Triveni Rajagopal
Jun 8, 2016

Three gym routines for a leaner, sharper, agile mobile strategy

Endurance training, high-intensity interval training and functional training: These are fitness routines that might (or might not) also be sources of inspiration for mobile marketing, writes Triveni Rajagopal.

Triveni Rajagopal
Triveni Rajagopal

Full disclosure: this is a shameless plug for my trainer Mike, and the world of good he has done for my physical endurance and mental well-being. Go dynamike!

With that out of the way, here’s a coalescing of thoughts I’ve had while desperately distracting myself from the searing pain of swinging battle-ropes. Under duress, the mind thinks even simple juxtapositions are bright ideas. But it’s worth entertaining the parallels between how we train our bodies and how we could train our mobile strategies to get fitter by the day. Here are three gym regimes.

Endurance training: Great for the gym, not for mobile

Hoop Hops and Suicide drills are fantastic for building speed and endurance. They train you to pace yourself and ignore the voice in your head that’s asking how many hoops remain, and why the last one feels like a mile away.

When it comes to mobile behavior though, it’s a piercing voice that complains about how it takes far too many clicks before we get to what we really want, far too long for a page to load—or a video to get to the point, and far too many fields to be entered in a form.

Globally we’re spending up to 3.2 hours a day on our mobiles, but we want short, no-sweat experiences for every second that makes up those hours. Google’s view of our long and complex lives as a series of 'micro moments' is a great SEO/SEM story. But it's also exactly how we live today. Visa’s Checkout proposition is built on eliminating the torture of filling in online forms. Facebook developed Canvas and Lead Ads to deliver the elegance of faster, less effortful user experiences to mobile.

But all this is old hat. For when the AI bots come to play, we won’t be hopping through digital hoops. Entire campaigns will run within a single messaging app…or an OS’ voice-recognising concierge service. It is time for brands to rethink the tradition of building discrete reach, engagement and fulfillment platforms, so we don't send our consumers on literal suicide runs.

HIIT (high-intensity interval training): Rinse and repeat

HIIT burns fat by shocking your heart into pumping faster. Ultra-intense, short bursts of physical exertion, with many repetitions, is what makes a HIIT routine. Studies show that a few of minutes of HIIT a week, can do more for weight loss than hours of extended cardio exercise.

To burn through the fat of online content clutter, how about a few sessions of high intensity content? HIC!

To best match an emerging lean-back use of mobile, an ‘always-on’ content calendar should now look like this: visually visceral and arresting, most often (but not always) short, and frequently repeated assets (yes, re-use to build salience!).

Buzzfeed Tasty and Tastemade’s food videos have come to haunt our social feeds, as they are perfect specimens of ‘HIC’: they capture the imagination with mouth-watering dish shots, educate in under a minute, and have a pipeline of content to reiterate and remind.

Functional training. Boy, you gotta carry that weight, carry that weight, a long time…

In functional training, one’s own bodyweight is carried in different ways to mimic the functions of daily life (had we not been sitting at our desks all day). Push-ups strengthen arms, squats tighten legs, and pull-ups prove that pain is truly weakness leaving the body—while strengthening the back in the bargain. All this, without the use of fancy gym equipment.

Similarly, every asset possesses its own ‘weight’ and presents an opportunity to be repurposed in multiple ways and syndicated across platforms. This unlocks capacity and builds salience.

Predictably, Facebook recognized this (and the value of competing with TV), to create ad formats like Video, GIF and Carousel, where a single TV asset can have multiple avatars that add to brand metrics. Established publishing houses like CNN and WSJ are joining digital publishers like Vice to repurpose long-form, horizontal content into bite-sized, vertical ‘stories’ to attract Snapchat-ers.

Finally, one for the road: Measuring fitness

What is the success measure of these routines? Weight, hip-to-thigh ratio, glycemic index—or just that your jeans work their way up easier than they ever did? You've heard it before, but it’s all down to why you’re training at all. An objective to lose weight may look at one measure, while a cardio-health objective can call upon an entirely different set.

That digital KPIs should be set by objective is common sense. That we ignore the distractions (impressions, social engagements) and focus only on what’s fit for purpose (viewability), is crucial.

My fitness KPI? To do long hiking trails with my family without breaking a sweat. Tough in sunny Singapore!

Triveni Rajagopal is digital transformation deployment lead for North Asia and SEAA at Unilever. The opinions expressed here are her own.

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