No More Mobile Excuses

I was recently in a brainstorm with a large group thinking of ways to bring a new campaign idea to life. During a pause in the discussion, one of the clients said how surprised they were that no one was including mobile ideas – especially considering all the talk they’d been hearing about how mobile is growing so quickly. A few of us chimed in with a variety of reasons why mobile didn’t make sense for their brand right now: our target (women 35-64) has a small penetration for smartphones, our creative campaign couldn’t be brought to life within mobile platforms, mobile couponing was not yet at a point where we could control the output at the opposite end, and on and on.

He stopped all of us to say, I hear all of you saying why not, but shouldn’t we be testing so we’re ready when they are? I walked away from the table intrigued by his point. As advertising professionals, we sometimes spend so much time thinking about the “why not” that we forget to ask the “why we should.”

There are brands in which mobile has made sense as a touch-point for years. For these brands, it was never a question of when the year of mobile would finally get here. It was already here for any brand that was looking for trend setters, gadget-geeks, business professionals glued to their BlackBerry, or young adults whose phone is their lifeline. But what about brands whose target does not fall into these standard mobile target buckets? What is the point when we need to stop telling a brand or clients why not and instead start telling them why they should?

I’ve done some thinking on this since the discussion I mentioned earlier and I think there are four key signs that it’s time to dip the toe in the mobile waters.

Client Request

If you need a clear sign, here’s a flashing neon one. Mobile penetration is now at a point where there really isn’t a target we can say can’t be reached with decent scale on the mobile phone. So if a client wants to test the medium, it’s time to do some digging and find the right way to integrate mobile in to your plans (even if your target does fall on the higher side of the 25-54 demographic).

Creative Execution

The canvas that Apple and some of the other mobile-rich media providers have created for us is truly stunning. I know every creative would be ecstatic to have a space that can move and shift with consumer interaction, house videos and other brand content, and personalize based on consumer choice. Sometimes creative execution does dictate the media platform and mobile truly offers unique creative opportunities.

Cross-Platform Programs

If you’re working through a large partnership that includes multiple touch-points, it’s more than likely that the media partner you’re working with has pretty robust mobile offerings as well. Why not ask them about it and see if what they offer could align well with what you’re doing elsewhere both digitally and offline? Maybe there’s an opportunity to create a call to action using mobile through this cross-platform program.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

This is the simplest reason to recognize and probably the hardest to change once it’s been identified. But think about it, if you’re thinking about mobile enough for your brands and it’s coming up enough that you feel the need to make all the excuses why not, it may make sense to give it a test run and see where it fits in with your client’s goals and objectives. I’m not saying that you need to rush out and build an app when you’ve been walking around with a million reasons why not to do it, but an SMS or simple banner campaign might not be a bad way to see if all your excuses hold water.

I think it’s important as media professionals to stop going from asking for the year of mobile to offering excuses as to why it’s the year of mobile for everybody but our clients. Focus on what is the moment for your client when you need to go from saying “why not” to “let’s give it a shot.”

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