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Mobile Marketing Association convinces carriers to merge best-practice playbook

LAS VEGAS -- The four leading wireless carriers nationwide have agreed to incorporate their mobile marketing guidelines within the Mobile Marketing Association's best practices.

The idea is to streamline the mobile marketing and advertising process by eliminating carrier regulations that overlapped or made campaign execution more complex than necessary.

"The fundamental need is efficiency and profitability," said Mike Wehrs, president/CEO of the MMA, New York.

"We estimate, based on looking at how much time was being spent on five rulebooks versus one, that turns into approximately $200 million a year in improved efficiency," he said.

This marks the first major accomplishment since Mr. Wehrs took charge of the MMA in January from his predecessor Laura Marriott.

The carriers participating in this best-practice standardization comprise Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

These carriers are all members of the MMA.

Other mobile ecosystem players such as short code registry NeuStar, messaging services giant VeriSign, mobile firm Limbo and mobile content seller Thumbplay also chipped in to get this consensus from the carriers.

Per the deal, the carriers will merge their individual mobile marketing guidelines and codes of content into a single playbook maintained by the MMA.

The industry trade body will work with carriers and other mobile marketing firms to unify the best-practice guidelines.

Consistent benefits
The MMA touts five benefits with such standardization.

First is the standardization of key consumer disclosures for a consistent consumer experience across carriers.

Second is improving the efficiency in running short code programs for SMS text marketing.

Third is accelerating the speed of mobile marketing campaigns from conception to implementation and deployment.

Next is ensuring the consistency of monitoring programs and audit results. The metrics must be understood and apply commonly.

Finally, it is expected that the common playbook will cut operational costs across the mobile marketing industry.

One of the pressing reasons for accelerating the standardization of the carrier playbook is the complexity around privacy or personal information policies.

"There is an opportunity that the MMA can come up with a vast reduction in the number of privacy policies that are out there," Mr. Wehrs said.

"Another example is in mobile applications," he said. "Right now there's no guidelines that anybody follows. So it's a free-for-all. So we see an opportunity there."

The MMA's consumer best practices committee will review the first draft of the document in the next few days. The final document will be made public in June.

"This effort that we just did applies to North America," Mr. Wehrs said. "There is the opportunity to export this to other areas where the MMA is active."