Nihal Mehta is CEO and founder of Ipsh! a mobile marketing firm that began in the States and is now expanding into Europe. Founded 5 years ago, they were one of the first agencies to focus solely on marketing over mobile devices.
Their website is really good with lots of news stories - good source of research.
In August this year in the UK alone 3.6 billion texts messages were sent. Bearing this in mind I thought it might be interesting to ask Nihal some questions to understand a bit more about what mobile marketing is and what challenges he faces.
For more UK mobile stats and lots of information, check out Text It - Very useful.
Mobhappy is also a very good mobile marketing blog from the States.
How would you define what ipsh does?
Ipsh is a mobile marketing agency that connects brands to consumers through mobile phones and mobile technology.
What is the range of the mobile marketing offering?
Our offering is no longer limited to the purely executional - we now provide stragey and creative for our clients. We are helping brands extend their presence over mobile devices.
When mobile marketing first appeared agencies that did it were limited to providing just the technology, but now we are advising clients about the how, where, when and why of their campaigns. It is a much more wholistic approach to things; the clients will now come to us and say, "We have this problem, how can we solve it?" as opposed to "We want you to do XYZ mobile campaign for us."
You can now reach over 2 billion handsets worldwide using SMS. That's a lot of people.
What is your role within ipsh?
As CEO I provide vision and strategic input alongside overseeing new business and internal management.
What motivated you to set ipsh up?
I started a website after college called phillytonight.com which informed people about events happening in the evening in Philadelphia. This expanded to 13 cities worldwide and then we began to offer information over SMS. Then the dotcom bubble burst and so we had to look to new ways to monetise our assets so we created ipsh.
The company was run out of my apartment in San Francisco for 3 years, in true start up style!
How did you make ipsh a success?
Our major strength has always been our complete focus on helping brands in their mobile strategy; we never diluted our offering.
The great thing is now that the market has finally arrived - it has caught up with all the predictions we have been making for the last 5 and a half years. We now have a tangible and viable market for our products and services and with our association with Omnicom there can be no doubts about our credibility.
What keeps you up at night?
How to make the business more profitable. How to increase the depth of our offering to clients - not just increasing the number of new services we can offer them but expanding the services we already offer.
What qualities do you admire in others?
Passion. People who are passionate about what they do, whatever that may be. If they are doing something they love, then they are already a success no matter how good they may actually be.
What frustrates you in others?
A lack of passion, living for the 9-5 routine. The kind of people who are hanging on to something they should have let go a long time ago, like a relationship. They have yet to end it out of sheer apathy.
What trends or changes in consumer behaviour have you noticed?
Consumers are now a lot more knowledgable - they know all about the possible uses of mobile phones. Also the demographic of people interacting with mobile technology is getting older - take ringtones. The demographic of people buying these is getting older and older.
What is the future for ipsh?
The future is to get brands to truly understand the mobile strategy and have dedicated account teams for certain brands as in a large traditional agency.
What is your favourite piece of communication at the moment?
Any piece of communication that can capture the brand message and the brand demographic perfectly is my idea of great communication. The best example I have of this at the moment is the apple vs pc ad running in the States at the moment.