Innovate the Mobile Market, not exploiting it.

A lot of talk has been going around in the social media bubbles, especially my own personal ones, about mobile marketing and advertising.  “It’s the new future of advertising!”  “It’s the next platform for everything and anything!”  One thing marketers are known for is getting excited too quickly.  When marketers get excited prematurely, watch out for poorly planned and implemented campaigns.

Now, I am all for mobile marketing and advertising.  I actually researched the applications of advertising of mobile phones way back in the ancient times of 2007.  One only needs to take a look at the growth of Smartphone penetration in the mobile market to realize how much opportunity is there.  Estimated 14% growth in the mobile market in the next 3 years, combined with 94% of them being mobile internet users would make any marketers chops start to salivate. (Refer to graph)graph of smart phone usage

Unfortunately, when that happens, our marketing brains start to turn quicker than they should.  We get into the market looking to build an “offensive” before any one else gets into the space.  This often has some pretty bad consequences. 

For example, take a look at Search Engine Optimization.  Google was an incredible invention that eventually created the gateway to the internet for users.  When marketers saw this as opportunity we went wild.  All of sudden SEO/SEM companies sprang up out of the blue that claimed to know all the ins and outs of increasing your companies search rankings.  When in fact, all they were doing was trying to exploit some website development tools by cramming them with as many keywords as possible. A website that had many keywords instead of relevant keywords were ranked higher than what you were looking for.  Unfortunately, this would mean the websites that you trying actually search for would be buried underneath the ones that were stuffed to the brim by all these keywords.

Well, what happened was Google saw that, addressed it, and changed their algorithm known as the Penguin Update. Marketers in a way almost ruined the tool.  Another example is Twitter, an incredible social media sharing tool that lets people express their thoughts.  Within the first 6 months of its inception we had spammers and tweetbots trying to capture as much visibility as possible without putting in any actual worth.

As a fellow marketer, I implore my colleagues to take a step back for a second.  I know a lot of you are running your brain on developing everything and anything to get your company out there to be the first in the game.  For once, let’s take a different approach.  Let’s not think as this an opportunity for us, but instead an opportunity for everybody.  Marketers should be the ones powering the progress and thinking of the next idea moving forward instead of ways to exploit the ones that already exist.  Let the technology evolve before we cram it with the stuff we’re trying to sell.  Marketers are finding out the hard way that marketing the same old way you usually do in social media is not only ineffective, but can be dangerous.  Do research on your medium to realize its full potential.  Don’t develop some half-done campaign and call it effective, think of something that can be done, but no one else has.

The most effective mobile campaigns have been fully integrated campaigns.  They support a bigger campaign through the utilization of a new piece of technology that has not yet been explored by other companies with mobile marketing.  In the case of Heineken, and this year's UEFA Cup, they created a campaign called Star Player.  The campaign integrates the hype around the UEFA cup, combines that with social networking, mobile, and to top it all off social gamification of earning points.  The full integrated campaign allows users to gain points from watching games and guess what will happen next.  These points move you up in the leader board and allows you to earn badges

A campaign such as this one shows the true power mobile marketing and utilizing the full integrated technologies of mobile, web, and social.

In terms of the mobile phone market, and mobile internet usage we need to think about innovation instead of imitation.    

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