Home  › Media › Mobile

Who Owns Mobile Marketing Strategies?

  |  March 5, 2009   |  Comments

Partnerships between mobile-focused specialty agencies and consumer-focused full-service agencies are inevitable. Here's why.

The question of who owns mobile marketing strategies has been on my mind a lot. Specifically, I've been thinking about how my company should work with mobile specialty agencies.

A few months ago, I attended a mobile marketing workshop where various speakers represented a diverse, cross-section of companies involved in mobile marketing: advertisers, media and creative agencies, mobile marketing firms, publishers, and even public relations and carriers.

One standout presentation by a public relations firm covered how to create a mobile strategy. Clearly, the presenter had thought through how marketing on mobile devices fits into a brand's communications strategy. This firm was happy to share some of its thinking and it was great.

Next up was a presentation by a mobile marketing specialty firm. The presentation, which purported to tell the audience the key things they needed to know to begin marketing in the mobile space, started with a very simple and provocative recommendation: hire a mobile marketing specialty firm. According to this company, the full-service media and creative agencies were cellularly clueless and only specialists could properly implement and execute a mobile campaign.

The rest of the specialist's recommendations were hardly groundbreaking. Many of them were covered by the PR guy.

Do mobile marketing specialists truly dominate the marketplace? To gauge who's leading the mobile marketing charge, I informally polled my contacts at the top mobile Web properties. I asked them where their buys were coming from: full-service media agencies or mobile specialists?

Their answers were fairly consistent: the lion's share of buying was coming from general media agencies and that share is increasing. I came to this breakdown: the generalist agencies account for about 70 percent of mobile media purchases, mobile specialty agencies buy 15 percent, and the remaining portion comes directly from advertisers.

Consumer Adoption of the Mobile Web Makes It Easier

As more consumers use the mobile Web, it's getting easier to reach them. According to a report from JP Morgan that used CTIA and Nielsen Mobile reports, there were about 56 million mobile Internet users in the United States. They project this number to grow to 77 million this year and 105 million in 2010. Smarter devices, better connectivity, and friendlier interfaces will fuel this growth.

The growth of the mobile Web means reaching consumers on their phones can take the form of simply extending an online buy. After all, the top mobile Web sites are very similar to the top PC-based Web sites -- Yahoo, Google, MSN, ESPN, CNN, and Facebook are among the top 10 mobile Web sites.

Creative units are the same (palm-sized banners and text links) and the currencies are the same -- impressions, clicks, CPMs (define), and CPCs (define). The firms that do Internet media and creative well can do mobile Internet media and creative well.

Specialists Are Pioneers

Mobile specialty agencies have the advantage of focus and perspective. Focusing exclusively on one media means the ability to dig a little deeper and spend time with mobile technologies that aren't yet widely adopted in the United States.

Many mobile specialty agencies are global, so they've executed campaigns in the more mobile savvy markets of Europe and Asia. Technologies such as bar code scanning, mobile video, mobile payments, and "augmented reality" have much wider adoption in other countries.

Some of these things will soon be as big in the United States as they are abroad. Others will be like David Hasselhoff's successful European music career -- a mystery to Americans. Regardless, technically oriented executions are where the specialist's focus and global perspective shine.

The Insight Leads

A smart strategy flows from an insight about consumers without any prejudice toward a particular device and media generalists own the insights. At the same time, once it's been decided that mobile is part of the mix (and of course it will be) there are technical considerations involved in executing a mobile campaign, particularly on the creative side, that mobile specialists can help with.

Therefore, partnerships between the mobile-focused specialty agency and the consumer-focused full-service agencies are inevitable. Corporate acquisition and industry consolidation will be a factor as advertising holding companies bring mobile specialists in-house. In many cases, specialists and generalists will recognize the unique things each brings to the table and smart ideas will drive a shared client's business forward.

Now isn't that a nice thought? Maybe I'll make "Kumbaya" my ringtone.

Join us for Search Engine Strategies New York March 23-27 at the Hilton New York. The only major search marketing conference and expo on the East Coast, SES New York will be packed with more than 70 sessions, including a ClickZ track, plus more than 150 exhibitors, networking events, parties, and training days.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Davis Brewer

Davis Brewer is lead strategist of emerging channels for Spark Communications. As the lead strategist, Davis manages the robust expansion of all Spark client activity in the digital advertising space.

He acts as a client resource for the agency's digital futures practice, providing insights and analytics as well as risk management, for the latest emerging advertising opportunities in the digital media space. In this dual role, he continues to oversee his existing list of forward-thinking clients.

Davis began his career at an online advertising agency in San Francisco at the height of the dot-com boom. He quickly became a successful agent in the digital commerce arena after moving back to Chicago, armed with the unique perspective of a bubble-burst veteran.

A pioneer of behavioral targeting online, Davis was named a 2006 Rising Star in "DiversityBusiness" magazine. He received his degree in English from Dartmouth College.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Media newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...
    • Product Specialist
      Product Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreDescription: The Product Specialist is hyper-focused on the customer experience and ensures that our...
    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...