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Mobile is not just a channel, it is a lifestyle

Mobile marketing is one of the hottest topics of interest for most marketers today. Many marketers already engage in different forms of utilising mobile as a platform to connect with their consumers and those who are not doing so already, are asking for similar solutions from their agency partners. Irrespective of the level of sophistication that a brand has in its mobile strategy, one question playing on everyone’s mind is whether their mobile game plan is effective? And for now, the answer is either individual experience driven or ‘jury is out’.

When a marketing plan misses out on including mobile, it has let go of creating one more opportunity to interact with the brand’s audience, or so is the view of the subject experts at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. For them, missing mobile is already a punishable offence.

“Any engagement is an opportunity and every opportunity can be a gateway of purchase. Mobile has pure synchrony around the purchase model. There is very little that it doesn’t do, which is why every moment is mobile,” asserted Sheryl Daija, Chief Strategy Officer, Mobile Marketing Association. In fact the challenge that emerges at times for the marketers is to not overdo their play on the platform.

The expectation from mobile, and specifically in terms of the growth of smartphones and tablets, is significant. The numbers seen so far, and what lies ahead, has forced many to take serious note of the role mobile will play in a consumer’s life, not only in terms of the ability to address a consumer, given his or her geographical location, but also where they are in the map of the mind.

Frank Voris, CEO, VivaKi raised an important point here, and said, “It is about mobility and not about mobile. It is important to know where the consumer wants to be spoken to and when they need it, so the message is relevant and engaging. The ‘when’ and ‘where’ is crucial in the mobility spectrum.”

“The ‘who’ component is also important,” added Brent Poer, President, LiquidThread, and said, “Who a brand is reaching out to and what story it is trying to tell is very important because mobile is a consumer’s closest device and to know the conversation and the value exchange is vital. You have to be able to map the passion points.”

And for creating such an exchange, experts speak about the availability of necessary tools that a new medium often brings with it but at times can look insufficient. Debora Koyama, AVP Marketing, of L’Oreal however is amongst those who believe that the tools are there and that advertisers know consumer behaviour as well, but the challenge is to leverage that behaviour in an empirical way. “I believe CRM (customer relationship management) can be utilised more. We like to surprise the consumer in different phases and when we talk about storytelling, we are able to take the traditional storytelling format and add dimensions to it, add participation to it but closing the loop is important.”

Which is where, data comes in play. “Data is the new black,” stated Poer, and added, “With data you are able to reiterate the content, think about your messaging and refine the space. You can find your place with the technology and how it works across screens.”

Daija pointed out over here that there are marketers that are experimenting and engaging with mobile, and in the process creating and learning from data and experiences of their own consumers. “This is giving them a whole new world of data and a wealth of knowledge. Mobile is not just a platform,” she advised.

In a background such as this, the likes of Daija believe that mobile-first campaigns or integrated mobile campaign are important for various reasons.

“We don’t view mobile as a channel but a lifestyle so you have to hone in relevant messaging and engagement. What we find is that we are living in a world of empowered marketing for an empowered age, and you will begin to experience more utilities and services as we expand marketing,” added Voris.

Daija summed it up aptly, when she said, “Mobile is a powerful standalone medium and a connective tissue to all other media. It empowers other media in a way that we have not been seen from any other media so far and perhaps in a way that not many understand yet but would have to understand very soon.”

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