The Impact of Mobile on Marketing and Branding. Insights From the Impact Conference.

The second annual Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) Impact conference, held this past week in New York, offered marketers new perspectives on how to leverage mobile in their branding and campaigns. New technological advances such as VR, AR and AI can be creatively used to help consumers better engage and interact with products and services.

The Power of the Consumer
Mobile in particular is a very powerful tool for the consumer since they have all of the control. Kristi Argyilan, Senior Vice President Marketing, Target, stated that, “We can no longer simply buy their attention. We have to earn it every day.” To that end, she explained that, “We engineer relevance for true one-to-one.” Relevance is pivotal in a time of fragmented attention and a flood of messaging. Add to this the fear of brand safety and fraud means that ads and campaigns are under more scrutiny than ever before.

Overcoming Brand Damage
What do you do when a brand is damaged? Jonathan Beamer, CMO, Monster, admitted that his company, “Hasn't rocked it for a decade.” Monster was founded 25 years ago and offers a cautionary tale to others. “We were disruptors and then we were disrupted.” Today, there is a shorter life span for Fortune 500 companies with fewer and fewer maintaining their size and power over a decade. Beamer blamed bad management for losing sight of the original purpose and squeezing profits when they should have been re-invested in the business. “We missed how mobile and other technology could also be used to serve our mission.” Data and insights gleaned from research have helped Monster re-establish itself with a firm mobile presence that speaks to an invigorated target consumer – the job seeker rather than the recruiter. “We dig deep into consumer research’” and found that, “consumers want a champion. They want a company that will do right by society,” he concluded.

Enhancing Brand Position
Ophelia Ceradini, Vice President Digital Innovation and Technology, Estee Lauder, is charged with the task of enhancing an already strong brand through the use of new mobile technology to better match products to consumers. She focuses on, “The power of the human touch and emotions underpins the high touch approach.” Estee Lauder has advanced a myriad of AR elements to their site including ways that women and men can personalize their experiences online using facial recognition on skincare needs. The site then recommends which products each individual should use. Voice assistants are now enabled to recommend store locations as well as offer meditation so the application of products is hands free.

The Next Steps for Mobile
In this fast paced competitive environment, how can mobile continue to grow its marketing prowess? Dr Neil Morgan of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University is spearheading the MARS (Mobile Analytics Realtime Social) project that asks what marketing capabilities do we need to be good at to survive today? His project interviewed over one hundred executives at over 80 companies over a range of performance metrics and levels of digital adaptation.

He found there are four areas of concentration that impact a consumer’s expectations across categories: Individuality, Immediacy, Integration and Information. “We should be in the golden era of marketing with accuracy, accountability and agility,” he stated. “But instead we find entropy, barely concealed chaos, like a roller coaster creeping up before they drop you down.”
There is a lot of data available out there but what is the next step? Marketing is divided, tech is eating strategy, which bell and whistle should I choose, adding but not changing and the potential errors that can occur when we mix third party data into our first party data.

He advises that companies need to first choose a strategy and decide how they will compete. Develop growth stacks based on exchange, experience (eliminating pain points) and engagement (to drive enhanced functionality) and then join, build and manage communities. Finally, marketers need to integrate all learnings into the fabric of the organization, creating an environment of trust where people are willing to share.

Next Steps
As we all grapple with the continuing refraction of industry, a greater understanding of the potential of mobile will enable marketers to successfully leverage their consumer outreach. From damaged brands that can come back from the dead to successful brands who strive to maintain their brand position, the promise and perils of mobile need to be understood and fully integrated into a company’s mission. 

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