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Ad agencies prep for mobile prominence using deep data in 2015

NEW YORK ? Ad agency executives at Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2015 conference said that since the marketing industry is no longer in an initial stage of mobile, they look forward to seeing more mobile advertising efforts in 2015.

During the ?Defining Their Role in a Rapidly Evolving Mobile-Influenced Advertising and Marketing Environment? panel session, executives from R/GA and iCrossing discussed their efforts in encouraging marketers to try out new mobile technologies. Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, moderated the panel.

?Not every brand wants to be first to try a new technology, but I think it?s our job to know when to press, and we do that often,? said Jonathan Greene, mobile and social platforms at R/GA. ?In fact, I like to make brands a little uncomfortable.

?A lot of times, brands can be the ones with a clouded presence, and we need to push hard into white space, and it?s a very exciting thing to do,? he said. ?It can be a stunt or it can be a long-standing initiative if it?s more successful.?

Doug Platts, vice president of search strategy at iCrossing also participated in the panel.

Breaking the ice
Some top brand executives are still hesitant to adopt mobile as a strategy, despite the constant dependence on the channel they have in their own personal and business lives.

Once advertising agencies are able to break the ice between skeptical executives and new technologies, they are pushing these efforts using deep data but with a lack of case studies or statistics that support them.

Yet, mobile is the core and a continuous part of the strategy and execution of the work these agencies are doing. These executives of R/GA and iCrossing believe mobile should be normalized at this point and work to make sure they are delivering high value to their clients, which is a facet these brands hope to achieve.

Mr. Platts discussed iCrossing?s data platform Audience Intelligence, which he believes to be the answer to big data. It leverages first, second and third party data as well as Hearst Corporation?s network, including its magazines and TV, to develop deep strategy, which is incredibly important to drive return, he said.

Still, smartphone users are five years ahead of what a brand is, Mr. Platts said, and agencies will have to look ahead and make predictions, and they definitely want to be able to make those new technologies available to their clients.

R/GA and iCrossing hope brands will continue to give them a try.

Revving up
Agencies continue to push mobile by going great lengths, including rearranging their development teams.

As the use of mobile evolves, Razorfish, too, has reevaluated how to integrate mobile into its own organizational structure so it can best take advantage of emerging opportunities such as voice-activated ads and smartphone sensors.

The 18-year-old New York-based multi-discipline agency has officially had a mobile practice for six years, currently segmented into three regional groups ? East, West and Central. Yet mobile campaign elements are actually handled on a daily basis by all account reps, with the senior mobile teams called in for special projects and big client campaigns (see story).

Since its launch in 2009, Fetch has exclusively worked on mobile marketing and advertising, with a client base of companies that tend to already be steeped in mobile themselves, according to Guillaume Lelait, San Francisco-based vice president of North America at Fetch. Coming on board in year two, he has recently been seeing mobile come to forefront of many campaigns.

For eBay, Fetch created an app that enabled the audience to interact with a pantomime performance of the Cinderella story at London?s Charing Cross Theater. Everyone was equipped with an app installed on a tablet that allowed them to pick presents for each of the characters (see story).

Ad agencies undoubtedly remain relevant.

?I don?t have to make the case that smartphone adoption is here; it is a mature thing,? Mr. Greene said. ?There are ads and experiences that can be delivered in every scenario.?

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York