It’s sometimes a bit easy to get obsessed with our own subject matter, wondering how anyone ever coped without our innovation, but sometimes we have to take a step back and think about a couple of things… firstly is what we are offering really an innovation, maybe as potent as the first printed word, the first transmission of the spoken word or visual image; does it answer a fundamental need or answer a problem; and perhaps most important do people understand how to use it?
So as a long in the tooth brand marketer, tragically segmented by The Times as “being in the later stages of life” I have grown up with traditional media – watched it migrate online, into social and onto mobile as our communications relationship has moved from received information to read web and now into smart dashboards of choice. I love the choice and control we have as consumers, I do worry about the privacy of my digital footprint and who knows what about my online behaviour and I see the increasing challenge around establishing the key brand touch points in a fragmented customer driven world.
But harking back to the Times, they published a letter at the weekend from adland suggesting that advertising could dig us out of the recession – not sure where the science fact lies behind that claim. The reality is that the agency planner has never had a more difficult time of precision targeting. And maybe it’s easier for the big brands to continue to blast traditional above the line media with big ideas, which seem to be getting a bit tired, vaguely recognisable as retreads and certainly more irritating than entertaining.
For anyone who has lived long enough to experience the remake of a classic movie it’s clear that we can get away with reselling stories and that’s how all stories working best – in the retelling – it’s just the channels have proliferated – no more so than in the mobile space.
So I will freely admit, I am a new found advocate of access to brands through smart devices – I love this stuff – control in the hands of the consumer. But a recent conversation kind of summed up the division of understanding about the new distributed mobile channel. Why would I want people to use telephones to talk about my brand, when I want them to stop and spend time engaged with my products? And, it’s a good question and certainly our obsession with app based engagement with the world around us suggests that brands might want to try and disrupt attention but maybe the smart thing to do is to become part of this layer of engagement.
There are about 12,000 smart device types available globally and whilst it’s variable by global geography… the basic truth is quite simple – we pretty much all have one, or over the next 24 months we will have. And yes it starts with SMS and shortcodes but these bridge a gap from the ATL world into the smart environment and quickly translate from text to URL and thus into rich and transactional experiences.
With so many devices it might seem sensible to let customers log onto your website from mobile, but the brand experience is often so poor that it’s actually detrimental to the brand and with so many devices ideally we need a CMS that detects the screen size and renders the solution to match.
So if you are the kind of marketer who wants to bridge the big idea into the highly personalised consumer mobile space maybe you should rethink your customer journey to optimise the deep link from your brand to the customers dashboard. In terms of what they need – it doesn’t even need to be that smart and can even start with a short code to link to Mweb where they access your services, information and products – in fact as long as the UX is matched to their devices and like most good marketing, it’s easy to find and use, relevant and preference driven – hey ho…you might flog a bit more product.
Mark Bainbridge, customer and market strategy director, Velti