Brands must use Mobile

Brands must use Mobile

I attended the Mobile Advertising World (MADWORLD) conference yesterday. Really good speakers and content for the day. Many thought-provoking facts, stats and quotes emerged (some of which are below) but what was clear is that the importance of mobile devices for people and society is increasing exponentially and as such marketers & their advisors need to stop treating it in a traditional manner (either as a silo, or a niche offer, or a complementary focus, as another channel, as a smaller version of online/digital etc) and make preparations to use it a primary interaction for their customers/users/consumers.

And to do so in the next few months rather than next few years.

This is incredibly difficult to implement and for many there is no burning platform – however, when you smell the first few whiffs of smoke, it will be far too late (See Russell Bromley’s point about exponential growth below). That in itself is being compounded by the fact that the economic uncertainty is reducing budgets, increasing fear & inertia and causing marketers to focus on a few tried & trusted activities in the short term.

A lot of the issues and opportunities for mobile are currently being discussed and some fantastic innovations are being tried by a few digital savvy companies who are in the category, whose business model involves being digitally useful or are on the cutting edge.

But for the majority of brands, mobile simply isn’t important enough…yet.

Here are some of the things noted yesterday that encouraged the important shift in Mobile’s statement of intent.

Maurice Lévy, Publicis

  • Mobile is a game changer for society as much as business
  • The mobile phone is hardly a phone any more
  • 60% of people sleep with their phones
  • A third of people would rather lose their wallet than their mobile
  • Africa and other emerging markets are leapfrogging the developed countries because they do not have to undergo a “Darwinian” evolution based on 2.0. 2.1, 2.2 improvements. There is no infrastructure to replace. Mobile is already a utility.
  • Mobile offers huge precision of personal identity – not just information but behavioural & emotional on one device – so the biggest challenge for bands is not to abuse this – to seek permission to help the user rather than intrude or worse share/intrude without permission.
  • Mobile offers the opportunity for a commercialisation of personality but brands need to engage, help, and be useful.

As head of Publicis, he knows the boon of future revenues that best in class Mobile solutions ffer and knows the risks. M. Lévy recognised all must be done on an opt in/opt out basis. The danger there is to do it superficially to an extent that it is only a tick box exercise – like T&C’s being read or tick if you don’t want data shared. Brands need to be actively transparent with a user by explaining what they will do, why, what the usefulness will be and to do so without jargon. Gaining permission will be a privilege that cannot be abused.

Samuel Keret, Waze

  • Our offer shouldn’t work – real time advertising for drivers. But it does because a community uses it socially and they find it useful – a social sat nav. Advertising offers revenue but Waze needs to be primarily safe and we have a form of community policing inside the company as well as in our community.
  • In India, if you have a smart phone, a data package and a car…you’ll also have a driver.

Russell Buckley (Eagle Eye Solutions)

  • Mobile is undergoing Exponential Growth – where the market/technology/usefulness doubles every  period – he used his analogy of a huge football stadium – where a drop of water is put on the pitch, then 2 drops, then 4 etc and asked how long before someone in top row drowned. 49 minutes! But at 45 minutes, the stadium is less than half full so you think you have time to leave. 4 minutes later…gulp! That means when you see danger it’s too late. Mobile’s importance needs to be recognised  now not in 5 years
  • Mobile is a category killer – of pagers, calculators, alarm clocks, PDA, cameras, hand held gaming, MP3 players, Sat Nav…And the landline (“why phone a place when you can call a person?”)
  • With massive learning via algorithms, next will be health monitoring, translation, keys, PC’s and laptops (mobile will do to computing what PC’s did to mainframe)…and, and, and…
  • Data will further drive marketing – especially on Mobile – to recruit( mobile advertising) and for retention (mobile CRM & loyalty programs) – all based on customert benefits (immediately on your device/own number)
  • S-Commerce – mobile led commerce in store retail environments is something that brands and marketers can do immediately – using Mobile as a wallet, as a loyalty card, as a coupon, as a store guide, as a diversion … as needed.

Chris Lawson (Guardian) & Mona Walsh (EI@UM)

  • Mobile offers a community of collaborators and reporters than allow individuals to share their voice, make a difference and add back – witness Arab Spring.
  • Use the Conversation Economy – brands need to understand the social in social media
    • Think social (plan, create shareable content, have a story, be prepared to listen and answer)
    • Act social (where you do things, put things out, share things, celebrate and react)
    • Be social (recognise you are part of a community, of society, to take responsibility not only revenue, be future proof)
    • Too many companies remain in silos where marketing and customer service play to different tunes – fail.
    • The App Store will be the new Tesco as much as Amazon will be.

Daniel Rosen, AKQA…on Apps

  • Tablets are the ultimate Family computer – think couch commerce.
  • 10BN Apps have been downloaded
  • Apple’s App Store is 10X iTunes
  • Mobile’s web pages engage users for 26m/day but apps are 73mins/per day already and growing
  • Only 1% of Apps succeed
  • 86,000 iOS & Android developers already – so there is “an app for that already”!
  • So for a brand, you must ask is an App right for a brand – not simply that we must have one!
  • It needs to be a strategic decision with a specific business objective that only an App can deliver
  • Then…it needs to be Exceptional: great insight; relevance to existing user behaviour, innovative, focused – do one thing well – and with elegant Code.
  • In the end …everything’s strategic.

Nathan Clapton, Trip Advisor

  • Given the algorithmic growth of mobile commerce, take a few bets for the long term
  •  Evaluate Mobile Web or an App based on business needs
  • Think HTML5 as well as native apps – build once and distribute many times
  • Think multiplatform development from a user perspective
  • Decide your goals first
  • Convert your existing customers to mobile
  • Use Partners
  • Decide to develop in house or outside as you need
  • Update & innovate regularly
  • You can’t just build it & leave it!

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