Brands must get personal or lose out!

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Hesham Al-Jehani, Senior Product Manager, ExactTarget

In a recently published ExactTarget report on Mobile Behaviour it was discovered that over 85% of phone users considered the mobile phone as central to their daily lives. For many of us this comes as little surprise as the small screen has become the fixation of our eyeballs over most other things including, and sad though it may seem, our loved ones. Numerous measures back the notion of mobile’s ascendance as the hub of our personal and digital lives – our online experience is fast shifting to a mobile first and for many a mobile exclusive phenomenon.

The relentless growth in smartphone adoption has ramifications for brands and marketeers who don’t properly adapt their multi channel strategy as it would seem we are reaching an inflexion point that is positively changing attitudes towards mobile. Some may read this with a hint of cautious optimism but there is no doubt that the debate has noticeably shifted from ‘if’ to ‘how’ to use mobile as an effective marketing and communication channel. Brands and businesses that do not adopt a mobile strategy will lose out in the long term and those that want to exploit the mobile opportunity need to fully grasp the unique characteristics that makes this channel exciting, cool, fun and above all personal.

The mobile phone is unlike any other digital device. It is one of the most personal artifacts carried around together with house keys, wallets and purses. So when you engage through mobile remember you’ve probably received express permission to do so and it should be the start of an intimate and fruitful relationship. Like any relationship in life it takes two to tango and the closer you are to someone the more you know about his or her likes and dislikes, habits, idiosyncrasies, secrets and desires. You can even predict how they will behave or react in certain situations. And this closeness assumes a high degree of trust and subsequent loyalty, which should be nurtured and strengthened. Abuse that trust at your peril – engaging through mobile is not a licence to spam nor send irrelevant content.

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Location based services – why operators hold all the cards

Donald Stuart, CEO of Brainstorm

Donald Stuart, CEO, Brainstorm

LBS – what’s the hype?

The area of Location based services (LBS) has been getting a lot of attention of late, and it’s no wonder, Juniper Research has highlighted that the Mobile Context and Location Services market is expected to generate revenue of $43.4 billion by 2019, up from $12.2bn in 2014. With this in mind it is clear why businesses within the OTT, telecoms and media space are vying to get their piece of this promising revenue stream.

Mobile marketing campaigns have moved beyond offering mass indiscriminate communications, to focus instead on delivering carefully targeted personalised messages. This transition is driving a higher ROI on marketing campaigns as the tools are now available to automate the slicing and dicing of audiences in a seemingly limitless array of permutations. Yet the addition of a further dimension; that of location; adds a powerful new trigger to deliver messages linked to your location at a given moment in time, the use of which has seen response rates surpassing those of standard generic campaigns by as much as 75%. It is this additional location capability which, when married with customer demographic and buyer behaviour information, is causing such a stir amongst the marketing populace driving both mobile operators, OTT service providers and mobile device manufacturers to consider ways to monetise the location network assets they hold.

The Importance of Opt-in

According to Cisco 47% of us are willing to receive vouchers to our mobile phone when we are at or near a retail store. This brings us to another important point which is in respecting the wishes of subscribers themselves and operators are working hard to develop ways to convince subscribers of the value of opting-in to receive personalised offers. What’s particularly impressive is that rather than conceding the upper hand to OTT players like WhatsApp and Viber as they did in the battle for SMS supremacy, MNOs have been quick to recognise the value of location based intelligence to enterprises. Far from dragging their feet, mobile operators are now at the forefront in offering innovative smart technology which can turn location data into a powerful business tool.

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Moving into an algo-orientated, cross-screen world

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Zac Pinkham, Managing Director, EMEA, Millennial Media

Almost unbelievably so, we find ourselves already three quarters of the way through 2014. Of course, the nature of mobile means that we’re always moving apace in this industry, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise. Mobile also demands that we always keep one eye on the future, anticipating what might happen next.

That potential for disruption at any turn is one of the reasons I love what we do. With that in mind, as we move into the final three months of the year, there’s no better time to start to think ahead for what might come in the next 12-18 months. Personally, I’m particularly excited by two major areas of opportunity for mobile advertising…

The first is something that’s been a big discussion point since this time last year but remains important, and that’s mobile programmatic. Arguably the buzzword of the year, I’m expecting continued growth for the discipline of automated trading on mobile to continue into 2015.

As you will have seen last week, we’ve made our intentions clear with the announcement that Millennial Media has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Nexage, a leading provider of Real-Time-Bidding (RTB) tech.

I’m also hopeful to see from the IAB’s upcoming ad spend figures for the first half of 2014 what the impact of programmatic has been in mobile. The buzz has been great, but being able to back that up with some evidence of the changing behaviours of media buyers will provide real insight.

Away from programmatic, the other trend that’s going to be top of brand and agency priority lists in 2015 is cross-screen.

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Brands and Wearable Tech

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Jide Sobo, Head of Mobile, MEC Interaction

The last week of September saw Social Media Week come to London, and with the tag line of Re-imagining Human Connectivity, it was the perfect opportunity for MEC to host an open session on Wearable Tech.

For me, one of the hardest things to grasp, about Wearable Tech, is exactly what we mean by it. We have been wearing varying forms of technology for centuries. Things like watches and glasses (the traditional type, not those made by Google) are both forms of technology that we are all familiar with, so perhaps we mean Connected Wearable Tech. And where do we draw the line between “wearing” technology, and simply carrying it? I think we’d all consider a jacket with an integrated iPhone to be Wearable Tech, but what makes that different to simply carrying your iPhone in your jacket pocket?

However you define it, Wearable Tech is big business, worth somewhere in the region of $2 billion. Of this, Fitness Trackers account for around $330 million and are the most popular devices. Other types of devices cover areas such as Eyewear, Clothing and Medical. Individual devices range from the potentially useful (Smartwatches) to the frankly bizarre (shoes that tweet, anyone?).

It’s clear that this is a big, and varied, market, but what does it mean for brands, and how, if at all, can they use wearable devices for marketing purposes?

Firstly, let’s simplify things slightly and confine ourselves to thinking about wearable devices that have some form of digital screen and internet connectivity. The obvious route is to treat these as another digital screen and look at ways to transpose our beloved PC and smartphone formats to them. However, the sheer number of different physical forms for these devices means that there is no standardisation, making the production of creative both costly and time consuming. Add to that the typically tiny screen size, and we can see that this is not the sensible route to take.

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