In the wake of the Google Acquisition announcement of AdMob for $750M last week, the Global Mobile Marketing Forum held in LA on November 17th exhibited a lot of excitement about the future of mobile for 2010. Every year has been the running debate over when is the “Year of Mobile”, and 2009 was clearly the transition for mobile marketing. Mobile marketing has been up 40% this year and from the words of the chair in the kick-off of the day, Michael Weirs, CEO of the Mobile Marking Association stated that, “The third largest acquisition by Google of AdMob, gives us a lot of confidence and validation that mobile advertising and marketing is about to explode, and we are excited about all that has happened over the course of 2009. Now we are seeing Mobile as a budget line item. For instance, Volkswagon is doing things exclusively with iPhone Apps independent of other media channels”. We had many of our Pacific North West colleagues here, including Microsoft that made an announcement of joining the Mobile Marketing Association’s new Premium Membership category as the spearhead partner to support much of the policy discussions facing the industry today, and our friends at MyThumb won an award in the North America Multi-Mobile Channel to validate that Canada is also part of the Global leadership in the creative marketing of mobile. Michael Carter, CEO, MyThum in his acceptance speech stated, “This one for you Canada!”.
The event was filled with many great presentations and new nuggets of information about the industry with a sit down Awards Ceremony Dinner in the evening. Many of the Global Mobile Marketing firms flew in for the event from China, South Africa and as far as Brazil. It was showcase of the best in class mobile marketing companies and campaigns to date. Here is link for the winners of the Global Advertising and Marketing Awards ceremony in the evening. Mobile Advertising Awards Winners.
I had the opportunity to judge the competition and some of the campaigns that were real “eye-openers” from my perspective in terms of real ROI and creative excellance were from agencies such as Mobile Dreams Factory’s Mini Mobile Dealer, Gap Style Mixer from AKQA, Pizza Hut iPhone App from Pizza Hut, Trident Fresh from F.biz and MyThum’s Rogers/Live Nation live ticketing solution.
Some of the highlights and comments from the day are as follows:
Tom Daly, Group Manager, Strategy and Planning, Coca-Cola Company, presented what it takes for mobile agencies to work with Coca-Cola. It is not easy to get into Coca-Cola, but “We are working with over 400 brands in 200 countries with a minimum of $8K per brand per country, and it is growing and we are looking for new partners”. We have three core things we look for in mobile agencies. 1) Your Talent & Environment 2) Your thought leadership and 3) Your account management process. “We look for best in class to take Coca-Cola to the world leaders in creative mobile marketing and transparency is key”
Matt Crowley, CMO, AT&T Interactive presented the future of local and search as the real driver for mobile advertising. He said that when you think about mobile, and if look at it as a function of mobile advertising, search must be a key driver. “Today the total of Mobile ad spend is about 70% Display and SMS compared to 30% search, but this will change to 25% Display and SMS, with 70% Search in 2013” , said Matt. “With most of it as local search, of the 79M AT&T subs and 22M on Medianet (AT&T’s mobile portal) there is over 22% access of Medianet daily.” He elaborated that their focus is on the actual precision consumer targeting at a local level with integrated marketing solutions- linking SMS to banners. “We have seen over 250% YOY mobile search network growth and our goal is to pre-load the YP mobile app with local search on every device”, stated Matt
Louis Gump, VP of Mobile, CNN ( A celebrity in the mobile marketing community as a past Chair of the MMA board and a long-timer in the industry) discussed the future of news on mobile. He asked the audience how many look at news on their mobile before they get out of bed in the morning and the crowd showed about 30%. He elaborated to say that mobile news is something that has been exciting for Turner to really build a mobile strategy. CNN has a Freemium model with the mobile website free and agreed on the paid CNN app. They debated the pricing for this, but decided on the $1.99 price as a way to keep mobile moving forward as a profit center to propel initiatives across all the mobile strategies of CNN. For CNN mobile products they do not think of iPhones only, but have very holistic strategy of butfour major platforms
1) Mobile website, with 11~12M users per month and free and ad supported,
2) Text messaging- breaking news alerts,
3) Video- on-demand and streaming, clips much more widely.
4) Apps and a Sept 27th release that has changed the way news is consumed on the iPhone.
5) Their mobile news strategy follows the following usage cases.
- iReport ( citizen journalism) with users getting a my CNN section on the phone. The iReport product with the reporting has become a trusted source, and 1-button for the ability to quickly upload and mix together….
“We wanted a dual revenue stream, and at $1.99, yes, there was debate over prices from $0.99~9.99, but we chose that price as we doing this for marketing. We want mobile as a sustainable business platform. We should not loose-money and for news gathering organizations, “ he stated, “ We need not only the oneway free route, but a way to think of sustainability of 3,5 and10 years down the road.” “ Of all the users that access news both from Online and Mobile, 34% only access it only from mobile. This serves as unduplicated reach for home consumptions. Over 1/3 were not going to anybody on any other platform mobile is now the channel for CNN to reach a different demographic of people” said Louis
Charles Johnson, Head of Mobile Advertising for Microsoft lead an engaging panel on the future of mobile advertising. Ken Wilner, CEO, Zumobi and a native of Seattle stated that that key to mobile is “engagement”. Yes, acquisition is important, but once you obtain a consumer, the on-going engagement is second to none as mobile is with the consumer all the time, everywhere. Frank Babieri, CEO, Transpera stated, “ That of the users that access online video that also access mobile video, more then 62% of the time they will access it from mobile. This is a defining point for mobile and the industry”. Charles concluded that all of us usually replace our phones every 12~18months and we will most likely get a smart or super phone. 2010 will be the year of mass-device transition, that will accellorate our industry even further.
Bruce Withers, Head of Mobile, Wells Fargo, shared a vision around mobile banking. Wells Fargo has been nominated as one of the top mobile banking solutions in North America and mentioned that this is a core to their strategy to reach young customers ( Gen Y and Millennials) that are mobile professionals that need banking services on the go. Wells Fargo, as well, have a multi-approach strategy for mobile. From Text messaging alerts were the user averages about 19 requests per month, to the mobile website and iPhone application that both get about 6 sessions per month. They are continuing to grow very nicely. They have added unique features in their iPhone App such as ATM finder and direct links to wellsfargo.com. He stated that is it important for a mobile web strategy to find partners that are compliant with the W3C and described the process of how they won the ABI Research Award in mobile banking by scoring tops in all of the categories of 1)Reach, 2)Breadth of services, 3)Security and 4)Discoverability. Of the twenty-nine banks entered they were at the top. He stated that consumer behavior is really changing and mobile is the a key strategy now for them as a financial institution.
Given the large changes in the industry, Peter Johnson, VP Research, Mobile Marketing Association, took the stage to describe the latest from the Research and Metrics Committee. They have been having quite an open dialog with the Agency community and in a recent survey they found a highlight of the research that successful mobile marketers that leveraged coupons and loyality programs found this to be the most successful of all the mobile marketing approaches. Even today the average media spend for agencies on mobile is still only 1.8% of the total spend. However, those that have found mobile marketing successful have been moving the budgets already to the 2~3% amount of thier overall spend. He stated that in 2009 there was a total of about $1.7B on mobile marketing. However, this would have been $2.5B if the successful were the norm, so there is more best practices, education and a wider sharing of knowledge still required. The MMA is working toward more sharing of the knowledge worldwide and making sure best practices are better evangelized.
Mike Carter, CEO, MyThum and Tiffany Gerhard, Sr. Manager, Marketing- Emerging Capabilities, BestBuy had a great session on the success of cross-media marketing for a retail brand. For me it was one of the highlights of the day given the fact Best Buy only two years ago was doing just about nothing in mobileand now through partnerships have a very holistic cross-company strategy. They now have a strategy that includes mobile as part of the media-mix, marketing budget and core strategy to the CRM strategy. “ We wanted to find the core strategy of mobile for the Best Buy brand and for us it is in the area of CRM and mobile commerce ”. stated Tiffany. “ We have found the usage case quite good for us when many of our customers come into the store that find when a product is out of stock, they can just go to thier Best Buy application and click-to-buy in one action and then have the product delivered right to their home”. She said. For them building a relationship as part of their CRM strategy proved to be quite useful in the final sale as well as guiding all kinds of useful information that can support consumers in the buying process. Mobile has become a priority for them and they mentioned that “ everyday now is a learning process for us to get better with mobile”. For Best Buy they have these objectives for thier mobile strategy.
- Bridge physical and digital
- Support local growth efforts
- Increase customer satisfaction & loyality
- Create ongoing customer conversations. Trigger to aquire and go forward basis, based on one-off projects, to a continued and to build that base
They said that even though MyThum was key for them to build up the mobile solution for Best Buy, there is a lot of in-house integration at this time and that the partnership will continue in a very unique manner. Getting experts to support in the process has really made it efficient and easy for us to enter mobile successfully
To finalize, here are some other quick discussions and quotes through-out the day.
- Zaw Thet, CEO, 4Info discussed the need for an industry wide initiative for the mobile cookie. Today the next best thing is the users telephone number or UID on the iPhone. By using this we can recognise and build cross-media campaigns for targeting users from platform to platform.
- Chetan Sharma, Chetan Sharma Consulting, stated that we are finally seeing the growth of the networks and now mobile has surpassed the data card.
- Michael Shim, Head of Mobile Sales, Yahoo!, described that Yahoo’s growth of 54.8% still is greater then the average for the industry of 45.4% with the mobile internet. They are doing all kinds of unique ad solutions for the App as well as working on many cross-media campaigns with clients such as Subway that links the web to mobile
- Maria Mandel, Senior Partner, Executive Director Digital Innovation, Ogilvy and North American Board Chair, Mobile Marketing Association, described again that Mobile is the highest, always on, personalized device, simple text messaging and simple text messaging. There is a tactic for any objective. It is not about the tactic, how they use the mobile device and the best way for that user….Reaching that consumer at the right time with the right message.
So in conclusion, was “2009 the year of Mobile”? The day provided a lot of discussion and debate, but the general consensus was that we are not there yet and that 2010 would really be the year of mobile. With budgets coming back, mobile starting to be line items, and with the acceleration of replacement of phones with smartphones in 2010, the year of mobile is 2010. The market in 2010 will clearly be a place of reach and scale for proper turn-key media strategies and mobile.