Commentary

Insights From A Web Guy Turned Mobile: Three Topics Inside The Noise

As an online marketing seller for over a decade, I finally made the platform shift to mobile. In the past few months, I have been exposed to what I believe are the most defining trends of our industry: the position of mobile within the comprehensive media mix, the need for apps or lack thereof, and the unique location and time-aware characteristics of mobile. At the heart of each of these topics is the mobile consumer -- the factor by which campaigns in 2013 and beyond will be shaped more than ever before. How can brands leverage these trends while fully mirroring their audience?

1.     Use mobile to make your other media smarter

Many Fortune 500 brands have moved out of the "test item" phase when considering mobile for a comprehensive campaign. Mobile has not only earned its own line item, but has proven its worth as an integral player of a larger campaign strategy. Mobile has the unique properties to seamlessly integrate into other media -- online, TV, social media, "out of home," and print all benefit from a mobile boost. In fact, brands that mix media incorporate more mobile spend than those that do not. At the Mobile Media Summit, panelist and Digitas VP/Group Director of Media and Mobile Ryan Griffin said: "…don't divorce mobile from social or content -- these need to orbit together. They make up the tapestry of marketing efforts, not a line item on your flow chart. It [mobile] has to connect with so many of the other things you are doing." When approached as an "and" versus an "or," mobile will make your other media work harder. To get the biggest bang for your campaign spend, tie mobile into your strategy.

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2.     App is not the mobile silver bullet

Too often brands consider mobile engagement as simply the launch of a mobile app. Instead of assuming "there's an app for that," let's ask ourselves whether there really needs to be an app for that. Apps make sense for specific objectives; however, if you build it and no one comes, you're left holding the bag. This is similar to the online world, where microsites were once the rage. There appeared to be a microsite for every element of a larger brand. In time, marketers recognized the difficulty in driving visits without real utility and rising above the noise. Now, we're seeing less microsites and more building on top of the platforms where consumers already engage -- such as Facebook and Twitter. Before creating and launching a mobile app, ask yourself where your target audience is, what benefit (utility) you're bringing them, how you're going to drive downloads, and whether or not the app truly supports the end goal. In short, you need a broader strategy than just creating an app. An app is not a strategy, but rather a component to everyday marketing.

3.    Seize the moment…by moment…by moment

Mobile's location and time-aware qualities elevate targeting to a more personal level than we have even seen before. From block to block, city to city, mobile helps advertisers create a moment-by-moment experience that is enhanced not only contextually, but by proximity and time of day. This location and time-aware medium enables brands to create a story and relevant connection points throughout a consumer's day. I think Chia Chen, SVP of Digitas, positioned it best at the Mobile Media Summit last month: "How do you express your brand as software? How can you connect with people for a short period of time in the moment? If your target audience is standing in the middle of Times Square underneath your brand's billboard, you're losing an opportunity if you don't connect mobile into that moment’s experience. From retail to CPG, mobile’s location and time-aware capabilities add distinctive elements beyond any other medium.

These three trends will help continue to define mobile as the go-to platform for advertisers and consumers alike. Now is the time to weave mobile into your campaign strategy and capitalize on what makes it unique. Dive in.

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