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Consumer products giants seek digital marketing innovation

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Gap, Unilever and General Electric are on the hunt for services and technologies that use big data, mobile technology and video to drive new sales channels.

Think your company has come up with technology that make a difference in the world of digital marketing?

You could have the chance to make your case at an upcoming innovation contest being held this November in New York at the ad:tech conference.

The Startup Spotlight Series is actually split into four different tracks:

  • General Electric is sponsoring the Data & Analytics Challenge, which is seeking lead generation and analysis platforms that could be useful for business to business (B2B) marketers. The contest is hoping to find platforms that work across email, social, mobile, television and print media.
  • Gap is behind the Shopper Marketing Challenge, which will identify services that can help "convert browsers into buyers." In other words, ways of reaching a potential customer or prospect, whether they are online, in front of the TV or in their car.
  • The Unilever Mobile Commerce Challenge will support entries that use mobile technology to create a "real sales channel" for consumers. This could be surround barcodes, mobile check-in services, and so on.
  • The Social TV & Video Challenge is looking for technologies and services to help syndicate video content across different devices, from TVs to tablet computers (and other mobile devices).

There will be 16 finalists chosen from among all the entries. Those companies will be tapped to exhibit their concept during the ad:tech conference (free of charge). They will also get a chance to pitch during the show. There will be a winner chosen in each separate challenge, the idea being that these startups might go on to pitch their ideas to the companies sponsoring that track.

The deadline for submissions is Aug. 24, 2012.

The competition is the latest in a series of innovation spotlight series run by this particular conference. It also has a contest in place for its conference in San Francisco next April.

The companies being highlighted during that event include:

  • Involver, the social media marketing management platform and "social markup language" developer recently bought by Oracle.
  • GraphEffect, a social media collaboration platform that raised $12 million in funding in mid-June.
  • Compass Labs, which manages social media ad campaigns
  • Payvment, a social commerce platform
  • Punchcard, a mobile rewards service that works when you take photos of receipts for stuff you have purchased
  • ShopSavvy, a comparison shopping application
  • Fiksu, a mobile marketing application
  • Gravity Jack, a development platform that lets marketers and companies add augmented reality features to mobile apps
  • Seawell Networks, a service provider supporting content network operators that are building out platforms for delivering IP video
  • Encoding.com, a cloud application for video encoding
  • Addroid, a service for making video banners
  • Dotstudioz, a video publishing and management service
  • Stipple, a way to track where your companies images are being shared and distributed (for example, when someone pins a product photo on Pinterest)
  • Cloudwords, a translation management service for localization projects
  • Mixrank, a way to analyze how well your competitors' campaigns are working
  • Magnetic, described as a search retargeting service and platform

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure