Monday, November 14, 2011

Internet Week EU–Mobile Best Practice Panel

It was a busy week last week – it was Internet Week in London and there were a ton of mobile events as part of that. I moderated two sessions, participated in a round table, went to a dinner and attended two mobile conferences. Even by my standards, that’s quite a lot. There were some recurring themes though…

  • Mobile is still being placed in a silo and not prioritised despite proven results. I heard tell of a bank wanting a mobile presence but not willing to put any budget behind it. Another tale of a large retailer whose mobile commerce offering is highly successful but has been ignored in all the above the line marketing for their Christmas push.
  • Ad agencies are one of the barriers – inability to make margin or add value in a mobile proposition; lack of technical knowledge or expertise; blinded by the iPhone; unwillingness to change their way of working to incorporate mobile thinking to be at the heart of the strategy rather than an add-on
  • Mobile marketing budgets are still relatively small as compared with above the line or even social media budgets (despite ~50% of social media being consumed on a mobile device)
  • Clients lacking technical knowledge and lacking in consumer insight means that mobile initiatives are tactical rather than strategic.
  • Arguably, mobile commerce is core business to many organisations now (in the same way as having a bricks and mortar store or an ecommerce offering), but is not treated as thus
  • We’re still talking about statistics to prove that customers have gone mobile. Surely we know this already and we should be moving on to talking about what we do, how we do it and what we learned in the process?
  • There is an obsession with direct ROI in mobile initiatives and a fast one – a few months, maybe a year. Yet in publishing, a new print magazine would not be expected to break even for three years. The mobile experience is more complex than just looking at the number of hits or click throughs and we should be applying research methods from other marketing and commerce disciplines rather than transplanting online advertising models.
  • Accessibility is barely on the radar at all. It seems to be perfectly acceptable to alienate a large proportion of your customers because they don’t have your preferred device, so what chance do people with impairments or disabilities have when it comes to the big guys making their mobile sites and services more accessible?! Oh, and there are at least 54m disabled people in the US and over 6m of them here in the UK.

Much of this, and more, was discussed in my Internet Week panel session last Thursday at The Hospital. My fellow panellists were James Pimentel-Pinto from full-service mobile agency, AgencyMobile, Shawn Thomson from Largetail, consultant Andrea Bauer and Andy Smith, formerly of Admob (Google) and now with mobile couponing specialist Eagle Eye. There were also some interesting questions and comments from the audience. So if you have 40 minutes or so to spare, you may want to take a look or have a listen. Comments and questions welcome.