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Getting Mobile Right

  |  April 11, 2014   |  Comments

As we move on from the Year of Mobile to the Age of Mobile, marketers and brands must design for consumer utility and distraction, as the majority of mobile time is spent in an app.

This week I'm speaking at Millward Brown Digital's dCMO summit. The topic: Getting Mobile Right.

I've got my big proclamations ready:

The Year of Mobile is past; we are now in the Age of Mobile.

I've got my data points ready:

  • Facebook's revenue from mobile growth in the last 18 months
  • Twitter usage on mobile devices 
  • Consumer growth potential in smartphone adoption and usage

All I need now are case studies validating that brands have caught onto this and finally realize the Age of Mobile. And that's where this gets really interesting. Because, while consumers continue to walk the walk, brands still struggle to learn the language, let alone talk the talk.

Recently I was with a brand that shared its view on app vs. mobile Web - build for Web because app exposure and usage is problematic and rarely cost-effective. I tend to agree with that philosophy for most brands, except when you consider that mobile Web usage has dropped from a seemingly low 20 percent in 2013 down to 14 percent in 2014.

Sure, some brands are doing things well on mobile - creating content, building followings and facilitating evangelism from the masses, and even knowing when and what to pay to extend that reach and engagement.

But because of the challenges ranging from tracking and privacy on one hand, to poor ad format and inventory options on the other, the number of brands getting it right is not nearly as significant as one would think it should be based on the validity of the bold statement and supporting data above.

So, what can and should brands do to "get it right"? In my opinion, it starts with designing for consumer utility. If more than 85 percent of mobile time is spent in an app, it signals that consumers want utility and distraction. Video content consumption, gamification of life, and quantified or qualified value are paramount to success.

Mobile is currently complicated by hardware manufacturer controls, carriers, app ecosystems, and infrastructure specific to content and advertising. That's all before a consumer may ever come in contact with a brand.

The harsh reality is most brands tie investment in media to investment in understanding a channel. Getting mobile right is definitely about "the life." And for a brand, you will not win in mobile if you believe that what you are winning at is a media channel. This is a consumer transformation that requires business transformation. That's how you get mobile right.


Chris Copeland

Chris Copeland is chief executive officer of GroupM Next, the forward-looking media innovation unit of GroupM. Chris is responsible for curating and communicating insight-focused media solutions across established and emerging platforms. Leveraging his multi-year experience with emerging media companies, Chris is tasked with stewarding GroupM Next in partnership with agency leadership from GroupM's four media marketing and marketing service agencies (Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, and Mindshare). The focus is participating with those companies leading changes that most impact consumer media consumption, brand favorability, and purchase behavior.

Guiding the Predictive Insights, Technology, Research, and Communications teams at GroupM Next, Chris is responsible for overseeing the amplification of insights into opportunities that directly benefit the business of GroupM agencies and their clients. GroupM is the world's largest media investment management group and the media holding arm of WPP. Together, GroupM agencies represent almost $30 billion in overall North American billings (RECMA).

Chris helped guide the development of GroupM Next, which was established to deliver the best thinking and new insights from within the GroupM community. The unit also focuses on technology innovation connecting all media channels, but especially, online, social, mobile, and addressable.

Chris was selected to lead GroupM Next after nine years of leading the search marketing practice within GroupM. Among his accomplishments are the development and integration of the global search marketing offering for GroupM agencies, GroupM Search, which managed $1.3 billion in search billings globally and grew to more than 1,000 search marketing strategists serving 40 countries. In 2009, Chris created the research division of GroupM Search and developed research studies that deepened the understanding of consumer behavior across search and social media for leading brands and garnered global traction - most notably: The Influenced: Social Media, Search, and the Interplay of Consideration and Consumption; The Virtuous Circle: The Role of Social Media in the Purchase Pathway;and From Intent to In-Store: Search's Role in the New Retail Shopper Profile.

Chris entered the digital industry in 1996 when he joined search marketing agency WGI (later acquired by Tempus Group). He has been with the WPP and GroupM family of companies since 2000 when, recognizing search as an emerging media channel with incredible potential for brands, WPP acquired Tempus Group and CIA, and ultimately rebranded the search marketing agency as Outrider. As senior partner and managing director of Outrider, Chris delivered on GroupM's vision for the channel, leading the organization to 500 percent growth with global presence over five years, and establishing award-winning search marketing strategies that have become industry-wide best practices. In 2002, Chris successfully implemented the integration of search into the cross-channel media planning process at MEC, creating the first search marketing practice to sit within a media communications and planning company. In 2007, he guided the business expansion of search marketing practices into all GroupM agencies. In 2009, Chris was named CEO of GroupM Search, where he was responsible for driving global search strategy for the organization, while fostering the innovative application of search as an integrated channel. In his role, Chris also provided digital strategy counsel for clients, including AT&T, Dell, Audi, Volkswagen, and more.

Chris is an active member on advisory boards at the 4A's, Google, Yahoo, MSN, and I-COM. He is a frequent speaker in global forums discussing the digital marketplace and how the space is evolving, and serves as a regular resource to national and industry press. Chris contributes editorial commentary regularly to Advertising Age, ClickZ, MediaPost, and MediaBizBloggers.com. In fall 2013, Chris was honored as an inductee into the ClickZ Digital Hall of Fame.

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