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Year of mobile? Try years of mobile: Mobile Ad Summit keynote

NEW YORK - Think this is the year of mobile? As mobile marketing integration evolves, every year will be the year of mobile, according to MDC Partners.

While 2009 has been a huge year for the mobile platform, it is still not as fully embraced as the PC is. During a keynote address at the Mobile Ad Summit at New York?s Times Center, stress was placed on full marketing integration to truly kick mobile into high gear.

?Is this the year of mobile?? asked Brandon Berger, head of digital innovation at MDC Partners, Toronto. ?It?s really not the year of mobile marketing, but certainly we can really look into what a wonderful year it was full of huge leaps in mobile.

?I think this has been a great year for mobile but the reality is, we need to stop asking i's this the year of mobile?' because this is one of the years of mobile,? he said.

?I personally believe we?ll be doing everything using mobile devices?not PCs?in the future.?

MDC Partners is a portfolio of marketing and communications companies.

Mr. Berger cited iPhone applications, 3G and 4G networks, augmented reality, GPS and location-based services as advances in the sector.

Advances in devices have grown thanks to creativity from handset manufacturers.

The barriers that existed in the mobile channel 10 years ago are moving away, Mr. Berger said.

As technology progresses, Mr. Berger said that he thinks we are beyond the days of SMS alerts now that so many technological advances have been made in rich media.

The problem with mobile right now is holding companies investing in technology liks SMS platforms, augmented reality and digital coupons, but not investing in the people who can power these technological advances.

Holding companies are in a unique position in the mobile sector and they must act responsibly to drive future marketing and still be accountable for the mobile technology and using it effectively.

By investing in mobile, Mr. Berger said that holding companies are showing they are interested in the platform and see growth in mobile, but they may be far from truly understanding and utilizing it in an integrated way.

However, holding companies do not fuel growth. Again, it is the people who power and understand the technology who will drive mobile to more eyes.

Once companies fully integrate the technology, then mobile can truly progress. Mr. Berger said integration is far more important to growth than advancing technology.

It is important to look to the early days of digital as a way to understand how mobile can be integrated into a brand's marketing strategy.

At the launch, there was not a lot of buying and selling going on via the Web, Mr. Berger said. It was just college students and teenagers, not spending money.

Gradually various industries began to leverage the platform.

At first it was marketers saying Web sites are needed to go along with a campaign, but it was not integrated fully.

When it became packaged, that is when the Web boom began and that is what will happen with mobile.

?The true success of mobile is when agencies will be given access to multiple tools and resources to deliver, whether it?s mobile, digital, social or augmented reality,? Mr. Berger said.

At the end of the day, mobile marketing should feature relevant powerful messages and provide consumers the ability to engage with the brand in ways that fit their lifestyle.

The mobile device is always on consumers and it is able to connect marketers to them whenever and wherever they are.

To get mobile as a line-item in brands' budgets, it has to be a proven platform.

As the development of the mobile channel continues today, brands will eventually realize mobile is not just something to include as a one-off portion of a campaign, but rather that it needs to be integrated as part of a holistic ad campaign.

?Eventually like all mediums, the playing field will level and everybody will learn the power of the device,? Mr. Berger said.