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“Mobile has moved from ‘nice to have’ to being integral to growth” – Q&A with Catherine Cherry, Sony Mobile Communications marketing director

The Drum speaks to Catherine Cherry, marketing director UK & Ireland for Sony Mobile Communications, to discuss her predictions for mobile in the coming months, including why she believes Candy Crush will become a benchmark for future mobile games.

Cherry is one of the judges of this year’s MOMAs (Marketing on Mobile Awards), which is currently open for entry.

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

With the average mobile user reaching for their phone around 100 times a day we will encounter a much more aggressive landscape as brands compete to get their attention. We’ve moved from the time when a mobile strategy was a ‘nice to have’ to being integral to growth – any brand that neglects this area will fall behind.

More fundamentally, consumer behaviour will continue to evolve and there is a massive revolution to come in the way smartphones connect to other devices in the home and when out-and-about. Wearable tech will open up new ways to interact with technology and mean that consumers won’t always have to reach for their smartphone to see the information they want, which will bring a new challenge for advertisers hoping to get some ‘on-screen’ time. The smartphone is already acting as a second screen to devices such as TVs and the PlayStation 4 – with one-touch connectivity through NFC, it is becoming easier and easier to connect the smartphone to different devices and developers are sure to capitalise on this trend.

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

I just can’t answer this question without mentioning one of our own campaigns that I am extremely proud of: Xperia Access – your exclusive window into the world of Sony. This socially led campaign was designed for mobile, serving up music-related bite-sized chunks of content over the summer months to keep people entertained whilst on-the-move. Consumers could watch exclusive content, enter competitions and get access to exclusive performances at events such as V Festival. We had a huge response from consumers and have decided to continue it in 2014 – watch this space!

Adidas Lights up NYC was another favourite in 2013. It targeted consumers within a three mile radius of Penn Station, with ads on mobile media encouraging them to visit the station to see the Adidas' 'Light You Up' light show featuring Lionel Messi. Thousands of people turned up and it generated a lot of buzz for the brand, while being focused and highly relevant for the consumers who were targeted through media.

Finally, I think Candy Crush has to get a mention here! Whether you love it or hate it, the way they integrated social sharing into the game was very smart and will certainly become a benchmark for future games.

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

Definitely worth the excitement. Even if the first products have not been good enough for it to go mainstream, technology blooms when it makes people’s lives easier or better and there is an obvious benefit to getting information effortlessly (which is the basic advantage of Google Glass). Once this technology matures to become more intuitive, better looking and better integrated to your smartphone it will take off.

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?

People are spending more and more time on their smartphones and tablets, so I think it will continue to increase. Brands and agencies will also get smarter about when mobile is the right platform for a campaign or message.

Mobile can be 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?

I don’t think there is a magic number. It’s important to think about where it fits in the customer journey and what you want the call-to-action to be. To make the most of mobile advertising you need to think differently – it’s not like most media where you know roughly the environment that the consumer will be in when they see it (think about someone seeing a billboard on their commute); but on the other hand you can do micro-targeting to a postcode or specific type of mobile device.

Cherry is joined on the MOMAs judging panel by Havas Worldwide London CEO Russ Lidstone, Indy Saha of Google Creative Lab and M&C Saatchi Mobile's James Hilton, to name just a few.

The MOMAs, which rewards effective mobile marketing campaigns and strategies, is now open for entry with a deadline of 28 February.

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