First the numbers...
A recent forecast by Borrell Associates says that location-based mobile spending overall will reach $4 billion by 2015, up from just $34 million last year.
Brands (and some agencies) are catching on to Mobile... Thanks to nifty phones and competition to make better Apps.
Ogilvy had a full house in their theater on Friday for the “The Battle of the Mobile Social Networks.”
The contenders were quite civil and interesting:
• Naveen Selvadurai: Co-founder of Foursquare
• Brian Marciniak: VP of Global Business Development Loopt
• Lawrence Coburn: CEO of DoubleDutch
• Nihal Mehta: CEO & Founder of Buzzd
• Rob Lawson: Co-founder of BrightKite
Sorry not to see Gowalla but the conversation was full-featured... their names are childish, being close to the cash register is key, security/privacy are big issues, auto "check-in" functions are next, enterprise services are learning from the digerati, brands (not Agencies) lead this charge and only budgeting when the cash register rings... More in Ogilvy's Press Release here.
As these apps/companies/memes work hard to define mobile, the ones that will succeed will be able to differentiate beyond similar features. Some will wrangle the right sponsors for cash and partners for distribution.
A chat with Foursquare's Naveen afterwords revealed an interesting fact that one of their original goals was to help people self-assess from their actions. This is fascinating and will be pursued (all you Meyers-Briggs fans can contact me to discuss... except you "I"s, if course).
Aerva was once again used by The Ogilvy Lab folks to power interactivity. The Twitter Wall was "another panelist" and regularly got pro/con reaction from the room... like the bottom comment below about serious privacy concerns, "I'm at #MobileBattle right now. Please rob my home."