Neolane Adds WAP-push and MMS

Enterprise marketing software company Neolane has announced the availability of MMS and WAP-push communications within its multichannel customer marketing platform; adding to traditional channels such as email, direct mail, telemarketing and SMS.
Neolane notes that according to the Mobile Data Association, in December 2007, 23% of mobile users in the UK accessed the Internet via their phone. This user-base of Internet-enabled handsets and the potential that MMS and WAP-Push offer marketers for winning customer interaction, have made them very attractive, the company says. Until now, however, companies have generally used them in isolation from other marketing channels and with little personalisation to make them relevant to each individual. This, says Neolane, has hampered their potential effectiveness and may have alienated customers, rather than encouragign loyalty. 
Neolanes unified platform integrates these emerging mobile channels to allow a communication strategy that is personalised, consistent and complementary with all the other channels, says Neolane UK Operations Director, Jeremy Bedford. MMS and WAP-push are particularly useful for loyalty applications, and recipients are generally responsive to them, provided they are relevant and the sender has gained the individuals prior permission to send such messages.
MMS makes it possible to send messages with images, audio, video and rich text included. Information sent in this way can be graphical, animated and scripted for better use. Neolane now makes it possible to personalise each component of the MMS message and thus overcome a major challenge for this complex protocol that spans many handset types and possible display configurations. MMS is a rapidly growing medium. Figures for January 2008 were 41.7% up on the 30 million sent in January 2007.
A WAP-push is a specially formatted SMS which includes a URL link to multimedia content. The mobile subscriber simply clicks on the link to be directed to a WAP address where the content is stored ready for viewing. The address could be a simple page or an entire WAP site. Neolane enables marketers to ensure that the WAP-push message and content are personalised to the recipients areas of interest or history, encouraging acceptance and interaction.
Two French customers have already added mobile marketing dimensions to their Neolane-enabled multichannel campaigns. Travel agency Voyages-SNCF has made its entire e-commerce offering available via the mobile Internet, and makes offers to subscribers via WAP-push. EMI Music France has added WAP-push and MMS to its existing channels to offer, for example, alerts of live online chats with its artists and targeted campaigns selling ringtones and logos. As of March 2008, EMI had gained 133,000 opt-in subscribers to these channels.
Using Neolane, marketers can launch new campaigns quickly, in reaction, say, to offers launched by competitors, or to make timely announcements.  Campaigns can be controlled centrally or in collaboration with marketing departments or services providers.
Neolane adds that while it supports the use of MMS and WAP-push for permission-based customer communications, it does not endorse their use for simple acquisition campaigns, as prospects may see these messages as an intrusion.