Jordan Berman, executive director of media innovation for AT&T Mobility, and Scott Kelliher, director of mobile advertising at Virgin Mobile USA, represented the carrier segment at the IAB’s Mobile Leadership Forum. AT&T may have the iPhone and 71 million subscribers compared with the MVNO’s five million or so customers, but when it comes to mobile advertising, both companies recognize that the key to success is recognizing that the consumer is at the heart of the situation.
When questioned about the most pressing mobile advertising issues facing their companies, Berman listed trying to align the entire organization to focus on the advertiser as a new type of customer and then connecting the advertiser to the subscriber “in a way that results in deliverables.” Being much smaller, Virgin is working with its customers to come up with different ways to offer the branded content they want, Kelliher said.
Berman brought up the “halo effect” AT&T – and its rivals – are seeing thanks to the iPhone. He pointed out that Apple’s iPhone not only creates more visibility for AT&T, but for the mobile Web as a whole. It “raises the bar,” he said with a cringe for invoking AT&T’s wireless ad-speak, and said that consumers with other phones are now looking at their devices and wondering if they can access the Internet.
Kelliher concurred with Berman, noting that the iPhone also made Virgin’s customers look more deeply into their phones to see what they can do.