Mobile call for quiet amidst all the noise
September 27, 2013
By Jeff Hasen
At a conference shouting that “Every Moment Is Mobile,” a comment made by a famed film and television director on the value of “quiet and arresting” broke through the noise.
Bob Giraldi, a legend on the big screen, told the Mobile Marketing Association’s SM2 audience in New York this week that many brands as well as mobile users creating content use media in “manipulative and loud” ways.” He called out ESPN for being the biggest offender.
“I believe in 15 seconds you can tell any story,” he said. “But go against the grain. Create something that is quiet and arresting.”
There was irony in the statement given the fact that arguably Mr. Giraldi’s claim to fame –actually Hall of Fame – is his direction of Michael Jackson’s loud and show-stopping-to-this-day “Beat It” music video.
Mr. Giraldi actually had to convince then MTV chief Bob Pittman that the footage was mainstream and that Mr. Pittman “could not deny the world” by refusing to air it.
While Mr. Giraldi stopped short of forecasting the future value of mobile, he did say that differentiating work that tells a compelling story will play well on the smallest and most personal of screens.
And he also told us that that same type of content delivered via another medium such as television has the ability to do what some think is the unthinkable – getting mobile users to look up and away from their iPhones, Androids, tablets and the like.
“Make something beautiful,” Mr. Giraldi advised the audience members. “This is why fashion works.”
The two-day conference was loaded with representatives from megabrands including Mondelez International, Walmart, Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts and Facebook, among many others.
The common theme was mobile’s success lies well beyond engagement and brand building: more dollars are flowing – and will flow into the channel – when the industry can more closely tie efforts with sales.
“At the end of the day, what I really care about is getting closer to that purchase number as possible,” said B. Bonin Bough, vice president of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelez.
“How do we get down to the sales level?” he said. “The key to that is working with your clients and making sure that your clients are relentless to craft programs that actually can look at a sales angle.
“There’s no reason for us to invest money in these channels if we’re not going to learn what’s working and what’s not.”
Walmart follows that line of reasoning and is doing a terrific job in tracking its progress.
For example, it is seeing that mobile application users spend 40 percent more and make twice as many trips to the bricks-and-mortar locations as other customers.
Like many quick-service restaurants, Wendy’s is using mobile effectively at key dayparts. Given the fact that lunch choices are often made on the spur of the moment, the company is employing mobile to be there at the moment of decision.
Still, Brandon Rhoten, vice president of digital and social media at Wendy’s, said that he cannot track sales directly back to mobile. The company believes that it is all of its marketing efforts working together that make the initiatives worthwhile.
Mr. Rhoten said that he cannot point to sales off of one airing of a television spot and mobile should not have any such requirement to get more funding. That made sense to me.
There was substantive talk about the growing importance of mobile loyalty clubs and reminders that core products such as SMS are inclusive and producing meaningful results.
Overall, mobile progress was palpable during SM2 and happily we did not go down the mobile and social silo rat hole. Of course, it is one mobile user interacting with brands as well as social networks.
The biggest wow was the learning that 20 percent of all the time spent on mobile is on Facebook. The savviest brand marketers left the show planning their programs to impact that loyal Facebook audience and to drive sales.
Jeff Hasen is Seattle-based chief marketing officer of Mobivity, Chandler, AZ. Reach him at .
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