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Raj Singh

Co-founder and Executive Director | 09 Jul 2007

As the mobile subscriber base increasingly shifts from the metros to towns and villages, there will be an increasing opportunity to service this market with localised content. I wouldn’t say that localisation will be crucial for success, but definitely more of the future opportunities for generating revenue from content will be through localisation.

Raj Singh co-founded ActiveMedia Technologies in 2001 and has been holding the key position of Executive Director since 2001. He has led the company to become one of the leaders in the segment of mobile marketing and content. Under his leadership, ActiveMedia has become the first global player in the segment with clients across the world. ActiveMedia has international offices in the UK and the US, and is a board member of UK’s Mobile Marketing Association.

Prior to co-founding ActiveMedia Technology, Singh was Senior Consultant at The Capital Markets Company, a European consultancy, where he was responsible for business development and client engagement. He also managed highly leveraged finance and operations roles at blue chip organisations including Credit Suisse First Boston, British Airways and Shell International. Singh often speaks at industry forums across the UK, Singapore and India. His opinion is highly sought after by national and international media.

Singh is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant and graduated with a Masters in Engineering, Economics and Management from the University of Oxford in 1994.

In a conversation with exchange4media’s Pallavi Goorha, Singh talks about ActiveMedia’s mobile marketing initiatives, and innovations in this emerging medium. Excerpts:

Q. Could you explain about the genesis of ActiveMedia Technology?

ActiveMedia Technology has been a pioneer in the mobile marketing space since its inception in 2001. Two colleagues and myself started it in the UK with the vision of being a specialist provider focussed on helping businesses market to the consumer through the mobile phone. We have steadfastly stuck to that founding vision since day one and are now a 50-person team, with business offices in the UK and India.

Q. What is the role of ActiveMedia Technology in mobile marketing?

Mobile marketing for us means businesses connecting with and interacting with prospective and existing customers through the mobile phone. The different ways that mobile marketing can be used includes direct response, media interactivity, content downloads, sales promotions and coupons, advertising, customer service, and customer relationship management. ActiveMedia’s actual role is to actually plan and execute mobile marketing campaigns, and a mix of creative, business, technology, telecom operator connectivity and infrastructure resources are required for this. As a specialist mobile marketing solutions provider, we operate across the value chain providing a one-stop shop for a client looking to run a campaign.

Q. How will localisation of content be crucial for success in the Indian market?

As the mobile subscriber base increasingly shifts from the metros to towns and villages, there will be an increasing opportunity to service this market with localised content. I wouldn’t say that localisation will be crucial for success, but definitely more of the future opportunities for generating revenue from content will be through localisation.

Q. How big is the opportunity for Bluecasting in India? What initiative has ActiveMedia Technology taken towards it?

It is at a nascent experimental stage at present. Bluecasting is exciting for a number of reasons, including for the fact that with a rapid increase in retail, many consumers can be targetted with relevant proximity marketing. Also, as it does not involve sending a SMS or making a voice call, it can encourage brand interaction without costing the consumer money to do so. We have pilot campaigns already and are taking learnings from these forward to launch a rich Bluecasting marketing solution in the next quarter. This will be targetted at brands and agencies that are already looking at marketing within the retail environment.

Q. What is the idea of the m-coupon initiative that you did for Hutch recently?

We have been running a very successful award winning m-coupon promotion project for Orange in the UK for the past three years. The promotion revolves around subscribers being able to download m-coupons on their phone and use them to get a ‘buy one get one free’ offer on movie tickets. Last year we brought the same concept to India with Hutch and kicked off in Mumbai. Now on a Tuesday, Hutch subscribers can download a m-coupon and present it at participating cinemas to get a ‘buy one get one’ free offer on movie tickets. It has proved to be a great hit with consumers.

Q. Which are the companies that you are doing mobile loyalty for? How do you see the scope in India?

In the UK, we have run mobile loyalty projects for a number of clients where existing customers have been rewarded with m-coupons. This includes Blockbuster Video, Carphone Warehouse and Virgin Mobile. In India, we have experimented with a few campaigns and believe that there is a lot of scope, as the mobile phone is becoming a central part of people’s lives. It makes sense for a brand to communicate and conveniently reward a customer through the phone.

Q. What are the future plans of the company?

We will continue to do what we’ve been doing. In many ways, we have been a little ahead of time; it is just in the past 12 months or so that mobile marketing has begun to accelerate. We will keep ourselves relevant by bringing to the market new products that would help brands achieve their marketing goals through the mobile phone.

Q. Which companies do you compete with, and what kind of differentiation do you bring to the table?

There are a mix of companies that are in the market. Some are technically focussed, while others very creatively driven. What we do is bring a unique mix of creative and technology skills to the table, plus an unmatched track record of actual delivery. We only do mobile marketing and hence believe we are the best in the business.

Q. What are the interesting innovations you’ve done recently?

We are constantly trying new things, but to pick one out from a product perspective, we have developed a unique form of barcode for the mobile phone that can be scanned with a low cost PC webcam. This offers great potential for enabling cost-effective use of barcodes on phones for coupons and tickets. It is quite unique and has had a patent filed.

Q. How do you get clients? Do you also pitch for business?

Increasingly, we find that clients come to us and ask us to submit a proposal. We also work very closely with a number of major traditional agencies, and as a result, are brought in to support on the mobile aspect of campaigns. But of course, we always need more business. So going out and pitching is still important.

Q. Please divulge on your client portfolio...

Our business is an almost equally split mix of projects that we get from major traditional agencies, and directly from clients.

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