sum up Mobot in one sentence, it would be.

Point, Click and Connect -- Mobot is the first visual search and recognition technology solution that connects consumers to brands, products, and information on the mobile phone.

Some things I like with this is the broad range of ideas. To be able to click on any ad or picture of story in the magazine could offer enormous opportunities. Every ad now becomes a "for more info click on the ad" instead of the usual go to our address www. Every ad becomes indirectly interactive.

A few questions I have with this process. When I click on an Absolut ad and send the picture, who has my number now? Absolut or the marketing company? Can that party tell through location based services (LBS) where I am? I know they can tell by my phone number where my physical address is, but can they tell where I was when I sent that ad?

Where am I going with this? Well I'm walking down the street and see an ad for the new chocolate flavored vodka by Absolut, let's call it ChocoLut (hypothetical). Aboslut gets my request and sees I'm on 5th and 42nd. Could they alert a liquor store on that block I had interest and have them send me a text with a coupon?

Or could Absolut send a coupon via text and if I redeem at the liquor store next to the ad, they get rewarded?

I can see this service branching out to newspapers, billboards, inserts in your Sunday paper, any kind of brochure. I think of all those people at a Borders just skimming through the magazines and not buying them. If you allowed them to interact with the ads, they may just be more apt to buy it. But Mobot sure makes it easier to get info from the ad now, even if they dont buy it.

This could lead to an Electronic Post-It concept. Instead of ripping out the page in a magazine ad for the website, just click on the picture and the info will be sent for further review. Many times I see a great idea and jot dot down the site on a piece of scrap paper. Eliminate that by clicking on ad and having the site and info on your phone to review later.

The questions I have though are this. This really isn't a direct connect. It's a request for info through an image. Is there a way that you could click on an Absoluut bottle and be taken directly to their site? Eliminate one step of the process?

The problem I see is that the address to send to issue. This has to be either so well-known in advance or be eliminated. I can see someone taking a picture and then saying "what was the email address again?". Maybe the is how Mobot resolves the image. Make it as easy as possible for people to adopt.

I'm not sure how it works Is there this enormous database of images that matches the incoming picture. There would be so many variables involved with this.

I like it though. It can be an easily educated to consumers. "Just click on any ad in our magazine etc".

I did try the "Win an Ipod Shuffle" contest through Vibe magazine a few times. No registration or initial texts needed to be sent. Just click on any ad and send the pic to The response was fast after I sent the pic. I did't win the Ipod but I did spend 10 minutes with the Vibe magazine and I interacted with the advertiser, wasn't that the point of the contest?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We have Jane. We have the primate. Where's Tarzan? :)