[Posted by Neil Strother]

Microsoft and Phonevalley – a Publicis Groupe agency – have announced a deal to push mobile marketing to new heights.

The deal calls for creating customized mobile ads, technology and metrics that will run across Microsoft's mobile Web properties (Bing, Microsoft Media Network and MSN). The packaged offerings will concentrate on six verticals: luxury, retail, entertainment, automotive, financial services and travel. The products will be offered in 14 global markets, including the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

This deal further binds a relationship between the software giant and Publicis. Just last month, Paris-based Publicis agreed to acquire digital agency Razorfish from Microsoft.

So, what does this mean? It is the type of focus the mobile market needs to attract more advertising dollars. Can this partnership truly move the needle? I think so. These two have the market heft to make a significant difference. Remember, Microsoft has a mobile search and ad deal with Verizon Wireless. The opportunity is there. Now they (Phonevalley-MS) need to execute and not screw it up. Google is ever lurking.

What do you think? Significant move, or a small step? Post a comment below.