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James Lawrence Orsini
Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors
James Orsini is Chief
Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Single Touch
Systems Inc. (SITO), the mobile media solutions provider serving retailers,
advertisers and brands. His principal office is in the Newport Office Center
in Jersey City, New Jersey. Orsini came to SITO from Saatchi & Saatchi, the
famed “Lovemarks” advertising agency and flagship brand of Publicis Groupe,
where he was Executive Vice President and Director of Finance and
About: Single Touch Systems Inc.
Newport Corporate Center
100 Town Square,
Jersey City, NJ 07310
Single Touch Systems Inc. (SITO)
is an innovative mobile media solutions provider serving retailers,
advertisers and brands. Through patented technologies and a modular,
adaptable platform, SITO’s multi-channel messaging gateway enables marketers
to reach consumers on all types of connected devices, with information that
engages interest, drives transactions and strengthens relationships and
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor,
Published – June 24, 2011
Mr. Orsini, what attracted you to Single Touch Systems?
The mobile space is just unbelievable, with 280 million subscribers here in
the U.S. and growing. The world is filled with three screens: you have a
television screen, a computer screen and a mobile screen. However, all that
happens on both the television and computer can eventually happen on the
CEOCFO: What does Single Touch Systems do?
We are an integrated mobile media solutions provider servicing retailers,
advertisers and brands through our patented technologies. We have over
sixteen proprietary patents in this space already secured. For us, mobile is
not a strategy, rather, it is a channel. With my experience working with
some great retailers like JC Penney in the past and advertisers worldwide
like Proctor & Gamble, General Mills and working for some of the great
branding companies in the world like Saatchi and Interbrand we look forward
to connecting the dots and fully actualizing the promise of mobile for
today’s cost conscious and time pressured marketers.
CEOCFO: Would you tell us about your product offerings?
We are focusing on three offerings now. The company does more, but I needed
to peel it back a little and focus on our critical offerings. First, we have
Abbreviated Dial Code, which is something like #MTV, #WMT. We have what we
are calling Come here/ be there Reminders. This is an application for
shoppers to be alerted when items that they have purchased are ready for
pick-up, such as “your tires have been installed, come pick up your car”;
“your prescription is ready come and pick it up”; or “your delivery is on
its way”. The third offering that we have is mobile couponing and mobile
CEOCFO: Are retailers in general up to date in what they need to be
doing or do they still need to be educated in how important it is to have
the mobile connection?
Our industry is in the early stages of development and acceptance. It is
much like the early days of the internet when you thought that if you had a
landing page or simply loaded up your print brochure digitally, you were on
the internet. However, we have now found that this is really not the case.
So it is with mobile media. Retailers are just beginning to realize that, as
with the internet, in mobile, there are some solutions that are more optimal
than others. With my background, I’m in a perfect place to productize our
offerings around the needs of today’s retailers and to serve them up so
that, even if they don’t see the advantages of mobile yet, they soon will.
From a retailing standpoint, it is important that they continue to better
their relationship with their consumers. What better way to accomplish this
than to speak to their consumers right at the point of sale.
CEOCFO: Would you give us an example of how someone is making use of
your services today?
We have worked with one of the largest, if not the largest, retailers in the
world. If you drop your prescription off at their pharmacy, you could
continue shopping and have the convenience of receiving a text or voice
reminder on your cell phone. We are sending, on average, 15 million reminder
messages per month. This allows the consumer to continue shopping, rather
than exiting the store and calling to check up on their order later.
Reminder messages serve multiple purposes. In addition to keeping consumers
in the store longer because they know they will get a reminder, as soon as
their prescription is ready it also prevents calls to the pharmacy by
anxious consumers who are looking to check on the status of their
prescription. This is helpful to the retailer as these check up calls pull
pharmacists and staff away from their duties when they have to answer the
phone. It also reduces restocking charges. There is legislation now where
the only one who can restock pharmaceutical items are authorized
pharmacists. If you do not come and pick up your prescription, the
pharmacists are the only ones who can put it back on the shelf. Therefore,
this helps to reduce restocking costs.
CEOCFO: Would you be sending them other things as well?
In addition to stand alone Ready Reminder services, it is possible to
enhance this service with appropriate promotions or coupons. For other
Single Touch clients we also feature tailored Abbreviated Dial Codes. For
example, you could dial #taxi and get a taxi cab.
CEOCFO: Is the environment moving in a direction that will help
people recognize the value of the Single Touch product offerings?
Eventually cell phones will move from a communications device to a media
consumption device. However, most do not understand the eco-system of media
verses creative advertising versus branding. What is happening now is that
this space is saturated with tech guys, so there are too few marketing and
media guys who really understand how to utilize mobile media efficiently and
effectively to better communicate with and to begin to have stronger
relationships with consumers. Therefore, marketers are not doing enough to
promote their mobile offerings and when they do, unfortunately they often
times do not do it in the most compelling way. Also, people consume
different content differently. The way you consumer content on the
television is different from the way you consume information on the computer
or on a mobile device. So the messaging needs to be appropriately crafted
and made not only readable from a technology standpoint, but in an
abbreviate format. That is what I hope to bring to Single Touch. I am hoping
to bring to our industry a translational approach to make it mobile media
communications easier for consumers to consume information delivered within
the mobile space.
CEOCFO: What is the competitive landscape for Single Touch?
When I look at the competitors, they are predominantly tech companies. We
have competitors in each of those three pillars that I mentioned. We have
competitors who are doing Abbreviated Dial Code; we have competitors who are
doing SMS text and voice messaging, and those who are doing advertising and
couponing. I am not sure there is one, beyond Single Touch, that does it
all, as we do, through all of the type of proprietary technology and patents
we have. Certainly, not one of our competitors do it with our approach to
and understanding of branding, marketing, consumer purchasing behaviors and
relationship management. Advances in mobile media is not going to be about
simply pushing technology, but rather success will be about creating
meaningful relationships with consumers at the point of sale.
CEOCFO: Single Touch has some well-known customers; how do you decide
whom to target?
That is part of what we are going to work on in the next 100 days, because I
want Single Touch to be “the go-to mobile solutions provider”. If you have a
mobile need I want your first port-of-call to be Single Touch Systems; I
want to be on your speed dial. I am relatively certain one of my three
current offerings and several innovative notions we’ve already begun working
on, will be right for what is needed. For example, there might be a company
where same-store sales have been down and is looking for innovative ways to
keep their consumers in the store. We might want to make it easier for the
consumer to make a purchase while on the road. You may want to increase that
customer service from a gold or platinum perspective, so you want to get
that special touch that special treatment to those that are part of your
customer base. Well, one of our abbreviated dial codes might be right for
you. Obviously, we know direct marketing; couponing and promotions have been
hugely successful in the past and will continue to be. I can assure you that
clipping newspapers and walking around with bundles of papers is NOT going
to be the preferred option for consumers for much longer. Everyone has his
or her cell phone all the time. To somebody look into any media environment,
think of the living room or the boardroom, count the TVs, computers,
multiply by two and that is usually the number of cell phones in that same
environment, whether it is the living room or the boardroom. The future of
marketing is mobile devices.
CEOCFO: Are you looking to add staff or change your team?
Yes, we are. In fact, we will be opening our headquarters office in Newport
Corporate Center in Jersey City. Therefore, we will then have four offices:
one in Jersey City, I am finalizing the deal now for Bentonville, Arkansas,
and we remain in Boise, Idaho, and Encinitas, California.
CEOCFO: Why Idaho?
That is where our developers reside.
CEOCFO: What is the financial picture like for Single Touch today?
Single Touch has been around for more than nine years and publicly traded
for more than three years. However, we will now be moving to an operational
structure. That is part of what I am here to do. I want to round out a
management team, to round out a board of directors, and to really position
Single Touch to be the billion-dollar company that we want it to be.
CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the Single Touch patents?
We have patents around the Abbreviated Dial Code, mobile advertising, mobile
couponing, streaming video and another half a dozen patents that I haven’t
even figured out how to commercialize just yet. Additionally, we have
several in the pipeline pending approval.
CEOCFO: Have you done or will you be doing much investor outreach?
Yes, we will, once we really position the company for where we want to take
it. However, we want to anchor it down and make sure that we have the right
management team, and a well rounded board in place. Actually, we will soon
be expanding the board. Then we will be ready to take this to the investment
community. There are a couple of analysts tracking us right now, but we are
pretty much a well kept secret right now.
CEOCFO: Why should potential investors pay attention to Single Touch
With 90 million subscribers on AT&T, and 92 million on Verizon, and 100
million on all others, for a total of more than 280 million subscribers, and
growing, and a Single Touch technology that translates cross-border and that
is carrier agnostic, Single Touch is a company that is now being led by a
marketing guy who has done business with some of the best brands in the
world, in twenty-six countries. With this as a backdrop, and with a client
portfolio that includes some of the largest retailers in the world, I submit
that Single Touch is a compelling offering.
CEOCFO: Final thoughts, what should people remember most about the
Single Touch story?
Just the fact that I cannot tell you how excited I am to be a part of it. I
think I am in the right industry at the right time with the right leadership
skills to really bring Single Touch to the next plateau.
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