Mobile and internet marketing, and Filipino consumers

IMMAP's Arthur Policarpio and MMA's Mike Wehrs formalize their group's partnership
IMMAP's Arthur Policarpio and MMA's Mike Wehrs formalize their group's partnership. (Photo courtesy of Digital Manila)

Top officials of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) today formally announced their partnership and launched the the MMA Philippines Local Council in a press conference during the 3rd Internet and Mobile Marketing Summit in Manila.

According to a press release, the IMMAP-MMA tie-up claims to “to foster the mobile advertising and marketing industry in the Philippines through local participation from industry stakeholders to drive the adoption of global standards, best practice and guidelines across the mobile marketing channel in the country”.

MMA president and CEO Mike Wehrs said that “the MMA’s presence in the Philippines strengthens our commitment to the market and highlights the potential for growth. Today, the local advertising industry is worth US$3 billion; we believe mobile marketing can contribute between two and three percent of the pie in a few years.”

Click here for Wehr’s presentation at the briefing.

For his part, IMMAP president Arthur Policarpio said its arrangement with MMA will benefit the mobile and internet marketing industry through “research and education initiatives, development of metrics and measurement, adoption of best practices and guidelines, as well as an active partnership with key local regulatory bodies.”

Policarpio said it is only a matter of time before the Philippines becomes a “global center of excellence” in mobile and internet marketing, aside from being the “world’s undisputed texting capital”.

MMA Asia-Pacific managing director Rohit Dadwal predicted that “revenues allocated to mobile marketing in the Philippines will grow faster than Internet marketing in the next 12 to 24 months.”

I hope that this development will result in consumer benefits, especially in teaching mobile operators and so-called content providers about good manners and right conduct vis-a-vis consumers rights and welfare. MMA’s Wehrs said that members of his should agree to bind themselves to a “covenant” upholding consumer rights to protect us from spam and we can only agree with Wehrs, being a people inundated and abused by spam messages.

Right now, most people equate mobile marketing with spam because that generally is the industry practice. It would take serious efforts from the IMMAP and the MMA to change this well-grounded perception. There must be strict adherence not just to self-regulatory covenants but also to laws intended to protect consumers.

Another area that IMMAP should look into are the telcos’ grip on the mobile and internet industry especially on pricing. Filipino consumers can do more and help create a more vibrant industry if and when the telcos relinquish this death grip. I say death grip because mobile web or mobile browsing cannot be as prevalent if there are no data plans available to consumers. (Blackberry services cannot remain an elite service, for instance, which is the case in the Philippines.) Without such data plans, there won’t be any incentive for consumers to use the mobile web more often and avail of products and services pitched by the industry.

Consumers should thus closely follow happenings in IMMAP and the MMA Philippines Local Council. They are providing a new opening where consumers can champion their rights and welfare.

Photo courtesy of Digital Manila.