6 Jun 2013

10 great insights from our 3 June Mobile Marketing: Truth, Misconception and Wishful Thinking

On a glorious early Summer evening, we gathered to discuss Mobile Marketing with our lovely event partners Infobip and

- Alex Meisl - @meislonmobile - Co-Founder, Sponge who chaired the event
- Ben Scott Robinson - @bcsr - Creative Director, Sapient Nitro
- Rube Huljev- @more_mati - Global Executive, Infobip
- Ilicco Elia - @ilicco - Head of Mobile, LBi
- Douglas McDonald - @DMcDonald01- Independant Mobile Marketing Consultant

Before we get to our guest post, a BIG THANKS to Alex for chairing, to all the panellists, to our volunteers and to the enigmatic Tom Evans @tomato_Evans, (who is currently attending our The Mobile Academy programme co-hosted with UCL) for writing this post.

Alex & Rube
There was a good balance of opinions and good chemistry amongst the panel of experts lead by Alex Miesl, who marshalled the discussion to a room full to the brim with professionals either from mobile, or with a vested interest in it, there was no shortage of questions. Among the group there was a good mix of creative and business minds from the agency world, some brands such as Selfridges and Carphone Warehouse and a mix of those from Mobile Operators, analysts and investors.

The proceedings format gave generous focus to the panel responding to audience questions with detailed debate, that blended both fact and opinion in good measure.

I'd like to highlight ten topics covered, that on reflection were important, current and relevant:

1. 12% of consumer marketing spend is now on mobile, it's grown as a channel 20% a year for the last 3 years.  When this is measured against the amount of consumer attention directed at mobile, it is not even close to being proportionate and therefore represents a brilliant medium for great work to cut through and leverage ROI for brands communications, and what's more there's no channel more measurable than mobile for this purpose despite abundant opinion to the contrary.

Ben, Ili & Douglas
2. Not everyone in the industry agrees on what is classified as mobile, but it  basically includes anything not chained to a desk. However it's a mistake to think that 'mobile' is a relevant word to agencies any more. Thinking of it as a category in itself is dead: people interact within their device ecosystems interchangeably, so agencies must have strategies that incorporate mobile as oppose to 'mobile' strategies.

3. Agencies are focused on doing whatever will get them the most recognition, and that all too often means doing something unexpected with a brand new technology rather than asking themselves what the consumer actually wants. The most important questions are: how does the consumer use, interact with and buy your stuff. Also people don't consider what's working, they consider what competitors have done.

4.Often the metrics are misunderstood and consequently the medium undervalued: mobile can be a catalyst to drive the consumer to the point of sale but it is not recorded as a sale because the purchase is made in store.

5. People in the industry overlook the potential power that mobile can offer, as it collects highly personalised data and they don't do anything with it, when in fact it should be being used to deliver a more individual, bespoke and intimate customer service experience in the retail environment, an experience that could in fact be the only thing that saves the High St, as we know it, from redundancy.

Ili getting heated with an audience question!
6. Mobile companies have not been especially adept in the marketing space, to counterbalance which they have now pooled their resources into a UK initiative called Weve http://www.weve.co.uk/- a mobile marketing consortium that's the first experiment of its kind. It will be interesting to see how they cooperate as they each have their own agenda.

7. During the Christmas shopping period last year, 17% of sales were lost in the UKand 34% in the US by people walking into the store, seeing an item and then going online with their mobile and finding the best deal to order that product, rather than waiting for the checkout and carrying their purchase home. For this reason mobile accounts for 20% of all online sales now and if retailers 'got' mobile they could mitigate against these losses. To quote:"Brands and retailers are in the middle of a storm as the immediacy of mobile means the consumer is one step ahead."

8. In order to persuade brands to use mobile, agencies have to have the courage of their convictions to change their pricing structure to a CPA rather than CPM model and take a hit if the campaign doesn't work out; a phenomenon that is starting to be explored.

9. To be able to provide a personalised service that their clients can use with consumers, mobile operators are faced with the challenge of getting the user to give continual consent to all of their data. Research has shown that people are generally willing to do this if their is an incentive such as a discount for opting in.

Plenty of audience engagement!
10. Brands are currently not using mobile payments systems to their full effect, but they are now starting to take it quite seriously. The UK is apparently one of the best countries in the world to simplify mobile payments, and simple things normally work.

It was commented on afterwards, that the discussion did gravitate towards the topic of marketing for brands rather than how start ups with a mobile product might leverage mobile to generate traction for example, and that is a fair point. We were nonetheless left with the certainty that mobile is the growth marketing channel of our time. To end with a quote of IIi Elia: "We want the future to get here much quicker so that the actual future is much better."

Some blog posts from the MoMoLo community:
From Adam Cohen-Rose

Thanks also to the audience for taking great photos! Look forward to seeing you on 24th June for our next event.