Innovation Starts Here: MobileXCo and marketing innovation

DC students on their cellphones accessing media marketing

Dawn Salter, advertising program co-ordinator for Durham College, says mobile marketing will be the next big thing. She believes in the next five years expenditures on mobile advertising will surpass much of the traditional media, such as television and radio.

“As short as 10 years ago, client’s budgets that went into digital spending were maybe five per cent,” Salter says. “But now consumption for most target audiences is via their smartphones.”


“Advertisers need to get creative to disguise their advertisements as advertising,” says Sulter in an interview with Durham College journalism students. 


According to a report by comScore, in 2014 mobile use started to outweigh desktop usage. In a world of ever-growing technology, companies need to find new ways to reach clients.  The older methods of advertising, such as newspaper, radio, and TV, are becoming limited when it comes to reaching people.                      As mobile usage continues to grow, companies need to tweak the way they reach people.  Utilizing digital marketing through mobile is the ‘new wave’ of advertising and for companies to keep up they need to get on board.



Chart by comScore shows that while desktop use has remained stable over the last few years, mobile use continues to increase.

Sam Plati, professor of business, IT & management at Durham College, shares Salter’s views. The professor, who specializes in marketing, compares advertising on a mobile phone to a conversation between a person and technology. A relationship, he says cannot be underestimated in the case of a company such as mobile X.

“What’s advertising? If you look at the traditional medium, that’s all gone,” says Plati.

“These conversations I’m having with a machine, isn’t that what advertising does; create awareness?” -Sam PLati

Plati says a key component of mobile advertisement lies in social media. It’s free, easy to access and crucial when it comes to developing relationships between companies and consumers, he explains.

Sam Plati tells journalism students about the role of social media in advertising.


MobileXCo is a mobile marketing company based in Whitby, Ont. The company partners with major businesses for various promotions and deals. MobileXCo offers consumers vouchers, coupons, and contests to consumers through cellphones. The company focuses on giving consumers a more personal experience and building loyalty with their customers. With this business model in mind, MobileXCo attempts to bypass ad-blocking which has damaged mobile marketing in recent years.

Why MobileXCo matters? (The Bigger Picture)

Local marketing businesses are being affected by the influx of development in technology. As advertisements become more common, and at the same time ignored and fought against, it is become harding for these companies to keep their head above water.

One Whitby business is successfully staying ahead of these trends by adapting their business plans in response to what they see. By embracing these challenges, and changing their business approach, they have maintained a level of success in the market place.

Moving forward, these marketing approaches will become more common, and will continue to evolve.

How people buy products is changing. How companies sell those products will have to change too.


Official MobileXCo ad detailing some of the company’s services and areas of engagement.

Gaining customer trust

Lisa Paccione is vice-president of sales for the enterprise solutions group at Syniverse, a global telecommunications company based out of Florida. In an article written for Mobile Commerce Daily, Paccione identified two major problems which have plagued mobile marketing companies in recent years. These are the rise of various ad-blocking technologies, and distrust on the part of the consumer to share their personal information with mobile companies.

MobileXCo has developed a mobile marketing platform called Tether to give consumers an easier customer experience.

Tether works in six steps:

1. First, the company creates a mobile “Call to action” to their advertising and marketing materials.

2. The consumer either clicks (if online), or texts (if offline) to get started.

3. The marketing message to the consumer inbox.

4. Consumers go to the various retail outlets.

5. After purchasing their products, a direct line of communication is created to their phone.

6. Tether sends the consumer a message thanking them, asking for feedback, or personalized offer.

Along with these steps comes the need for a strong mobile page to enhance the consumer’s experience and create a conversation between customer and the company offering the product.

“You’re seeing a shift. If you don’t have a mobile page that links me to my conversation, it’s not happening,” says Sam Plati.

Trends in mobile usage
Piktochart graphic with statistics from predicts a rise in mobile usage that is expected to reach upwards of 6 billion by 2023. Could this be the shift Plati talks about?


Part of this shift happens because of free promotional tools like social media.

Salima Kassam, the volunteer coordinator at DC’s Riot Radio, has just recently begun to use social media to advertise the station’s original programming. The most important asset in their toolbox? A mobile app known as Twitter.

“As an online radio station. Not only will this make us familiar and recognizable to our existing volunteers and audience members, but hopefully help us reach out to a broader audience we might not have reached otherwise,” Kassam says.

Kassam describes building Riot Radio’s brand as an ongoing process, one she envisions will largely be achieved through the power of mobile advertising via social media platforms.

“One of our goals is to connect with other organizations, radio stations, students, faculty and industry professionals,” -Salima Kassam.

The MobileXCo approach:

MobileXCo uses a four-step approach to their consumer experience. These steps are: Connect, Engage, Amplify, and Measure.


The first step is to reach consumers across various media. The company adds unique “triggers” to each media channel promoting their campaigns. These include SMS keywords, NFC tags, QR codes, Embedded links, and vanity URLS. Channels are divided into four groups. Paid (TV, Radio, Print, Sponsorship, etc.), Earned (Media, Blogger and Influencer relations), Owned (Websites, Blog, Email, Social Accounts) and Shared (Social platforms, Word-of-mouth & Referrals).


The focus of this step is to create better mobile web experiences to connect with their customers. This includes the use of custom graphics, photos, and videos.
MobileXCo uses coupons (which require no apps to download or special software), Data capture (Contest and promotion entry forms, surveys, event registration, etc.), loyalty subscription tools, and multi-language support to give their customers a better shopping experience.


This step encourages consumers to share their experience through the use of sharing channels. These include social sharing (on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter) and device-to-device sharing (SMS and email).


Finally, MobileXCo tracks metrics to see what is working. This is accomplished by tracking media channels (both online and offline), and exporting data for deeper analysis. This allows their partner companies to track success or failures in their promotions and campaigns on a detailed.

Advertisers are looking for ways to promote a product in a way that doesn’t appear to be an advertisement. Dawn Salter refers to this as subtle advertising. 

Examples of work:

MobileXCo partnered with McDonald’s and the Orlando Magic for a promotion called the Fries Throw. During the 2013-14 NBA season, whenever an opponent playing the Magic would miss five free throws in a game, fans received a mobile voucher for a free order of large fries. Advertising at the arena, local radio shows and Twitter were used to bring awareness to this marketing campaign.


For the 100th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede, MobileXCo partnered with Budweiser for a promotion offering free beer to customers. Teams engaged consumers at the event, where “Bud Girls” used iPads to collect personal contact info. Participants received a mobile voucher for a free 4-pack of Bud Shot, which had just been launched at the time.


MobileXCo collaborated with Applebee’s to get customers to try its new menu. Customers received a mobile coupon for a free dessert with the purchase of an entree.

Mountain Dew

Working with Mountain Dew, MobileXCo helped organize “The DEWmocracy”. Fans voted for their favourite new Mountain Dew flavour for a chance to win $50,000 and various daily prizes. TV, Facebook and packaging were used to raise awareness of the campaign. Using a two-way SMS dialogue engine, customers texted PIN codes hidden beneath bottle caps to vote for their favourite flavour and register for the contest.

The company has also partnered with XBOX, Playstation, Sony Pictures, Samsung, Rogers, Coca-Cola, and Foot Locker, amongst others.

MobileXCo is just of many mobile marketing companies trying to stay ahead of the public’s diminishing attention spans. It has found success using these techniques, but it is an ongoing process finding new ways to keep consumers involved.

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Toby is a second-year journalism student at Durham College. He enjoys writing about entertainment, with a focus on on movies and music. Toby can be heard on Riot Radio as one of the hosts of Talkalypse Now. He hopes to work at an entertainment or music magazine in the future.