Urban Airship is expanding its direct relationship with brands as it wraps more mobile relationship management (MRM) solutions around its core push-messaging platform, ClickZ has learned. The company has been on a tear of late, acquiring SimpleGeo in late 2011, Tello last December, and then raising $25 million in new funding last month. With $46.6 million in total funding to date, a 400 percent spike in revenue, and doubling of its staff last year, Urban Airship is now adding new products and services to target a growing class of marketers and brands interested in mobility.
At least 75 percent of the deals that Urban Airship lands with enterprises are now being signed and negotiated by chief marketing officers or other high-level marketing executives, says Scott Kveton, CEO and co-founder of the nearly four-year-old company based in Portland, Ore.
Urban Airship got its start with app developers like Tapulous (its first customer), but has widened its scope across mobile to brands and agencies as marketers increasingly become the lead decision-makers for brands' mobile strategies. It now has at least a dozen featured agency partners like AKQA and app development partners like Bottle Rocket who can walk brands through new campaign initiatives and help them through the labyrinth of features and practices best suited to their objectives. Mobile shouldn't only be a part of a brand's strategy, mobile should be at the center of every brand's marketing strategy, Kveton tells ClickZ.
"With any channel, there's this potential for fatigue," he adds, explaining why brands are still nervous about the complexities they might encounter in mobile and want to be careful about how they connect with users.
"After 30 days, most apps languish on an iPhone," says Kveton. But if that app oversteps its boundaries and inundates users with too many notifications, users' first instinct is to delete the app, not turn off the notifications, he adds.
In addition to its rich push-messaging platform, Urban Airship is now offering consulting services for the first time, encouraging brands like Walgreens to adopt deeper engagement with customers. Whether that calls for a paid advertising product or better managing of its relationships with customers on mobile, Urban Airship wants to be at the center of that entire process, from ideation to execution and analytics to results.
With a new push to extend marketing and more traditional CRM systems in the enterprise onto consumers' mobile devices, Urban Airship wants to put a greater focus on solving core business objectives. The new consulting services are being testing by some customers in a pilot phase, but eventually Urban Airship will take it commercial and establish new fees for MRM consulting on a case-by-case basis.
As it expands into the much wider realm of MRM, Urban Airship has redesigned its user interface, increased access to data, and refreshed its Apple Passbook management service to simplify design and execution for its customers. Consulting services fall under three parts - implementation from code review through launch, planning and optimizing engagement strategies, and managed services for ongoing campaigns. The company also now supports Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, delivering push messages to live tiles, toast notifications, and apps like NBC News' recently launched app for the new platform.
"With MRM we're expanding the value we bring to organizations through broader business-user-friendly solutions coupled with best practices services that will help unlock the value of customer data and keep their connected customers closer," notes Kveton.
"With more mobile devices than people on the planet, it is critical that organizations move quickly into this new world by putting the consumer front-and-center," notes Peter Roybal, head of mobile product management at ABC News Digital. "Mobile sets a high bar for relevancy, and long-term success depends on you handing controls to users and using everything you can, including location, to serve and delight them."
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Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at email@example.com.
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