Emerging Platforms Wireless

5 Mobile Rules from Top Marketers

Posted by Jonathan Gardner on August 14th, 2012 at 6:31 am

Portions of this article appeared previously on Mashable.com.

Let’s face it: mobile advertising still has a long way to go. Facebook finally announced its latest and greatest mobile-ad effort last week, but smart industry folks say it still leaves much to be desired. And even though more money’s flowing toward mobile, the dollars spent on mobile marketing still don’t come close to aligning with the amount of time we spend with smartphones in hand. In fact, some say that the only reason mobile pulls in ad spend is because it’s so  damn cheap.

Even so, it seems inevitable that mobile’s share of spend will continue to increase – if only because it already owns such a significant share of mind. Mobile also has serious potential to perform for marketers. A Nielsen report out this week showed a shorter time to purchase and dramatically higher purchase rates among mobile consumers. And leaders at trailblazing agencies are putting serious effort into setting the mobile agenda for the rest of the marketing world.

Mobile has transcended its role as a connection and convergence device. In the words of Starcom MediaVest Group’s Jesse Missad, “it will be part of every communications plan.”

I spoke with Missad and other industry leaders about their thoughts on mobile. Here are their five rules for the mobile road – actionable insights you can put to work right now:

1. Don’t ask “if,” but “how?” Big brands no longer see the need to justify mobile. Rather, they’re looking for partners who’ve mastered it. The question is not whether you need mobile, but how you can do it well. Altimeter Group analyst Chris Silva harks back to an old lesson of Web 1.0, saying that agencies need to be “mature” about mobile – putting real thought into strategy and technology. The days of building it and hoping they will come are long gone.

2. Mix it up. Faced with a sprawling menu of mobile marketing options – from apps and ads to sites and social media – brands risk getting stuck on one reliable formula. Don’t. Every campaign is different, and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions in today’s world. Consumers expect more than that – as Paul Gelb of Razorfish puts it, “success comes from identifying actionable consumer insights, business objectives and the experiential message to communicate.”

3. Which leads me to my next rule: Know thy customer. Mobile technology brings new possibilities to people’s lives, and new opportunities for marketers to deliver engaging content, messages, value and utility. But it also means that consumers expect an experience tailored to their needs. Central to this, from a marketing perspective, is relevance. Thanks to mobile technology, we can deliver content and advertising experiences that are in truly the interest of the consumer. As Gelb says, when advertising is contextually relevant, users in overwhelming numbers “report not only a positive impression of the ad they saw but also the concept of ad-supported media.”

4. Lead through change. It takes more than a village, but rather a whole industry to spur the changes we need to see in mobile advertising. This will take broad adoption of initiatives by trade groups such as the IAB or MMA, decisive action by top agencies and brands, and widespread adoption of standardized metrics that show how mobile is actually working. Missad says we face a long road ahead. “While progress is being made through mobile ad-server development, publisher adoption of tags, and attitudinal evaluation, measurement is simply not keeping up with consumer realities and proliferation of technology.”

5. Last but not least, put mobile first. Paul Gelb believes that mobile needs to emerge from its silo. “It’s always on,” he says, so find ways to integrate it with TV and brick-and-mortar touchpoints to more holistically engage your consumer. Missad adds: “Reality calls for an integrated approach to mobility, not a separate strategy. Mobile is a full-funnel solution.”

The key takeaway here? Follow these five indisputable rules to spur and accelerate change across our industry. By doing so, we can all work to build an ideal mobile future.

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