Moderating the Mobile Marketing, Commerce and Apps table at Digital Cream Day Dubai

In February, Econsultancy hosted their annual Digital Cream Day at the Westin Mina Seyahi. The global versions of the event have been around for a few years but it was only the second year for the Dubai one.

The event aims to bring together client side marketers and provide a platform for discussion on all things digital marketing. In contrast to all the conferences we’ve seen and attended, the event facilitates a dialogue between the marketers as opposed to having a speaker speak at the audience. That’s not to say one is better than the other but in this setup the discussions gives result to some excellent insights on the pains and the pleasure of the marketers.

I was asked to moderate the Mobile Marketing, Commerce and Apps table at the event and I jumped at the chance of it. In a region where mobile penetration is above 100%, it was going to be interesting to see how marketers were adopting and adapting to this still very nascent medium.

I’ve penned down some key points of discussions from the three tables through the day on the Econsultancy blog. The two key takeaways – first marketers are still spread across the spectrum with some just getting started while others having rolled out advanced strategies; secondly iOS (unsurprisingly) remains a dominant platform, but Blackberry – despite its pervasiveness – is not considered optimal.

Read my post on the Econsultancy blog for more insights from the day.


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5 key considerations for effective Mobile Marketing

A few weeks ago I attended the Mobile Marketing Association Forum in London. It’s held in various cities across the world, but the London chapter heads up the EMEA market. The two day conference featured professionals not just from various industries – banking, insurance, FMCG, travel – but also from the various areas of the mobile ecosystem – brands, agencies, developers, solution providers and publishers.

Over the days and through the sessions, there were a few themes that stood out, themes that digital marketers should pay close attention to, themes that will influence and determine the success of their campaigns in the coming years.

 

Mobile is creating new activity – Mobile is creating and fostering activities that did not exist before. Right from citizen journalism to geo-social activity; the interaction of users within and outside their social networks is not the same anymore. The omnipresent nature of mobile has resulted in a dramatic shift in consumer behavior.  Yes Social Media gave the users the power and platform to express themselves, but it is mobile which ensure the power remained in their hands when they were on the streets; for most of the tweets, photos and videos came from a mobile (or maybe a tablet) and not a laptop or a desktop.

 

Contributor to the Economy – Many of the marketers at the conference had ‘mobile’ in their title. A lot of these jobs didn’t exist until recently. With the world still recovering from a recession – and fears of a double dip – the digital marketing industry is one of the very few which has shown signs of growth – double digital growth –  (IAB, 2011) and mobile is set to serve as an industry growth catalyst. With fill rates declining (meaning consumption is more than ads served) and this budget to time spent ratio considerably lower than other mediums; the only way is upwards.

Extension of Reach – We often think of reach as the size of an accessible audience. With growing penetration numbers and continents leapfrogging generations of technology, not only does mobile have an unparalleled reach; but it lets you increase your brand’s exposure to an existing audience. Debenhams released a set of mobile applications in the UK and has found that usage peaks at 10pm. No other platform can reach out to the user at that time with such high engagement levels. Jonathan Stephen from jetBlue believes mobile has given his airline the opportunity to connect and influence passengers offboard in ways that have not been possible before. The experience of flying now begins much before the user arrives at the airport.

Don’t do Mobile in a silo – In a guest post on the Econsultancy blog, I havediscussed the importance of using mobile to extend the experience of the user.  The best examples that include mobile were about using the medium as part of a larger campaign. Yes ‘Integration’ and ‘360 degree approach’ may sound like overused buzzwords but their importance must not be downplayed. The style of integration is just as important as the act of integration. Think cross platform as opposed to multi-platform –the latter is making the content available across multiple channels resulting an either/or situation when it comes to content consumption. The former actually works towards building a solution making multiple platforms work together and concurrently.  Weather.com’s mobile apps provide a different set of content when the microphone on the phone detects the TV channel; content that complements and not duplicates what is on TV. Eliminate redundancy.

Only the relevant succeed – Okay that’s probably a strong statement and may imply that the ‘irrelevant’ fail, which is not true. However just like the internet, mobile marketing can perform extremely well if the message is made relevant. The weather.com mobile application works with brands to create ads that are ‘climatically’ relevant; the Dunkin Donuts Coolatta ad is shown on a hot day, or Zyrtec ads are shown for areas with high pollen activity. The same ad can be customized for different weather conditions – on a hot day an ad for an automobile will encourage going for a long drive, on a rainy day the messaging changes to exhibit the car’s traction control and other safety features. Relevance.

Compared to the other advertising mediums, Babs Rangiah of Unilever says, the internet is still in kindergarten, and mobile in its infancy. However mobile has the advantage of learning from internet advertising and not repeating the mistakes the internet industry made in its early days. And this is something Greg Stuart – current CEO of MMA and former IAB board member – is adamant on achieving.

 This post first appeared on the Clique Media blog


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Adding your own digital local flavour in the Middle East

As an industry, digital marketing in the UAE, and the Middle East is heavily influenced by the west. We’ll look at the likes of Mashable, DigitalBuzzBlog, TheNextWeb and other key prominent sites featuring international campaigns and executions. But it’s important to adapt and localize the ideas to fit locally and be culturally and socially relevant. I discuss the importance of doing so and a few brands that are doing it well in my newest blog post on Econsultancy.

Click here to read Adapting digital marketing for the Middle East

 

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Focusing on the mobile experience

There’s a lot of talk around mobile marketing and it’s not expected to slow down. And as easy as it is to get lost in the buzz, we often need to take a step back and realign our goals and objectives with the executions. In my first post for the Econsultancy blog, I write about focusing on building an experience that may augment their real life experience rather than merely creating a substitute platform.

Click here to read the post on Econsultancy blog

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Here’s to integration in Mobile Marketing and Social Media

The rise of the Mobile WebOver the last two weeks, we’ve seen a lot of posts that either recap all activity in 2010 or make predictions for 2011, and apart from the sexified Social Media, the theme of Mobile has stood out. Buzz around marketing on a platform that almost never leaves the consumers’ reach has gained a lot of momentum and for good reason too; 2010 saw a phenomenal increase in mobile internet activity globally. The Next Web has a great infographic that tells us there are 5 billion people in the world who own a mobile, 31% of which are use the mobile web. African countries have leapfrogged the fixed line internet rung and jumped straight to mobile with Kenya and Nigeria showing 20% and 25% of total internet usage to be on mobile. Even locally, UAE has mobile penetration rates of around 205%, users spend 37% of their internet time on mobile.

However marketing buzz around mobile is similar to what it was around Social Media about 2 years ago. Adoption of marketing on this new medium is growing but it hasn’t exploded yet. All signs (and predictions) point to that happening this year – 2011 just may be the Year of the Mobile.

As for 2010, it was without a doubt the year of Social Media; which is why as we step into 2011 we have many marketers asking if the ad spend is going to be put into Social or Mobile. It doesn’t have to be one does it? @Siddhi_D delivers an answer right to the point with “With the capability to cross integrate the likes of social with display, social with mobile, search with mobile etc there will be limited fragmentation whilst reaching the core audience.

As much of a buzz word ‘integration’ is, I believe that really is going to be the key to effective digital marketing plans this year. Instead of it becomes an either/or situation with Mobile and Social, both can be used, in tandem to deliver effective results. An example of this is taking the banner to a landing page which features a Facebook fanpage like button or taking them to a YouTube video where they may subscribe to your channel. These are of course simple examples but it’s a start to the direction we should start exploring in.

I guess what I’m trying to say is by taking your focus off click and pageview that come in just today, we’re essentially building connections that will last for much longer (by fans, followers or subscribers) increasing the value your brand receives per click. Think strategic, not tactical.

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