The Atom fund has US$500,000, which will be disbursed as matching investments of up to US$5,000 in a client’s spend on services such as hosting, user-experience design, PR and media placements. Brands can apply for the programme online.
"When you talk about mobile marketing, everyone knows the opportunity is big, but the big question is, how come marketers are not spending on mobile marketing?" Arthur Policarpio, head of Mobext Asia-Pacific, told Campaign Asia-Pacific.
Despite growth in mobile penetration and mobile web usage, mobile marketing remains a small percentage of most brands' spending. "The bottom line is there's a lot of uncertainty and even fear—fear of that first campaign not working," he said. "We will help out first-time advertisers on mobile marketing by co-investing in their first campaign."
The company launched the programme in November last year in the Philippines. In about eight months, the initial funding of approximately US$231,000 was consumed by brands including McDonald’s, Pond’s, Ayala Malls and Petron.
Many brands invested in campaigns that tested mobile commerce for the first time, said Policarpio, who also serves as CEO of Mobext Philippines. He cited the example of McDonald's, which ran a mobile coupon initiative alongside an annual paper-coupon effort it had done for several years. The brand found the mobile campaign produced 18 per cent more revenue per dollar of investment than the paper programme, Policarpio said.
While allowing that the programme has been paying off for Mobext, part of Havas Media Group, Policarpio asserted that the company mostly wants to help brands get started in mobile marketing—even if they later work with their aligned agencies.
"The pie is small at this point," he said. "We need to build the pie, and then there's going to be enough for everyone."
Mobext is present in India, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, China and Australia.