For the third year in a row, the Mobile Marketing Association Asia Pacific has hosted the Mobile Marketing Association Forum (MMAF) in Singapore. This year’s Forum ran from 3-5 May 2011, and included a day of pre-conference workshops and two full days of Forum sessions. Keynotes, case studies and best practices were delivered by global giants such as Google, The Coca-Cola Company, Nokia, Ericsson, Microsoft Advertising and more.
The MMAF brings together mobile marketing and advertising advocates and practitioners from all parts of the ecosystem. This year’s Forum hosted delegates from all over Asia, and some from even further afield. There was a good mix of expertise from operators, advertisers, brands, agencies, technology providers, and more, and many different levels of experience, from people who had been in the industry for years to fresh faces with new ideas. It was a busy few days but it was deeply satisfying to see all these people, familiar and unfamiliar, getting together to talk about the mobile marketing industry.
The theme for this year’s MMAF was the consumer, and the change in subject matter was evolutionary. The industry has definitely developed, and grown. Technology is no longer the centerpiece of the conversation – people are more familiar than ever with mobile technology, and more comfortable with what it can do. Instead, the discussion was much more mature, about using creativity to engage with the consumer, to capture their imaginations, to make an emotional connection.
We also talked about working with consumers: the success of permission-based marketing indicates that when consumers are given the choice, advertising and other promotional material becomes valuable, and is treated as such. Consumers are more than willing to exchange some personal information in order to receive information that they want (say, about their favourite artists) and receive personalized offers and discounts and electronic coupons. Of course, privacy as an issue looms over the mobile space as a whole, but giving consumers the chance to decide what information to share protects them and respects their privacy, too.
It would take far too long to go through all the many, many interesting and informative sessions of the Forum. Instead, here are some of my key takeaways, the big lessons that I learned from watching some of the best and brightest minds in the mobile advertising and marketing industry talk about what they do best:
1. No one has a single, sure-fire answer to build an industry. There is no silver bullet. It's about collaboration.
a. Exploring potential future directions, seeking and committing helps grow the industry.
2. Mobile as an engagement tool cuts across digital and traditional marketing.
3. Success with mobile is dependent on the ability to build personal relationships with the consumer by establishing emotional connections.
a. Consumers are not subscribers, or profiles, or devices. Let’s get personal.
4. Mobile can be used to achieve all brand goals, from consumer interest to purchase and long-term loyalty.
5. Permission-based marketing with the consumers’ interest at heart is the way forward for the industry.