Getting the Most Out of Mobile Advertising

Brands need to build relationships with consumers via technology.

By and + More
Android and iOS developers are among the fastest-growing jobs out there.
Android and iOS developers are among the fastest-growing jobs out there.

Brand Innovators held its Mobile Summit in the I Heart Radio Theater in New York on Nov 18. Companies including Clear Channel CommunicationsIntercontinental HotelsFrito Lay and Gilt Groupe convened to discuss their perspectives on mobile strategy. Topics included video advertising, social media and location-based marketing.

Forbes Top 15 Social Media Power Influencer 2013 Ted Rubin said, "What makes mobile so incredibly important going forward is the way it unites everyone, every minute of the day, in real-time, and is so easily connected to social channels. Mobile is the ultimate enabler of real-time marketing, and good real-time marketing doesn't feel like marketing, but feels like a favor enhancing the relationship."

Bestselling author and CEO of the Future Mobile InstituteChuck Martin, gave the first keynote speech of the morning. He discussed his "Creepy versus Cool Scale," highlighting Near Field Communication, GeoFencing (defining geographical boundaries) and Point of Sales marketing techniques used by brands. He reminded the audience that media success doesn't have to be overly invasive. Avoid marketing tactics that raise the hair on the back of people's necks, because no one wants to feel that they are being spied on. Nonetheless, Martin suggests that instant gratification through additional bonuses or discounts are good for persuading point of sales shoppers to make purchases. His "The Rise of the Mobile Consumer" talk also covered increasing QR Code usage.

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The second session of the morning focused on leveraging the growing use of mobile phones internationally. The Global Goldrush panel featured Lisa West from Intercontinental Hotel Group, Jason John from Gilt Groupe, Kevin Kanty from Kargo and Harrison Sebring from Mondelez International. Even with the great successes of Oreo's "Dunk in the Dark" campaign and Trident's "Paid in Layers" Vine clips, West acknowledged that "measurement remains the major pain point."

Mobile advertising is still viewed as new and very few companies have determined the right way to collect metrics and interpret the data. Even the largest brands are taking a leap of faith for now. Mobile advertising is evolving rapidly, though, and expertise is starting to form. We see the same trajectory with social media.  

Director of Innovation and Emerging Technology at Mondelēz International Ed Kaczmarek explained how his company is helping fuel the mobile momentum through its Mobile Futures program. Nine innovative start-ups were selected to team up with established power brands to shape the future of mobile and transform consumer engagement. For example, Shelby partnered with Chips Ahoy while Kiip paired off with Sour Patch Kids. OREO and Banjo took to the streets with location-based promotional campaigns, and Stride gum launched creative methods using the Waze app to attract buyers while stuck in traffic.

Co-founder of MTV and Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman is also interested in grabbing the attention of people in cars. During his Fireside Chat, Pittman discussed his company's internet radio platform: I Heart Radio. 30 percent of his listeners are out of market. That is, "They want to live in New York and hear [its] local weather and traffic," even if it's only vicariously. His tactic for gauging demand: "I don't watch technology, I watch the consumer."

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Later, the Connected Car panel continued the discussion on what commuters want. Executive Director of Marketing Management at AT&T Mobility Robert Hyatt Jr. expects that audio will return to the forefront in the form of voice commands and driving directions. Content consumption in automotives will change over the next 10 years.

Mobile is big business.

The "App-reciation" panel reiterated how much consumers love apps – to the tune of 102 billion downloads this year. Brands aim to strengthen their connections with consumers through such software since 70 percent of searches on mobile devices usually result in a same day sales within the hour, explained Fiks Senior VP of Sales Spencer Scott.

Consumers visit websites twice as much on mobile as they do on desktops; and approximately 50 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices. Scott emphasized that there is a lot of money in promoting mobile apps.

Rubin added, "Getting real-time marketing right drives engagement and builds relationships … both of which drive loyalty, and loyalty correlates directly to increased sales."

[See a collection of political cartoons on gas prices.]

The summit concluded with a panel on "Positioning your Brand with Millennials" since this young but influential demographic holds the power to shape markets. As the most connected generation ever, it's important to note that 46 percent of their age group, 18-34 year olds, consider their "most important" screen to be the phone. The biggest take-away for marketing to this audience: Be authentic.

As Lisa wrote in, "You Can No Longer Fake It Until You Make It," generic marketing is to be avoided. Your company's success does not rest solely on marketing channels by itself, but how it responds to the functional and emotional needs of its audience. Today, the internet allows consumers to be better armed than marketers.

To sell, marketers must authentically listen and build relationships. As a panelist pointed out, "You are never more clever than them."

Lisa Chau is the founder of Alpha Vert, a private consultancy focused on social media and cross–platform marketing. Previously, she spent five years working for her alma mater Dartmouth College, as assistant director of alumni affairs and assistant director of PR for the Tuck School of Business. She has also taught at MIT, and guest lectured MBA and undergraduate courses in e-business strategy at Baruch College and The New School.

Kevin Davis is a startup co-founder currently leading a small team of copyright evangelists at Rawporter, a social media platform that helps people protect and license the photos and videos they post to Facebook and Twitter.

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