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Yahoo's Commitment to Mobile

  |  May 3, 2007   |  Comments

With its new campaign, Yahoo hopes to drive brand investment in mobile.

I generally like to structure these columns around topics I'm asked about most often by either ClickZ readers or the industry at large. One such question centers on mobile spend and whether brands are really committed to the mobile channel.

This week, I had the good fortune to talk to Yahoo, which just launched a new service and marketing initiative that demonstrate its mobile investment.

Yahoo is best known for its e-mail, IM, and search solutions. However, it recently launched a few initiatives focused on its corporate commitment and investment in mobile. This week it introduced a new integrated brand campaign that based on two of its latest services.

One, Yahoo Answers, is a cool service available on the PC that will soon be brought to mobile. The service allows users to ask questions that any user is able to respond to. Questions are then ranked based on user feedback.

The second service, Yahoo oneSearch, is Yahoo's mobile search product that allows consumers to access Yahoo algorithmic search, editorial, and content from their mobile device. This extends the Yahoo desktop experience to mobile.

Yahoo brought these two services together in the launch of its "Be a Bette.." campaign aimed at consumers with print, radio, television, and mobile ads. The cross-media initiative draws on mobile Web advertising on Yahoo and a variety of other mainstream mobile destinations.

One example of marketing the "Be a Better..." is to use innovative TV spots in prime-time programs to inspire consumers to be better husbands, aunts, gardeners -- whatever they aspire to be. According to Michael Bayle, GM of global monetization, connected life, at Yahoo, it's the "first time that we have put our weight behind making mobile work for the consumer."

Yahoo is putting significant weight behind launching its search product and has learned that media integration across multiple channels is key to launch success. It's also the first time Yahoo has focused a major ad campaign on a mobile service and has leveraged the mobile channel to such a significant extent. The utility moves beyond text messaging and ring tones and onto mobile Web.

Another issue for broad mobile adoption is increasing consumer awareness about mobile devices' advanced functionalities. We are driving consumers to learn about the mobile experience through access to information on their online site [and marketed through interactive ads on its own as well as other sites], which enable consumers to access and experiment with the services," Yahoo spokesperson Nicole Leverich said. According to Leverich, Yahoo hopes that by encouraging consumers to learn about their devices and to access Yahoo applications, "all ships will rise" to drive mobile marketing initiatives and consumer adoption across the industry and across the globe.

The "Be a Better..." campaign will run for a few months in the U.S. and target the 13-34 age demographic. However, the campaigns will likely teach older demographics how to access information on the go and show how mobile can help solve everyday problems and enhance opportunities, wherever you are.

Six new global markets will be coming online this week with Yahoo oneSearch. In Canada, the U.K., Spain, France, Italy, and Germany, the service will be beta-launched and include a subset of content delivered in the local languages.

Kudos to Yahoo for its investment in marketing its new mobile services in a way that will help raise awareness for the consumer -- and drive brand investment and commitment to the mobile channel!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Marriott Laura Marriott is executive director of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), which works to clear obstacles to market development, to establish standards and best practices for sustainable growth, and to evangelize the mobile channel for use by brands and third-party content providers. The MMA has over 250 members worldwide, representing over 16 countries. Laura has over 14 years' experience in the high-tech industry. Prior to joining the MMA, she served as Intrado's director of marketing, where she was responsible for the development and delivery of Intrado's mobility products and service. Laura previously served as director of business development at Cyneta Networks and Cell-Loc Inc.

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