M&C Saatchi Mobile CEO James Hilton and newly announced judge of The Drum MOMAs predicts what's big in mobile for 2014

M&C Saatchi Mobile global CEO and founder, James Hilton, has come on board as a judge of this year’s The Drum MOMAs (Marketing on Mobile Awards).

With over 18 years' experience in direct response marketing strategy, Hilton has held senior positions at media and consumer brands including WeightWatchers and Guardian Media Group. Inside Mobile, the mobile marketing consultancy he launched in 2006, was rebranded as M&C Saatchi Mobile after M&C Saatchi acquired a majority stake in 2010.

Ahead of the MOMAs judging, The Drum catches up with Hilton to discuss developments in the mobile space and his favourite mobile campaigns of 2013.

What was your favorite mobile campaign or event in mobile of 2013?

I feel there were far too many brilliant campaigns launched in 2013, and picking out one would be virtually impossible. Anything that utilises the features of the smartphone in a contextually relevant environment is a winner, in my eyes. The entire mobile industry has pushed the boundaries in 2013 and should be applauded. In terms of events, Mobile World Congress and CES were two standout events with new ad formats pushed out at the beginning of the year, and new hardware like the iBeacon at the end.

What is the most exciting event in mobile you expect from 2014?

Big data – with the rise of programmatic buying we are testing practices we could have only dreamed about just a couple of years ago.

Google Glass – is it overhyped or worth the excitement? Why?

Presently hyped, yes, but this I believe it is down to a lack of software – after all, how good would a smartphone be with no apps? Clearly, wearables offer consumers and marketers huge benefits and one would be brave to bet against Google.

According to the IAB, media agencies are diverting on average 15 per cent of digital spend towards mobile – how do you see that trend developing over the coming months?

Many of our clients are seeing portable devices as first screen so I can only see this figure rising. Exposure to increased tracking capabilities also shows the big guys that spending on mobile can be tracked and that the investment is valid.

Mobile is still a problem for many marketers when it comes to judging how much to spend – is there any advice you would offer to them in determining how important it is for their marketing communications to run across mobile devices?

We have been servicing global brands with mobile media solutions since 2006 and in all honesty, each and every client has a different reason to invest in the channel. Our strategy is to take each individual client and map out their mobile footprint from the get go. Our research departments work with each client to ensure they truly understand the opportunites mobile possesses for their individual brands, both in the short and long term.

What mobile devices do you own?

I own numerous smartphones but am currently using and absolutely loving my Nokia Lumia 1020 as my main device. I have an iPad Mini for my tablet.

If you could or planned to upgrade or change – which ones would you choose?

I wouldn’t change my smartphone. The 1020 gives me everything I want and more and I’m really pleased with it. If I could change anything I would look to swap the iPad for a Windows tablet – they look great.

Hilton is joined on the Drum MOMAs judging panel by the likes of Anthony Rose, co-founder and CTO at Zeebox, Mondelez International’s Sonia Carter, and Julian Smith, head of strategy and innovation at Fetch, to name just a few.

Read our Q&A with fellow judge, Havas Worldwide London CEO Russ Lidstone, here.

The Drum MOMAs, which rewards effective mobile marketing campaigns and strategies, is now open for entry with a deadline of 28 February. All information on Awards registration and entry can be found on the The Drum MOMAs website.