For those of you not in attendance at tomorrow's OMMA Mobile show in New York, there is ample opportunity to get glimpses of the activity on and off stage. MediaPost staff will be blogging throughout the day at https://www.mediapost.com/blogs/raw/
We also have MediaPost's ongoing events Twitter feed @mediapostlive. And finally, you can post and search against the Twitter hashtag #ommamobile. At our OMMA Behavioral Conference, the corresponding hashtag worked very well not only as a conduit of audience interaction but also as a font of audience questions. I would urge attendees and those just monitoring the event remotely to consult that feed and suggest questions. Often someone in the audience will pick up a query in the Twitter feed and pose it for the panel. I think Twitter has the potential to rearrange some aspects of event content.
Speaking of which, one of the themes of the Wednesday show is integration writ large. We had two conceits in mind with this agenda and in recruiting many of the panelists. First, we wanted to respond to an increasing lament among mobile marketers themselves that too often we are talking "into an echo chamber." Industry folks spend much of their time talking with one another about a medium they are already convinced matters, works and deserves more of a media buy. I was moderating a mobile panel at another event last month, and several of the members, all ad networks, voiced the same concern: "We need to talk to and with the people who are making the bigger allocation decisions."
And so as bookends to OMMA Mobile, we engage this issue of mobile integrating into that larger conversation. In our keynoter Maria Mandel, Executive Director, Digital Innovation, OgilvyInteractive, we get the perspective of someone who is allocating and balancing across a range of emerging media, from games to out-of-home. I am eager to hear her thinking about mobile as an activation agent not only for older media but emerging forms as well. As IP-driven data moves off of the Web and into myriad other platforms, I think mobile's potential only grows as a kind of ever-present interactive mouse that lets us "click on" or activate real-world places and messaging.
The lead-off panel of directors, many of whom you don't ordinarily see at mobile events, will be talking about where they allocate for mobile, and again in that larger scheme of other media new and old vying for their attention. And it is with that dynamic in mind we programmed the end-piece of the day, "Resolved: Sorry, It Still Isn't Ready Yet." Here we pose an active debate over whether mobile does yet deserve a serious place at the table of media planning.
In other panels, we also come at the theme of integration another way. We will start the show with an interesting finding from a recent Pew Internet and American Life study (http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/5-The-Mobile-Difference--Typology.aspx), which found that 39% of American have a positive attitude about their mobile devices and find that they are drawing them into deeper engagement with digital resources. In other words, mobile is not a mere extension of the Web or other digital media; it is changing the way we think about and engage with these non-mobile digital sources. This change takes place in different ways for five of the audience segments Pew saw affected by mobile, but all found their use of digital media increased or altered in some way by mobile.
That basic insight informs some of the afternoon panels we have planned. Both search and social media are two areas of familiar Web life that almost certainly will be changed by mobile. For search, the remote platform introduces new modes of input, location detection and an increased emphasis on localized queries and results.
Am I the only one out there who now prefers using my phone to do local searches over the desktop? I have the map in hand, direct-call links, and directions to go. I will do a local search on my handset even sitting at my desk, simply because I know the results are portable and actionable without the intermediary steps of printing or writing down a number.
Mobile isn't just remote and limited access to Dekstop services anymore. It is a better way to search in some cases.
Likewise, the social media experience is both improved and somehow more natural on a handset than it is on my desktop. I consult my Facebook page and Twitter feed more often on the phone than I do on the desktop now. The handset is less cluttered and in another way is more conducive to the person-to-person connectivity these social media networks allow.
Both social and search panels Wednesday afternoon will engage with how mobile doesn't just extend these platforms, but may also change the way we integrate digital interactivity anywhere and anytime.
Change is in the air, both in how mobile devices help us reshape our relationship to media, and then how marketers rethink their relationship to the always-addressable consumer. This time next year, when we move toward the end of our third year of OMMA Mobile shows (we started the day the iPhone launched), I suspect we will be discussing how substantial shares of Web-based media activity is shifting to phones. The panel structure at tomorrow's show is designed to get a jump start on the kinds of conversations we will be having next year.