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Brands focused on effective mobile strategy, Smarties finalists show

The shortlist for the 2014 awards, which honor industry mobile excellence and innovation, includes nearly 100 campaigns from 30 countries. The range of creative approaches applied by this year?s short-list candidates reflects how brands have continued to move beyond saying they need an application to questioning whether they have an effective mobile strategy.

?There is no common mobile feature; we are seeing a combination of different elements including video, messaging, geolocation, apps and social,? said Sheryl Daija, chief strategy officer with MMA, the New York-based contest organizer.

?There are some brands who are really pushing the envelope both strategically and with their creative and media execution, who are taking mobile to the next level and are rising to the top,? she said. ?Others are more safely executing but still seeing results.? 

The winners will be announced Oct. 1 at the MMA?s SM2 Innovation Summit in New York.

Media choices
The finalists show how as marketers realize they have work to do to keep up with a mobile-savvy consumer who has the power to control his or her media choices, the conversation is about how brands can become mobile-ready and how do they include mobile in their strategies.

At last year?s Smarties awards presentation, Ms. Daija said heightened interest in mobile strategy separated that year?s finalists from the prior?s year?s short-list candidates.

As mobile becomes increasingly engrained in the marketplace, the MMA, a nonprofit trade mobile marketing association with more than 800 member companies from about 50 countries, has moved to expand the contest categories to include wearable technology, cross-screen advertising and native advertising. 

The MMA itself has become a symbol of the coming-of-age of mobile marketing. 

Last month, in one of the clearest signs yet that mobile marketing has arrived, the trade group tasked with bringing mobile into the forefront relaunched itself with a marketer-first approach as opposed to a mobile-first one. 

The shift towards brands was evident in the makeup of the Mobile Marketing Association?s new global board of directors, 40 percent of which now consists of marketers as opposed to the one lone marketer sitting on the board several years ago. 

Additionally, the MMA introduced the MM25, a group of 25 leading brand marketers from companies such as Coca-Cola, Walmart and Procter & Gamble who will work to take mobile marketing to the next level. 

Mobile first
For several years, the Mobile Marketing Association as well as marketers have talked up the need for a mobile-first approach to marketing. 

Nike SB app vies for best in-app/gaming advertising Smartie.

Now that mobile is infused throughout many of the leading brand organizations worldwide, these practitioners are interested in gaining a more sophisticated understanding of mobile marketing as opposed to how to sell-in mobile to their bosses, a big focus not too long ago. 

?One insight from judging as this is going on today in NY is that the judges are being very strict about if you extract mobile from the campaign, does the campaign fall apart?? Ms. Daija asked. 

?This for them is key to the campaigns being considered for winning a Smarties.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.