IPG Mediabrands acquires Mubaloo for greater mobile marketing experience


Global media firm IPG Mediabrands has acquired enterprise app development house Mubaloo to improve its mobile experience and bolster its UK presence.

The deal, which has been completed for “around a week or two”, will see Mubaloo housed in IPG’s Ansible mobile agency arm. IPG sees its four main digital service areas as programmatic, search, social, and mobile, and while the agency giant has managed to grow some of these areas organically in its business, it has adopted an acquisition strategy in this instance.

“Mobile was critically important,” Jason Carter, IPG Mediabrands EMEA chief digital officer tells MarketingTech. “We knew we had to accelerate what we were doing, and we also knew that just buying media in mobile wasn’t enough. To really be able to influence consumers across mobile, we needed to be able to touch them across a number of different touchpoints.”

“It was just a meeting of minds really,” says Mark Mason, founder and chairman of Mubaloo, who notes that conversation between the two companies had started a full 20 months ago. “The big thing about this was down to chemistry – people who were talking the same language, looking to the same things, [who] understood where we were going [and] where the markets were going.

“That’s been a surprise to me, talking to a group like IPG [who] recognise this is where they needed to go,” he adds.

The desire for real-time, personalised data is fast becoming gold dust for consumers and marketers alike – yet Carter argues consumers are well ahead of the brands on this issue. Mason explains how he has a long relationship with his favoured car manufacturer, buying four over the years, yet if he were to walk into their showroom they’ve “no idea” who he is. “They should do,” he says. “I’d like them to, and I want to have a value proposition with them. I’m willing to have the app on my phone and I’m willing to allow them to know who I am as an individual and my background.”

Of course, the technology is there to implement communication between brands and consumers which leads to greater relationships without being overly intrusive. But while some brands have got it, others lag behind. “It’s not just pushing messages out because you can and because you’ve got the distribution platform,” says Carter. “It’s taking more of a customer-centric view of the experience you create, so brands actually offer some value. In mobile, the need to do that is arguably more acute than anywhere else because it’s such a personal medium.”

Key to the current news landscape at the moment is the rise of ad blocking, particularly on mobile. It’s a balancing act; is it right that consumers can be empowered to refute advertising which isn’t for them? Carter spins it round: “Technology is the answer because we can make experiences better that people don’t want to block them, and they’re willing to exchange data and having a relationship with the brand because you’re providing them something of value,” he explains.

Mubaloo’s expertise also includes projects in beacons and the Internet of Things (IoT). The opportunities are as exciting as they are limitless for brands, but for Mediabrands the opportunity to deliver end-to-end mobile programmes incorporating IoT is just as impressive. “We can deliver the right messages based on the context of where [the consumers] are, we can give very specific messages to them now, and if we do that well, the relationship with the brand just builds,” says Mason.

Carter confirmed the Mubaloo brand will continue to be utilised as part of Ansible’s enterprise operations.

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