Jon Jackson is the founder and CEO of Mobile Posse, a leading provider for mobile advertising and solutions. Jackson spoke with WashingtonExec last year about mobile marketing, and he is back this year to talk with us about mobility.
In our interview below, Jackson tells us about how he has grown in the past year, challenges engaging consumers with mobility, his guess on the next big “thing” in interactive marketing.
WashingtonExec: You have a degree in English Composition. How did you get into technical leadership?
Jon Jackson: My first job was at America Online and the career path that was available was on the technical side. Once I got into it, I really loved it and realized I had an aptitude for it.
WashingtonExec: Your company has grown dramatically since WashingtonExec interviewed you last year. Do you think you’ve learned more from your successes or failures?
Jon Jackson: I have definitely learned more from my failures. When you fail, it forces you to be introspective and look at everything more critically. Some of the biggest changes come from lack of success. When you fail or the business fails, you need to do something different to make it work. It is during those times when you learn the most. For us, at Mobile Posse, when things weren’t working, we really took a hard look at carriers and investigated what drove their business. We looked at what their metrics were and that’s really what helped us grow, because we created something that can truly help them.
WashingtonExec: What advice do you have for business owners on raising capital?
Jon Jackson: Don’t. If you can avoid raising capital, you should. If you do need to raise capital, make sure that you communicate the story of the company. Not just who and what it is, but what problem the company solves. You also need to make sure you approach the right people, or if people are approaching you, pick a partner carefully. Spend time before the process to crystalize your near and long-term vision. Give thought to what your exit strategy is and how you’ll get there. When you meet with a prospective investor, this is what they will want to hear about.
WashingtonExec: What is the biggest challenge to engaging consumers on their mobile devices?
Jon Jackson: Awareness. It really is the biggest problem. It isn’t a problem for people like Facebook, but other than products like that, where there is huge consumer demand, awareness is the issue. People get their devices and because of the limited screen real estate you have to find a way to rise above the clutter. There really aren’t many channels that enable you to do that and great discovery tools don’t exist today.
“SoLoMo (social local mobile) is a hot button these days. My personal belief is that there is a big success in the making for someone who can simplify and solve for social and mobile for large brands and agencies.”
WashingtonExec: How does a mobile device market with different operating systems and service providers effect how you will build-out your service?
Jon Jackson: That problem is really central to what our platform is designed to solve. Our platform allows content providers, operators and advertisers to define what message they want to get out and not worry about whether the end user is on a feature phone, smart phone or mid-tier phone. They say “this is my message and this is who I want to get it to” and our system delivers the correct message, in the proper format and the proper size. A content provider, like CNN, doesn’t care what network someone’s on or what type of phone they have — they just want to make sure their content gets to them and it looks good.
WashingtonExec: What do you think the next big thing in interactive marketing will be?
Jon Jackson: I think for interactive marketing, the next big thing is really getting a grasp on how to solve social and mobile. A big brand has figured out its online strategy, but doesn’t necessarily know what social can provide for them, or what mobile is and does. SoLoMo (social local mobile) is a hot button these days. My personal belief is that there is a big success in the making for someone who can simplify and solve for social and mobile for large brands and agencies.
WashingtonExec: What sectors or industries are leading the way in mobile marketing?
Jon Jackson: Based on our reach, we see retail, entertainment, consumer packaged goods, automotive, as well as portals and directories as the sectors that are leading the way in mobile marketing.
WashingtonExec: What are your top three favorite apps?
Jon Jackson: I am new to golf so I am enamored with anything that can make me better. To that end, I like Golf Shot GPS and Golfsense (a sensor paired with your phone that picks tracks swing plane, tempo etc.). I listen to a lot of music through Pandora and, of course, I like MobiTiles, Mobile Posse’s app.