Mark Bridge writes:
At the beginning of the 21st century I moved from Vodafone to work for its Vizzavi multimedia portal, wooed by talk of context-specific advertising that would one day use a customer’s location and search history to ensure any ads were precisely targeted. And I’m not the only person who’s been seduced. Consumers, ad agencies, client companies and mobile networks have all been promised much by mobile marketing.
Yet more than a decade later that kind of sophistication seems to be lacking from most mobile marketing messages.
As a result, I was looking forward to last week’s Hanging on the Telephone event. It promised a look at the challenges and pitfalls of mobile marketing… and a glimpse of the future, too.
Helen Keegan chaired the session with contributions from Rube Huljev of Infobip, Amanda Singleton from Qustodian, Stephen Jenkins of Millennial Media and Strategy & Innovation Consultant James Cooper.
Stephen pointed out that consumer engagement should be the main focus of mobile advertising. “Mobile needs to cut through everything,” he explained. “The banner is just the gateway to the content experience. Rich media allows you to do much more using the native characteristics of the device”.
Rube also emphasised the importance of targeting. “It’s not a shotgun approach with mobile, it’s definitely a sniper. The best thing you can get from mobile is knowing your user personally.”
James described the current mobile marketing environment as being a “sort-of Cambrian period where there’s a huge amount of innovation going on. Loads of new species emerging. We’re tracking over 200 different mobile ad platforms - and that’s just the ones we can find.”
Questions from the audience (and answers from the panel) covered a diverse range of topics including consumers who weren’t tech-savvy, future platforms for mobile marketing, the role of mobile payments, agency ad buying and the death of the mobile banner.
Finally, each panel member was finally asked what single step they’d recommend a client took to get started on their mobile journey:
Rube: “know thy customer”
Amanda: “personalise the messaging as much as possible”
Stephen: “build a mobile web site”
James: “devote people as mobile specialists”
Yes, mobile marketing has promised a great deal - and it certainly has the potential to deliver. Yet it’s clear from the discussion that the focus needs to be on more than just technological innovation.
As Amanda emphasised, the basics of traditional marketing are still as important as ever. The best-performing Qustodian campaign was successful because of its timing and content. “It was contextually relevant, it was interesting, it was really funny. Generally, if you make stuff funny, interesting and useful, people will engage with it.”