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Primedia president/CEO speaks to mobile strategy

Mobile marketing is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity for brands trying to reach consumers in a personal and engaging way.

This is especially true for content publishers such as Primedia, which owns and operates Apartment Guide and New Home Guide. Mobile has caused a rapid shift in strategy for old-school print offerings. These properties are now complemented with a digital strategy that includes both online and mobile.

Charles Stubbs, CEO of Primedia came to Mobile Marketer's offices in New York. Giselle Tsirulnik interviewed him. Here is what he said:

How has digital (mobile specifically) affected the print industry?
We really view the Internet and mobile as complementary to print. Our goal is to try and help people looking for a place to live and we do so through our flagship sites Apartment Guide and New Home Guide.

We take the integrated media approach because we want to be where all consumers are, whether it's on mobile, print or online.

How has consumer consumption of media changed over the last few years?
Clearly consumers are using many sources to make buying decisions. We already have a robust print offering and drive Internet and mobile usage.

I think mobile is clearly one of the fastest growing channels and there is a huge opportunity with the iPhone and other smartphones.

How big of a role does mobile play in your overall reach strategy?
We have an iPhone application that we launched last year and already the application yielded 300,000 downloads.

We were lucky to get into the Apple commercial for the iPhone. That did a lot in terms of increasing downloads.

About seven weeks ago, we also launched on the Android platform and since then have 12,000 downloads.

Are your applications ad-supported?
Within the mobile application, our content is our ads. The listings are paid. It's an incremental value strategy. We are extending reach to more potential buyers.

Are your iPhone, mobile Web and online experiences consistent? Why?
They are consistent and complementary. The reason is that we are building a brand and want to build awareness for it and make it recognizable. A consistency between all properties is key for that.

Right now a lot of young people are coming out of college and looking to move out on their own. We wanted to reach these young people in a manner they find most comfortable. Mobile fits this demographic.

What is the current state of mobile marketing?
Mobile is in its infancy. The channel has been talked about for some years now and we are starting to see some real traction. This encourages wireless Internet access.

I think we will continue to see improved devices, better application developer kits and will really start to see brands leveraging what mobile has to offer.

Do you have best practices for developing a mobile application?
We have learned a lot in terms of iPhone applications and best practices. Optimizing for the application stores' search is important and so is paying great attention to the depth of content you want to offer.

Also it is important to use consumer feedback to constantly improve your product.

We are in the business to help consumers find a place to live and our mobile offerings help to really fill consumer needs.