What to expect from next week's MMA Forum NYC

Mobile Marketing Association implements affiliate

The MMA is a global nonprofit trade association established to lead the growth of mobile marketing

Attendees of next week's Mobile Marketing Association Forum at New York's Waldorf=Astoria are expecting the event to be very brand focused.

Billed as the world’s largest mobile marketing event, this year’s MMA Forum offers two distinct session tracks, a pair of pre-event workshops, a new Mobile Experience Lab, a special Retailer Roundtable and more than 50 speakers. CNN Anchor & Special Correspondent Soledad O’Brien will headline MMA Forum, while other featured speakers are mobile industry experts who come from brands such as Alcatel-Lucent, Best Buy, Electronic Arts, ESPN Mobile, Disney, Google, Kodak, Microsoft and the United Nations Foundation.

“This year, we’ll see an unprecedented focus on brands and retailers, now that so many are entering the marketplace,” said Louis Gump, vice president of CNN Mobile, Atlanta. “Further, we’ll find a heavy emphasis on best practices in mobile advertising, especially for display ads, including rich media.

“We’ll continue to see some interesting development and uses for text messaging, especially as parts of multimedia campaigns,” he said.

“Among other issues that will get attention, we’ll see recommendations on how to take a combined approach to mobile Web and apps, as well as the state of metrics and the most immediate needs as we continue to improve in this area.”

Michael Becker

The MMA's Michael Becker

The MMA Forum comes as a fascinating time for the industry, when mobile ad budgets are increasing and mobile is a priority for brands and agencies like never before.

"The mobile marketplace is teeming with activity," Mr. Gump said. "Over the past year, it has become clear that mobile is essential to virtually every company’s consumer relationship management and marketing plans.

"In 2010, we’re seeing brand after brand launch updated or new mobile Web sites and apps, which is part of a continuing trend," he said. "We’re also seeing companies realize that as important as ad-driven media offerings are, premium apps also have an important place in meeting consumer demand and driving financial sustainability.

"Smartphones continue to drive a ton of innovation."

Other panelists chimed in to reveal their expectations for the MMA Forum, which takes place during Internet Week, and what issues they hope will be addressed at the conference:

Jay Emmet, general manager of OpenMarket, Seattle
We look forward to the MMA’s MMF event because it presents an exciting forum to discuss the latest opportunities and challenges in the mobile industry today.

It’s really a chance for everyone in the mobile ecosystem—agencies, brands, operators, aggregators—to get together and debate the factors driving greater adoption and consumption of mobile services, and what’s next in the world of mobile payments, SMS/MMS, mobile advertising and other emerging technologies.

The future of mobile commerce and payments is a central topic of interest for many content providers, brands and retailers.

Consumers want an easy way to make purchases on their mobile devices, whether they’re buying apps, ringtones or other popular products.

Particularly in the growing mobile apps space, there is an emerging opportunity for operator billing that has become a key topic of discussion.

The mainstream adoption of SMS is complete, and the use of mobile as a channel to communicate, market and sell to consumers is becoming critical for all enterprises and brands.

MMS has also been a significant area of growth so far in 2010 as agencies, brands, and third-party merchants are discovering new ways to share engaging mobile content with consumers via rich media.

Additionally, the use of mobile payments beyond digital goods is a growth area that the industry needs to collaborate on in order to drive growth and adoption.

Aimee Higgins, vice president of strategy and planning at Pandora, San Francisco
I’m really looking forward to having a some of the smartest most engaged people in mobile together to share ideas and discuss best practices and the what’s next for mobile.

What issue do I hope will be addressed? Providing information to overcome barriers to mobile marketing—while still new for some, it’s not complicated.

It’s a compelling creative platform that works and I’m excited to see what other people are doing too. I hope everyone walks away from the MMF excited to start utilizing the platform.

We are seeing tremendous growth in mobile this year. Many notable campaigns on Pandora include a mobile component.

What makes this growth even more exciting is the amazing engagement and results we are seeing on mobile.

Joy Liuzzo, senior director of marketing and mobile research at InsightExpress, Stamford, CT
The MMF is always a great source of the latest and greatest in mobile and I don’t expect to be disappointed this year.

I’m looking forward to hearing from the brands that have moved out of the experimental stage and into incorporating mobile across their media mix.

I’m also looking forward to hearing about the new ad units that are available or being developed—everything from mobile video, to rich media, to apps. 

Mobile is one of the hottest places to be right now! Folks aren’t just dipping their toes into the mobile water, they are diving in and seeing some amazing results.

Because of this, mobile campaigns are getting more complex, more organized, more strategic—all the signs of a robust and evolving environment.

I’m also excited to see continued integration of social and mobile.

The industry has known for a while that you can’t talk mobile without talking social, and you can’t talk social without talking mobile.

Now that both areas are seeing a ton of new advances and developments, it’s going to be a wild second half to figure out the best way to pair them.   

Tom Foran, chief revenue officer of Crisp Wireless, New York
MMF should be a chance to discuss some very important trends: HTML5 versus Flash, Android’s emergence as a viable iPhone alternative and the iPad as adrenaline shot for brand advertising.

Budgets from brands are increasing, and so are their expectations.

The mobile ad community needs to step up to meet a far more demanding set of advertisers who expect top tier service, performance and analytics.

While the buy side pleads for greater standardization, the mobile ad industry continues to huddle in silos.

Proprietary SDKs and ad networks with their own rich media formats are more examples of how the mobile ad industry still just doesn’t get it.

Paran Johar, Los Angeles-based chief marketing officer of Jumptap
There will be a lot of emphasis on scale, standards and breaking down the silos. Mobile marketing and advertising are increasingly becoming mainstream.

What issues do I hope will be addressed? How do we make it easier for advertisers to buy mobile as an industry?

What standards do we need in place to ensure newcomers like Apple don’t fragment the industry?

What will the new carrier role be now that “the deck” is becoming more and more irrelevant for smartphone users?

How will be as an industry avoid “spamifying” mobile with irrelevant advertising?

Most automotive and entertainment brands now include mobile as a staple of their media plans.

Categories such as financial services, CPG, QSR and travel are increasingly using mobile as critical component of their marketing plans. 

The major progress has been seeing deals like Google/Admob and Apple/Quattro being done and validating the current state of growth in the industry.

In addition, Mary Meeker’s report predicting that in the next 3-5 years mobile will be the primary access point for the Internet has awakened many agencies and brands.