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Unilever to address challenges of mobile scale, attribution upon media review

While consumer packaged goods company Unilever reviews its media buying program for the first time since 2012, one of its biggest challenges will be pinpointing the media partners to provide mobile media that delivers scale, attribution, targeting and conversion.

Since it is once again time for Unilever to embark on its global media review, which only occurs every three years, the big media spender undoubtedly wants to incorporate mobile and find partners that can help it be a leader in this quickly growing space for the next three years. 

?While there is a statutory process for Unilever to tender their media agency every three years, this process challenges the agency partners to bring innovation to the table, and mobile and proximity marketing undoubtedly will be a big topic,? said Gary Schwartz, CEO of Impact Mobile, New York. ?We can assume that any brand of this magnitude is looking for media that delivers scale as well as the ability to leverage data to better target. 

?There is an onward going search for increased media attribution and conversion metrics,? he said. ?While it is somewhat easy to present the various media challenges, it is difficult to find mobile channels that deliver scale, attribution and ultimately conversion metrics.?

The right route
For this move, Unilever is likely to go back through its existing relationships with agencies to see how it should restructure its media program to incorporate mobile.

However, in early 2014, Unilever was the first brand to leverage a mobile marketing platform that moved beyond simply leveraging programmatic for buying mobile media to making the tactic an integrated approach for a global strategy.

The marketing tool from BrandTone called Konnect let the marketer run mobile campaigns on the fly by segmenting users based on their buying habits and demographic. The program particularly aimed at helping the CPG giant roll out campaigns in emerging markets (see story).

If Unilever attempts a deeper dive into programmatic, its list of agency contacts could decrease.

Depending on the route Unilever takes, it is guaranteed that other large-scale marketers are watching closely. The CPG giant could carry its long list of brands to be a leader industry in mobile. 

Slow but upwards
Unilever has gradually picked up its mobile efforts.

A campaign by Unilever?s Clear shampoo brand that leveraged social word of mouth to motivate a strong mobile response to a challenge to promote healthier, more beautiful hair points to the limitations of optimizing for reach vs. influence as a strategy on mobile social. 

Clear leveraged Mavrck?s technology and Weber Shandwick?s creative to form the brand?s most engaged fans on social into a community that created content in news feeds about Clear?s seven-day healthy-hair challenge. Driving the campaign was a philosophy that one person on social strongly engaged with half of his 1,000 friends is more valuable than one person weakly engaged with one million friends (see story). 

In 2014, Unilever?s Dove Men+Care rolled out an extensive mobile and digital campaign as part of the brand?s sponsorship of the National Collegiate Athletic Association?s Men?s Division I Championship basketball games.

The consumer packaged goods brand launched a mobile and Web experience at that brought together video, a sweepstakes, social media and real-time content to connect with college basketball fans through March Madness. Dove Men+Care leveraged mobile in a couple of similar ways prior to this campaign, but this year?s campaign stood out from others because of how comprehensive it was (see story).

?Unilever has been taking mobile seriously for years and that focus has contributed substantially to the brand?s success,? said Shuli Lowy, marketing director of mobile at Ping Mobile, New York. ?Marketers have looked to Unilever as a leader in mobile marketing. 

?The brand is particularly well suited for mobile for two reasons: firstly, a large portion of Unilever's commerce is done when consumers are on the go and interacting with their phones, and secondly, the brand's target audience is comprised of very active mobile users,? she said. ?Unilever?s large marketing budget and attentiveness to mobile also gives the brand leeway to experiment with cutting edge mobile marketing opportunities. 

?This has made the brand a leader within the mobile marketing community whose work other marketers could learn from.?

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