Mobile Success: Device vs. Channel

By Mandana Mellano

It’s clearly the gold rush of mobile and the Mobile Media Summit at the SLS in Los Angeles provided the perfect opportunity for brands, marketers and publishers to converse on all things mobile.

Close to 800 attendees filled the ballroom to hear a diverse lineup of speakers and panelists discuss the latest in media, technology, data and devices.

Mobile Media Summit Many talked about their efforts in content production for mobile devices, particularly as it applies to .com experiences — responsive design vs. mobile-optimized and m-commerce platform vs. app. solutions. From auto, CPG and entertainment to tech, travel and gaming, everyone seems to be “interested” in mobile but very few have had truly compelling success stories in terms of execution and results.

It reminded me so much of the mid-2000s when every client and agency was looking for a “social guru,” someone who could come in and magically make sense of this new world and the complexity that it had added to every brand’s ecosystem. The truth is that ambiguous titles and glorification of channels is really not the recipe for success! At least not in my experience…

So, what does success look like in the mobile space? Yes, I agree that delivering the right message to the right person at the right time is the ultimate goal here but I was completely surprised at how little people talked about data and its crucial role not just in targeting but more importantly, in nurturing the brand/consumer communication. In my mind, it’s the sustained engagement that is of value rather than the short-lived burst of call-to-actions.

During the course of the summit, we heard a lot about proximity targeting, social executions for mobile, geo-fencing offers, etc. And when someone on my own panel asked me about my thoughts on prioritizing channels, I had to be completely honest in saying that as marketers we tend to get a little too hung up on “channels.” The proliferation of devices has brought upon a completely fluid content consumption mindset, which means content, commerce and community are even more intertwined than they were just a couple of years ago! “Channels” in the sense that we refer to them are completely irrelevant.

The consumer journey is no longer limited to the parameters of any specific channel; therefore, we need to adopt a more device-agnostic approach in the way we connect and converse with the consumer.

I heard so many people at the summit talking about their “mobile first” strategy or even favoring mobile from an investment perspective, which is all great, BUT, ultimately mobile is just a natural extension of the greater media world and it should be treated as such.

From my perspective, right now our biggest challenges in the mobile space are two things:

1) True cross-device targeting (and no, I am not impressed by what is currently offered from publishers at the moment)
2) A unified serving/tracking platform that can provide visibility into performance and optimization across both desktop and mobile

But until we connect the dots and close the gap between mobile and the rest of our efforts (whether online or offline) we are really only utilizing mobile as a device rather than a “channel” for communication.

As for the experience of attending and speaking at the Mobile Media Summit, I truly enjoyed learning more about nuances at the tactical level and liked some of the examples that panelists shared with the audience.

We have a long way to go to properly leverage the value of mobile advertising — I think we are all on the right path… it’s just a matter of finding some of the shortcuts and the “less-traveled” paths to get us to evolve and innovate as we go on.

Mandana-Mellano-webMandana Mellano is Partner, Group Director at Neo@Ogilvy West





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