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Mobile Web is critical enabler for Coca-Cola: exec

December 2, 2010

coca-colaA Coca-Cola executive at the MEF Americas 2010 Mobile Content & Commerce conference said that the company aims to capitalize on the mobile space and has benefited from a mobile commerce strategy.

During the “M-Commerce Players & Case Studies” session, panelists highlighted the key role players in the mobile commerce value chain. The panel was moderated by Gary Schwartz, CEO of Impact Mobile and chairman of MEF North America.

“Just about every hand has a mobile phone, we want the other hand to have a Coca-Cola,” said Douglas Busk, mobile brand strategist of global connections at Coca-Cola Co. “Text, mobile Web and apps – they all matter.

“I think that sometimes SMS gets forgotten, but text is the universal conversation in mobile and it’s not going away anytime soon,” he said. “Again, it’s about how quickly we can get a Coca-Cola in your hands.

Other panelists in the session included Cindy Tai, vice president of products and marketing at OpenMarket; Margaret McKenzie, chief operating officer of Boku, San Francisco; Brian Johnson, senior vice president of sales and marketing at mBlox, Sunnyvale, CA; Brett Chandler, vice president and general manager of ecommerce solutions at NCR Corp., Atlanta; and Chris Marvin, Washington-based senior account manager at Netbiscuits.

Mobile enabler
Mobile Web is a critical enabler for Coca-Cola, per Mr. Busk.

The company runs several promotions and reward campaigns that include SMS, mobile Web and applications.

“Everyone says apps versus mobile Web,” Mr. Busk said. “Does it really matter?

“When you’re a marketer and you have a brand to perpetuate, you can’t ignore what is happening in the mobile space,” he said. “You’re seeing the PC start to draw down a bit and smartphones are the first communications device carried by many.”

According to Mr. Busk, applications are not just an adjunct of smartphones. They are on tablets and crossing over to PC.

“[There’s talk of] who owns the shopper,” Mr. Busk said. “As far as mobile payments, it’s the ability to create a direct relationship where one might not have existed before.

“That is the opportunity and the challenge in front of us,” he said. “Frankly, Coca-Cola has a big family and ecosystem itself.

“At the end of the day, what is the standard that allows everyone to leverage the opportunity?”

Mobile payments
According to OpenMarket’s Ms. Tai, there are three things that have to happen with mobile payments to get the adoption up.

“The first is merchant acceptance,” Ms. Tai said. “There’s a lot of opportunity there – carrier billing is still a good payment method right now, but its reach is limited because of the business model around it.

“The second thing is that we do a lot of trials with carriers,” she said. “It’s great to have a trial, but you have to follow up to make sure that there’s adoption.

“Lastly, you have to see if you want SMS, apps, mobile Web – in the U.S. it’s all about apps, but in Latin America, SMS might be the best way to go.”

Mobile presence
NCR’s Mr. Chandler said that company is moving in the mobile space with mobile-optimized coupons, tickets and codes for all devices.

“NCR is developing a theme around presence and preference,” Mr. Chandler said. “We want to have businesses provide consumers with a consistent experience across all channels.

“We understand the customer, we know their preferences,” he said. “It’s about how to engage in meaningful conversations with them.

“We want to take this consumer experience and consumer understanding and meet the customer where they are.”

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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