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PepsiCo exec reveals top mobile, social trends for 2011

A PepsiCo Inc. executive expects the intersection of mobile and social to play an even bigger role in 2011 than it did in 2010.

From the rise of smartphones and the debut of tablets to location-based services and 2D bar codes, many mobile marketing trends that gained momentum in 2010 will continue to increase in importance over the course of 2011. When marketers add a social element to multichannel campaigns featuring mobile, they can achieve viral spread that amplifies the bang for the buck.

?Mobile is the device you have with you continuously wherever you go?I have three if you include my iPad,? said Bonin Bough, New York-based director of digital and social media at PepsiCo. ?Those devices provide connectivity with my social graph?photo upload to social networks is interesting because of the functionality on the mobile device itself, and we?ll see big updates in location-based services around that.

?What?s interesting, if you look at what the numbers are going to look like, the numbers are going to continue to be humongous?the growth is going to be tremendous in 2011 and beyond,? he said.

?Mobile phone usage projections will be a lot faster and higher going forward, which will lead to a faster shift in the spending of organizations as they realize the importance of mobile in 2011.?

In May, PepsiCo rolled out application-centered mobile initiatives to help its restaurant partners inspire customer loyalty and drive consumers to nearby locations.

These included a partnership with location-based mobile social networking application Foursquare and the launch of its own Pepsi Loot location-based application for Apple?s iPhone and iPod touch featuring integrations with Facebook and Twitter (see story).

Mobile bar codes getting big
PepsiCo has used mobile advertising and content distributed via 2D bar codes to engage with a target audience of 18-24-year-olds and promote its Pepsi Max brand.

To spread the "Pepsi Max Kicks" campaign virally, Pepsi offered consumers mobile content that they can share with their friends, including a picture of British television personality and model Kelly Brook delivered to their mobile phones via quick-response codes, or QR codes.

The QR codes appeared on 400 million cans and bottles of Pepsi across Britain, and the media campaign also integrated mobile and Web advertising (see story).

?In 2011, digital in-store is going to be humongous, and mobile bar codes will be prevalent,? Mr. Bough said. ?While mobile bar codes still need a few more years to really achieve mass-market adoption, a code that is on every product that is shipped worldwide?what a huge opportunity to provide additional information and content.

?There is a race to own those codes, so it will be interesting to keep an eye on the space in 2011,? he said.

More mobile trends
Mr. Bough said that he believes mobile purchasing is also going to be huge in 2011.

In addition, Mr. Bough believes that there will be a shift away from site development as brands and publishers focus on curating utility applications and entertainment content that can be used across any device.

?I can envision a world where the browser might no longer exist, when all investments in Web sites might be for naught,? Mr. Bough said. ?The explosion of apps is leading to everything from the increase in entertainment such as mobile gaming to the increase in utility, from expense management to scheduling.

?Those are big pieces we saw happen this year in abundance,? he said. ?The entire app space is huge fruitful opportunity for brands.

?When you sit back and look at the speed that consumers are consuming applications, content and data?the explosion of datavores?it will create new opportunities to engage consumers in ways that we have never done before.?

In addition, the different use cases in the location-based services space will offer opportunities for marketers.

In particular, due to its scale, Facebook Places offers a huge opportunity for retailers.

Mr. Bough said using that platform in conjunction with other mobile social networks provides the opportunity for brands to participate in the experience at the point of purchase in a way that they have never done before.

While the customer loyalty relationship has for the most part been with the retailer, the intersection of mobile and social offers opportunity for the brand to have direct relationships with consumers.

?Mobile and social are becoming increasingly important for PepsiCo,? Mr. Bough said. ?They can be used to create interesting in store experiences brought to you by our brands, asking people to participate in programs on their mobile devices.?

PepsiCo that marketing involves a value exchange with consumers. Mobile marketers can offer various incentives, everything from discounts and coupons to branded content unlocked as a result of the location.

Rewarding existing behavior is a key to encouraging engagement, for example, checking in via a mobile social network.

?I?m used to checking in already, and as a result of checking in, I might get a discount on Gatorade,? Mr. Bough said. ?How do you build consumer engagement that is relevant to the platform they?re using?

?You also have to keep in mind that consumers? actions are happening within a whole social context, and word can spread quickly,? he said. ?These platforms can be promotional in nature, and they can lead to both short-term breakthrough consumer engagement and long-term loyalty.?

Final Take

Stephanie Agresta, executive vice president and managing director of social media at Weber Shandwick