Commentary

Can They Hear Us Now?

No one knows (or should know) the value of crowd-sourcing more than a trade conference programmer. Some of the best panel ideas and panel questions for the various OMMA shows I plan have come from discussions with industry folks about what issues they need addressed. For the upcoming Los Angeles show "Calling All ROI" I have been challenging all of the panelists and moderators to bring their best cases and proofs about mobile marketing effectiveness to the program.

 

But now I turn to you, dear readers, for some user-generated questions I can pass on to my moderators for the various panels. As I prep the panels and the moderators, I would like to feed them perspectives and questions from our readership they might build into their Q&A agendas. So let's walk through the possibilities.

 

We will kick off the panel sessions with what has become a fixture at most OMMA shows: the "buy-side panel." MediaPost's core constituency is the media planning and buying comminute, marketers and agencies. We'd like to put their voices on stage early in any program to reflect on the state of these emerging platforms at the marketing level. This time, I am asking everyone to bring the "best cases," successful campaigns that demonstrate where clients already see some return on their admittedly small mobile investments. But what do you want to know about these campaigns? What makes you curious about some of the award-winning and high profile mobile ad programs? Pricing? Execution? Measurement?

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The branding panel is one that I have been trying to pull together for a while, since brand managers are the ones with the best top-down view of how mobile fits their goals and constituency. To be frank, getting brands to the table to discuss this topic remains a challenge, and I am still filling this one out with the right members. Suggestions are still welcome.

 

What do you vendors and agencies want to know from the brands themselves about their willingness to mobilize?

 

Our iPhone panel, led by Dan Flanegan, is a West Coast version of the fascinating one we had on the topic at OMMA Expo in New York last week. The early-in App Store developers have been forthcoming about the high levels of user involvement with their software so far and the ins and outs of dealing with Apple. In this iteration, however, we will focus more on the brand-marketing angle, with Sega in the mix as well as AdMob and VML. I am curious about the ad responsiveness thus far and what sort of value branded applications will bring to users. How about you?

 

In the afternoon, I decided to focus us down into two verticals that I consider relatively mature on mobile, music and auto. For all of its missteps in digital media generally, music labels and marketers have executed some effective multipronged strategies on mobile, from artist promotions to music sales. Likewise, the auto segment is responsible for some of the most elaborate mobile ad campaigns and mobile Web experiences we have seen, and they often reach into the local dealerships. My aim here is to use these segments as exemplars of evolved mobile marketing.

 

The panel on the voice channel brings forward an area of mobile marketing I have tried to feature here in the last year because I think it can be powerful and often overlooked. In-call ads are the only form of mobile marketing that leverage the device's native functionality. I myself am curious to discover its current scale as well as the demographics it best serves. I wonder also if it integrates with other SMS and WAP components.

 

And finally, we bring into OMMA Mobile a successful panel structure I am borrowing from the OMMA Behavioral Series, where we end most shows with a "Grill the Vendors" session. Too many trade shows devolve into simple pitch sessions from panels that are over-populated with start-ups. You know you are in for it when one of your panelists starts a sentence with "What we try to do at Mobi-Whatever is solve that problem for marketers by... ."

What we try to do is flip that model and take a more critical, interrogatory perspective. In Testing the Network, we are inviting some of the major mobile ad networks and one or two novel startups, to field marketers' most challenging questions. And that is where you come in. This is the panel which relies most on audience contributions. As moderators, John Hadl and I prepare the agenda of questions for this panel, and I encourage your input.

What do you as marketers and competitors want to know about the mobile ad network game, about this growing field of offerings?     

Feel free to email me at the usual address, but I think it would be more productive for readers to post their proposed questions in the comments area below. It allows us to refine questions and see what others are curious about.

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