In Branding, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Strategy

Mobile Marketing and Brands

This question, “Will mobile become the new starting point for branding?” is making rounds with brand giants, mobile technologies and researchers in 2013.  Big names such as Proctor and Gamble, Facebook and Whirlpool are placing bets in the rapidly changing and growing industry by moving marketing dollars or creating new technologies.  Although the mobile discussion has been going on for quite awhile, some of the most interesting topics in the thread are not about the devices themselves but about the consumer experience.

The medium is the message

Brands are taking a good look at user context – what are consumers doing differently with mobile technologies and what kind of experience are they looking for?  How your brand flows through to the marketing and design stage then follows from these insights. JWT Intelligence just released a comprehensive 85 page report on mobile trends in 2013.  Mobile is disrupting industries at an astonishing pace with machine to machine (M2M) communication high on the list. Take for example the car industry, according to JWT findings, automakers are front runners in the game and are quickly stealing the show.  Before I delve into the discussion, take a minute to think about the mobile device as much more than a phone – it is capable of becoming the medium for a much wider range of experiences in your car or in your home.

Open your car door, turn on your TV, remotely monitor the heat in your home, schedule times for your coffee maker to mix up your favorite brew, wireless communication for new and exciting listening experiences in your car, and the list goes on and on AND ON … 

The car industry not only gets it, they are embracing it.  I bought a Ford Edge in early 2009, it came equipped with a system called SYNC that connects my phone to the audio system via blue tooth (wirelessly) – an awesome idea that has indeed changed my experience inside the vehicle.  Ford expanded my music listening options to Pandora, Spotify, Songza – whatever I can do on the internet via my phone I can have through the audio system in the car.  Car makers these days are taking this idea many steps further – embedding the technologies right into their consoles with voice command control.  4G and built-in wifi can turn your entire vehicle into a mobile device.  Audi is banking on it, marketing their A3 Sportback as “The world’s biggest smartphone”.  Imagine your car delivering geo-local advertising via your touchscreen and GPS systems. Serving up ads, coupons or specials based on where you are in that moment.  Your phone can already do this, if you ask it to…

I feel like I’ve been operating in the dark.  Of course this is coming – this is already here!

Paul Berney of the Mobile Marketing Association looks to Gen Z for future behavior, coining the phrase “click and find, click and know, click and buy”. Mobile devices are akin to Google in the sense that just as Google stands between you and your consumer as an information provider, your mobile device stands between you and your consumer as potentially THE mechanism delivering your brand experience.  Savvy marketers understand that the phone is just a tool; how your brand actually interacts with mobile consumers in real time is what really translates to $$.

JWT summed it up (by the way their report is fascinating, this post focuses on only one of the thirteen trends – go check it out) – “The challenge will be to design experiences that truly enhance the value delivered to the user.”  Yep, the pace of learning for marketers is about to go warp speed.  Are you ready to deliver?

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