O2 launches integrated media group

 In advertising

According to a report in the NMA, mobile operator O2 has launched a global media sales division, known as the O2 Media Group. The purpose of the new group is to provide advertisers the ability to reach O2’s 18.7 million subscribers by placing integrated campaigns across mobile, email, online, in-store, direct and experiential channels.

O2 Media Group sales director James MacDonald said “Our aim is to be one of Europe’s leading media channels, providing advertisers with a unique, targeted, cross-platform channel. We already have the customers and touchpoints. We can offer brands unrivalled engagement across multiple channels.”

“Our goal is to engage with our 18m customers, with mobile as the glue. We have a massive installed base and we need to find ways to get brands to engage with the channel,” he added.

The new group is being headed up by Laura Scarlett, who was formerly the MD of marketing firm Dunnhumby.

London Calling comment:  The operators are well placed to play a major role in the mobile advertising space – if they execute properly.  Having James head up the new O2 Media Group’s sales arm is a positive mood – as he comes from an agency background, having previously been head of mobile for Unanimis.

With Laura Scarlett’s experience at CRM pioneer Dunnhumby (who are the brains behind the amazing Tesco Clubcard) this suggests that O2 are getting serious about mobile CRM.  With 18M customers in the UK, they are well placed to be a conduit between brands and consumers – via the mobile.

What O2 and others need to strike is the fine balance between providing befits for their customers (free stuff) with the needs of the advertisers to reach the O2 community.  I know James well and he shares my view that operators must always consider the 3 P’s of mobile advertising – privacy, permission and preference.

Get these right and it will benefit consumers and advertisers.  Consumers will receive a benefit for seeing relevant advertising, (which they will deem to be information) and advertisers will get their message through to the people that want to hear it – and hopefully buy more of their products!

I know that with James and Laura at the helm, O2 will be successful with this initiative.  The issue is that the “other” 48M subscribers not with O2 need to be addressable by brands and agencies as well.

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Based in London, Practical Futurist and former Global Managing Partner at IBM, Andrew Grill is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption, workplace of the future and new technologies such as blockchain. Andrew is a multiple TEDx and International Keynote Speaker.