IQ News: Analysis – Hitting users where they live

The handful of companies that are ramping up their service and product offerings for wireless advertising already know the mantra for effectively reaching their target audience: location, location, location.
While most consumers concede that they are willing to listen to marketing messages–as long as the products and services being offered are relevant and attractive–marketers have had difficulty finding the balance between broadcasting their messages too widely and interrupting a consumer at inconvenient times. With ads delivered through wireless devices, advertisers can perform a kind of “surgical” marketing technique, achieving the twin goals of minimal intrusion on a user and maximum value to an advertiser. A look at some of the players:
Vindigo’s application is for Palm OS, but doesn’t depend on wireless at all. The free personal navigation download takes advantage of the fact that users connect their Palms to the Net in order to synchronize data to their PCs. Compression algorithms, synchronization technology and a proprietary database engine allows users to get updates and information in seconds, company reps say.
The app features point-of-interest advertising targeted by time and location, which lets it mimic wireless real-time interactivity.
The company, based in New York, launched the first version of Vindigo for New York in March, partnering with, the online entertainment guide of The New York Times Digital, the Internet division of The New York Times Company. New versions of Vindigo for the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago and Washington are expected to roll out in June.
Due to be launched in August, Ewireless helps radio and outdoor advertisers interact directly with mobile consumers, regardless of which carrier they use.
The company’s direct response marketing business relies on users dialing a mnemonic three-digit code–333. “It’s fast and easy to remember,” say reps for the Chicago-based company. Products can be purchased and information or coupons sent electronically or mailed at no cost to the consumer. began beta testing a location-based, wireless online shopping portal in the New York and San Francisco markets this month. The service brings the convergence of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol, a standardized protocol which does for wireless what HTPP did for PC-based browsing), Palm, Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) and location-based technologies to conventional businesses.
Execs at the Cranbury, N.J.-based start-up say the company will provide an end-to-end solution that enables brick-and-mortar businesses–from large retail chains to small “Mom and Pop” restaurants–to advertise using location-based shopping announcements, deals, sales, coupons, rebates, information, price comparisons and wireless transactions.
Using current handheld wireless devices such as Palm VII, WAP phones and new Internet-enabled cell phones, ‘GeePSters’ will be able to view the merchants in their vicinity as well as receive special announcements and deals offered by these merchants.–KG