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I had a chance to chat with Joan Delfino today. She's Adobe's VP for mobile content and the session leader for session #2, also known as "Extending brands in new digital media. How to take advantage of mobile marketing?" She gave me a preview of her point of view on the topic and some of Adobe's initiatives in this realm. Here are a few highlights:

  • We're seeing a progression of adoption of data on cell phones, from text messaging to casual games to more complex games to deeper forms of content. As that progression occurs, we're similarly seeing marketers pursue opportunities in these specific arenas.
  • Delfino expects that trial and error will rule the day in determining the lines where customers accept being marketed to and where they'll rebel. As she said, though, if you can add value to the group you're targeting, you're far less likely to be seen as intrusive rather than helpful. Location-based services are a good example of adding value.
  • There's still a love-hate relationship with carriers and their role as the gatekeepers to reaching customers with innovative services. Delfino speculated that that grip may loosen as the mobile Web experience gets better and better.
  • Adobe's initiatives here are very interesting and forward thinking. It's bringing its Flash platform to the cell phone in a few compelling ways. Flash Lite is what it sounds like, a phone-friendly version of the multimedia platform. Flash Home is an opportunity to create a customized experience throughout the handset when it's idle, such as a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed phone. Finally and most interestingly, Flash Cast is a set of channels with content that downloads in the background and is cached and ready to go. This could be popular Web content or channels devoted to specific companies and brands. Some channels will be free and some may be premium. It feels like a big step forward for the mobile Web experience and a huge opportunity for marketers to think about content as their advertising rather than advertising to support other content.
I look forward to hearing the discussion at this session on Tuesday. This arena is maturing, companies are beginning to embrace it, and there's so much potential here, both for customers and marketers.