Skycore's Celly Space brings multimedia marketing messages to consumer phones.
Skycore plans to enable retailers and brands to deliver informative and
promotional multimedia messages directly to mobile phones via its Celly
Space solution, which serves as a messaging platform for marketers.
"MMS [Multimedia Messaging Service]
uses the same technology as text messaging and goes to a phone's inbox,"
said Rich Eicher, president of Skycore. "But instead of being a
160-character text message, the message can have multimedia images, audio,
video and text."
Eicher, who announced the product May 29, said a Celly Space message
can contain up to eight slides in a slide show format, with unlimited images
and text, as well as audio and video content with some limitations. To explain
how it works, he used the example of a wine brand looking to provide customers
with product information.
"The wine brand could put a simple keyword and the Celly Space
shortcode on a bottle, sign or display," Eicher said. "The customer
would text the keyword to the Celly Space shortcode and usually receive a
multimedia message within 2 minutes. There is no need to go to a Web site to
see any of the content. Especially now that MMS
marketing is in its early phases, ideally the message would include a coupon or
other incentive. It would likely have an impact on that consumer buying that
particular brand of wine."
Eicher said a customer needs to have an MMS-enabled
or picture messaging-enabled phone in order to opt in to receive a Celly Space
message. While he said some older models-as well as newer models like the
iPhone-cannot accept MMS messages, he
estimated that 75 percent of mobile phones on the market today are MMS-enabled.
Patti Freeman Evans, an analyst with JupiterResearch, said MMS
marketing is an emerging area, but the number of consumers opting to use MMS
content is relatively low.
"Certainly messaging among consumers is rampant, but [fewer and fewer]
are actually using MMS," Evans said.
Although she said MMS currently holds
"limited value" as a consumer marketing tool, she added that
JupiterResearch is advising clients to collect mobile phone numbers from their
customers and start testing MMS marketing
with those who opt in.
"With a small number of customers [using MMS],
it's hard to tell what the reality will be," Evans said. "It's not
going to replace e-mail or search engine marketing anytime soon."
While there is no extra charge to the consumer to receive a Celly Space
message, Eicher said any standard messaging rates included in a customer's
phone plan will apply. Marketers compose messages using the online MMS
Composer tool and pay 20 cents per message sent in the United
States. Celly Space operates as a hosted
platform and marketers can change their promotions in real time, with customers
receiving the most current version of content immediately following a change.
Dan Berthiaume covers
the retail space for eWEEK. For more industry news, check out eWEEK.com's Retail Site.