The AMPT Effect

Go to a mobile conference and odds are good you will hear the Wayne Gretzky quote, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” We love our sports metaphors and this one is particularly apt for mobile marketing. We’re not sure where it’s going, but we all want to get there.

Recently I noticed factors converging that will influence marketing creative – mobile or otherwise.

These factors are Apple, Mobile, Pinterest, and Timeline, which conveniently spell out a great acronym: AMPT. Each of these things emphasizes high-impact visuals and stripped-down messaging.

  • Apple’s beautiful packaging and no-user-manual-needed elegant user interfaces.
  • Mobile screens that render busy, wordy, unfocused messages and websites unpalatable.
  • Pinterest’s meteoric rise, filling a desire to present the visual expression of a product or idea.
  • Facebook’s Timeline – a more visual representation of your social “life.”

I have always railed against the “nobody reads copy” attitude and have seen many tests where more copy outperformed less and more offers outperformed fewer. But I can’t help feeling that our attention spans are becoming shorter. We need to be grabbed by the lapels in order to arrest our overloaded, flitting brains, and high-impact creative is a great way to do that.

We need to arouse passion in order to get attention and merit sharing. Remember when every website wanted to be a portal and foster community? Well now we have community, but it’s out of our control. In order to have a place in that community, we need to present our products and ideas in beautiful, easy-to-digest nuggets. That means: better visuals, sharper focus, and emphasis on the user experience.

Better visuals mean more time and money. In the early days of digital, I worked for a company that spent hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads, but we couldn’t get Internet rights for images because they were “too expensive.” Still, today we see that the goal for images seems to be to pay as little as possible. “Can’t we repurpose that shot from the catalog and fill it in with a couple of royalty-free images?” In today’s visual world, we need better quality creative – photo shoots, illustrators, unique imagery – and the time to make something amazing.

Sharper focus means ruthlessly eliminating superfluous content. Arm yourself with traffic and click data and user experience test results to fight the political battles.

But most importantly: test. I believe that pared-down copy and high-impact creative is “where the puck is going.” To become the Wayne Gretzky of mobile marketing, you need a winning score. Take a close look at your mobile offerings. Do they arrest attention and deliver a clear message on the small screen? If not, it’s time to get AMPT.

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