Over two decades ago, Nokia introduced the first mobile phone, capable of sending and receiving text messages. Since then, technology within the mobile industry has advanced rapidly, accelerating most communication processes around us. It has changed the way we lead our lives, how business is conducted and how knowledge is imparted.
But for marketers, mobile has helped breathe new life into how we segment and target our audiences, allowing us to do so more accurately, and in more relevant ways. In-built device capabilities have also allowed us to deliver innovative and immersive branded experiences for consumers.
Some of the most successful campaigns we have seen in recent years have been built around mobile. More and more, companies are seeing that to cut through in a cluttered global marketplace, there is a need to be as close to the customer as possible. Even simple things like optimising a company website for mobile can have a big impact on the overall out take for a brand.
This has resulted in a significant increase in mobile marketing and advertising spend in recent years. Mobile is so ubiquitous now that it is evident that brands are at a disadvantage if they do not invest in mobile.
However, the pace and breadth at which the mobile industry is changing is proving to be terribly hard to predict. Recent reports have shown that mobile video is fast gaining momentum as a marketing tool. How well are marketers equipped to address this trend and in fact, identify the next one before it is too late?
At the recently-held Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona for example, there was much talk about developing a 5G network. This, while many wireless carriers are still completing the rollout their 4G LTE network; some still in the process of stabilising their 3G networks. How are we keeping up?
Another example is programmatic, which marks the next stage in media investment on mobile. But how well is it really understood in this region?
With things in a constant state of flux, it is essential for us to make a conscientious effort to acquire relevant skills and knowledge that will enable us to respond to change and achieve mobile maturity. Knowing the A-B-Cs of this new language will no longer suffice. It is time to get our hands dirty and digest the entire alphabet – right down to the X-Y-Zs.
After all, we can’t be playing catch-up all the time.
A greater emphasis on education and talent development is required to maintain strong growth rates and to tap mobile’s full potential. This is in addition to a push for greater insight, increased investment and ground-breaking innovation.
It is not uncommon to find social and mobile incorporated into all 360-degree marketing campaigns today. Yet, most of them are carried out with only a mixed understanding of the mobile landscape. Mobile is a sophisticated communication channel, but as a relatively new medium, requires a particular set of formal training of its own. At the moment, companies lack credible resources to develop such skillsets and create mobile strategies that are sustainable. This is something that needs to change.
There is a shortage of talent and expertise capable of running mobile campaigns strategically and brands and agencies are feeling the pinch. Marketers need to allocate time and resources to identify talent and facilitate mobile learning through the entire breadth of the organization. This is the only way to build strong and comprehensive mobile capabilities allowing the organization to utilize mobile as a driver of innovation in their interactions with consumers.
At the end of the day, mobile is a complicated beast. While it presents huge opportunities, mastering marketing on mobile is a challenge. Mobile user behaviour is constantly changing, technology is being updated, and issues like privacy and brand safety are cropping up, adding a further layer of complexity. This is a phenomenon that marketers have to deal with on a day-to-day basis and the only way to rectify the problem is to gain a deeper understanding of mobile marketing metrics which includes programmatic, mobile video, multi screening, data analytics, location targeting and other industry issues.
For the industry to really see the impact of mobile on their operations, they need to focus on three I’s – Investment, Innovation, and Integration. Instead of looking at mobile in isolation, as a marketing channel with a certain set of capabilities, we need to leverage its unique features to innovate and push our creative limits. As we devote more attention to mobile, education and training will go a long way in ensuring that mobile plays its true role in the advertising mix.