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Agencies think that mobile equals apps: MMF panel

Agency panel

From left, Richard Ting, Gene Keenan and Douglas Rozen

NEW YORK - Agencies are incorporating mobile to build brand recognition for their clients, but not every mobile site, application or campaign fits all.

During a discussion at the Mobile Marketing Forum, panelists stressed on the importance of keeping a consumer happy rather than focusing on whether they should use applications, SMS or mobile-optimized sites. The panel was moderated by Evan Neufeld, vice president of marketing at Ground Truth, New York.

“It’s amazing how many agencies think that they can do mobile,” said Douglas Rozen, senior vice president of creative, interactive, media and mobile at Carlson Marketing, St. Paul, MN. “And how many think that mobile equals apps.

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“Mobile is a lot of things, it’s not just apps, not just advertising, not just Web,” he said. “It’s as much a channel and as much a tactic.

“It’s about knowing this channel, not just knowing how to use this tactic.”

Consumer assurance
Carlson Marketing has spent a lot of time on strategy and design of mobile programs and has learned the importance of quality assurance – something that it now goes extensively through.

The company holds several employee events and has been incorporating mobile in a lot of them – it sent out text messages to employees.

In addition, Mr. Rozen said that it took some significant investment to link the company’s email systems with its mobile systems.
“I think there are certain protocols that lend themselves to direct and repeatable customer contact,” Mr. Rozen said. “They’re doing it better than other verticals and that’s because it’s really key to their business.”

“Seeing the number of brands that are presenting case studies, I think that definitely shows that it’s getting better,” he said. “We always start with the customer and understanding them both behaviorally and attitudinally.

“By understanding the customer, you can understand if it’s right to do an app, if it’s right to do SMS. I actually challenge that it shouldn’t be mobile marketing, it should be marketing through mobile.”

The business of mobile
Many companies are turning to agencies to help them incorporate mobile in some aspect in their day-to-day business.

RGA’s mobile group positions itself to tell clients how to leverage mobile strategically. 

“Last year it was iPhone apps, now they want iPad apps,” said Richard Ting, vice president/executive creative director of mobile and emerging platforms at R/GA, New York. “Sometimes, they companies shouldn’t do apps.

“They should know their audience and markets and based on that we can choose what works best for them,” he said.

Mobile focus
Mr. Ting said that even if you build a perfect mobile platform, there might still be a chance that it will not work out.

“One lesson we learned was when we worked on a mobile site platform, we thought it was one of the best projects we had done at that time,” Mr. Ting said. “There was tremendous amount of videos that were highly detailed.

“But then after a few weeks, we realized there were only a small people looking at it – the platform has no media support - none,” he said.

The panelist defined that a good mobile platform centers around the program working and the brand is able to provide something to the consumer, keeping them engaged.

Seeing how the generalist and specialist work together is another important factor in a successful mobile platform.

Carlson Marketing has been working with a specialist on SMS and email campaigns.

RG/A also uses a specialist. But down the road, the capability should be built into an agency’s skill set, per Mr. Ting.

“In order for mobile to succeed, you have to be thinking about all of the moving parts, mobile media is a huge thing,” Mr. Ting said.

Associate Editor Rimma Kats covers media, television, research and social networks. Reach her at rimma@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Advertising agencies, Evan Neufeld, Douglas Rozen, Richard Ting, Carlson Marketing, RGA, Ground Truth, mobile marketing, mobile

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