The acting CEO of NeoMedia Technologies knows a thing or two about mobile marketing. As president of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), Laura Marriott saw MMA release a bevy of critical guidelines for the industry, as well as grow its membership from about 40 companies to more than 600 by the time she left in 2008.
Marriott moved into NeoMedia’s CEO position last month after having served as a board member and acting chief marketing officer. She replaced Iain McCready, who stepped down to pursue other interests.
It’s all about making life easier for the consumer. “I always believed in the 2D space,” she says. “I firmly believe that whatever we can do in mobile to make the consumer experience easier is going to drive adoption, and 2D is the way to do that.”
While the barcode space is getting a push with big-name players like Facebook and “we need that big viral movement to propel this forward,” Marriott notes that industry-wide, there are barriers to usage and a need for further education for consumers.
There’s also the issue of open vs. proprietary. Right now, most 2D campaigns have an educational element to them, but if a consumer downloads an app and then comes across another image that requires a different kind of scanner, they’ll have a poor experience.
Plus, big-name brands say they don’t want to deploy proprietary solutions; they want codes that any consumer can scan from any device, and something they can deploy worldwide, she says. “Collaboration is critical to moving this forward,” she says.
That’s why it’s important that standards work be done by the likes of GS1, an international not-for-profit association dedicated to implementing global standards in more than 100 countries.
Getting readers installed on all devices, not just smartphones, would be the holy grail. Whether it’s NeoMedia’s or competitors’ readers, Marriott believes in a rising tide that floats all boats. “We just want to get the awareness out there,” she says.
NeoMedia already has made inroads in getting its reader preloaded on devices. It recently announced a partnership with Samsung Electronics Italy to deliver mobile enterprise services to customers and start an assessment phase with the aim to have NeoReader pre-installed across all Samsung platforms for both enterprise and consumer markets. Last year, Sony Ericsson selected NeoMedia as its strategic 2D barcode partner, with NeoReader pre-installed across Sony Ericsson handset platforms worldwide.
NeoMedia also has international strategic business agreements with mobile marketing and media agencies including Buongiorno!, Renu, Mobiento and MORE Mobile Relations, and it’s concentrating heavily on marketing and media campaigns. Expect to see more creative implementations this holiday season, Marriott says.
In the coming months, NeoMedia will make a more concerted push to get brand and agency awareness and adoption. As for whether the acting CEO title turns into the permanent CEO title, Marriott isn’t commenting, other than to say anything’s possible.
Last year, NeoMedia and Scanbuy settled litigation between the companies and granted non-exclusive patent licenses to each other. Interestingly, after Marriott left the MMA, Mike Wehrs took over as president and CEO. In August, he joined Scanbuy as its interim CEO and president.