Mobile marketing - the promise of creativity and technology
19 June 2012
There is no denying that mobile is now weaved seamlessly into our everyday lives. Mobile phones wake us up in the morning. They can tell us where to get that morning caffeine fix, buy our breakfast sandwich and lets us know how many calories are in it. Mobiles connect us to other people, record our movements and collect our memories. The mobile future is already here - and looking very much like it is at the centre of how people do things and will keep doing them in the future. What is interesting is to examine how brands will harness mobile, today and into the future.
Technology must be met with creativity. Mobile technology enables new ways of expressing our existing brand ideas and, conversely, the technology enables us to explore new approaches. Marketers must make content exciting for users to actively engage with the content and importantly, want to re-visit time and time again. By satisfying and engaging with customers brands have more opportunity than ever before to generate loyal and lasting relationships. Clever brands will recognise this and use mobile marketing to form relationships, rather than produce forced sales messages.
Although this presents an exciting opportunity, it comes with a big problem. People find mobile advertising annoying. A recent YouGov report highlighted that almost two-thirds of Brits said mobile phones were the most unacceptable device on which to receive unwanted advertising. There is a real danger that we might start to do things because we can, rather than because we should.
Many advertisers still adapt their content to fit a mobile screen, rather than thinking about the different mulit-platform designs required. This a major issue, because a truly integrated approach means finding better ways to engage people, utilising the individual benefits of each device in order to get people to actively engage with brands; which can only be achieved with a smooth user experience.
Many brands are beginning to understand this human aspect of mobile. A recent study by Millward Brown revealed that the fastest growth in depth of customer relationships and financial value between 2000 and 2010 was the strong use of technology in order to be more ideal-driven as a business. PepsiCo has embraced this idea, issuing a statement describing how the brand was using technology "as a vehicle not only to communicate with our consumers, but become directly tethered to their everyday lives in ways that make them smarter, stronger, healthier and more informed citizens". The second part of that sentence is crucial - not just being in people's lives, but being useful in them. Contributing, rather than merely coexisting.
To drive business value, we need to ensure there is a strong relationship between the technology and the culture – shifting potential of human interaction with it. Knowledge of brands and motivating ideas must be applied to bring technology to life. There needs to be a shift from the technological to the evocative - witness the recent partnership between the mobile-only social network Path and Nike+, enabling your friends to virtually cheer you on your run.
Mobile technology is now embedded at the centre of human behaviour and so presents powerful opportunities. But brands must tread carefully because with this centrality comes annoyance at interruption. It’s about being useful, interesting and entertaining rather than spammy. We must consider switching our thinking to mobile first, focusing the creative to meet the technology rather than squashing uncomfortably against it.
Mobile is finally living up to its promise, and it's powered by the convergence of creativity and technology.
James Devon, Planning Director, MBA