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‘Mobile marketing is not a switch brands can flick on’, says Mindshare mobile chief James Chandler


By Seb Joseph, News editor

January 19, 2015 | 6 min read

Mobile marketing is not a switch brands can flick on once they decide that they want to make more of the channel - a mindset marketers will only break once they start treating it as a way people behave, according to Mindshare’s global mobile director James Chandler.


Mobile has huffed and puffed as an advertising tool, promising brands untold riches but often falling short of the hype. Much of its progression has been stunted by advertisers’ reluctance to move beyond the banner amid pressure to deliver a direct mobile return and a failure to use it in concert with other physical and digital touchpoints.

But there are signs that brands are finally breaking free from their traditional mindsets. The rise of the “mobile native” – a generation who’s mobile experience of brands, experiences, products and service is through mobile not TV, print or desktop - is forcing advertisers to adapt or fall by the wayside in the battle for younger customers, said Chandler.

“This ‘mobile native’ audience is like no other we’ve seen before – no sense of the physical and digital worlds being two separate things, falling attention spans and an instinctiveness to swipe, gesture and touch rather than click, drag and hover”, he added.

“Of course for ‘mobile natives’, the concept of not being online will be an alien one - in effect, it’s the death of dead time. Brands should be future-proofing their business to enable them to build a relationship with these Generation Z consumers - it means a fundamental shift in the way they think creatively about content."

Key to this transition in 2015 will be the rise in case studies on wearables and beacons technology, Chandler predicted. Both technologies have the potential to help brands close the disconnect between mobile and the customer path to purchase if marketers are able to avoid past mistakes and leverage insights capable of turning it into a premier advertising channel.

Chandler said: “Beacons more broadly – not just Apple’s version – have the potential to disrupt (in a positive way) the high street & bricks and mortar retailers, but only if as marketers we spend time discovering what works for consumers.

“We, shamefully, were responsible for the decline of QR codes – an amazing mobile mechanic that gets someone from the physical world to the digital one very easily. As marketers, we overcomplicated the user journey and more often than not, served up a poor end experience for those that bothered pull out their device and scan a code. Proximity marketing in general should be treated care, we’ll only really get one shot to get it right.”

The long term challenge for brand and agency is harnessing mobile to tackle real-life business problems.

"If you start with mobile first to answer a problem, rather than a promotions or 30 sec TV ad or double page print spread then you come out with a very different, and arguably much more exciting & relevant solution", said Chandler.

"We’ve used mobile-first ideas to help clients reduce queues in branches, bring the most innovative elements of a car to consumers on their train journey into work and start to join up physical and digital by linked real-life in store actions to actual mobile usage.”

Chandler spoke to The Drum as one the judges for 2015’s Mobile on Marketing Awards (MOMAs). The MOMAs, sponsored by Weve, is now open for entries for its fourth year, and looks to celebrate the most effective and innovative work carried out in the mobile industry. The Drum asked Chandler what he would be looking out from this year’s entries.

The Drum: What will you be looking to see from entries to the MOMAs?

Chandler: Mobile-first ideas that you couldn’t do on any other media or channel. Also, genuine integration of mobile across physical & digital

The Drum: You worked on a mobile rich media partnership with Celtra in 2012 – what did this mean for the industry and how did you achieve it?

Chandler: I think the success of our Celtra partnership is one of my proudest achievements. When we entered into it, we recognised trying to tell brand stories using static banner ads on mobile was ineffective. Mobile devices offered so many unique features over and above desktop – that it seemed crazy that what we’d seen work on a bigger screen would do the same on one smaller. Celtra helped up create processes and frameworks to make and track brilliant mobile ads – an now helping us do cross-screen. Together, I’d hope we demonstrated the industry the importance of the message as well as the media on mobile. I think Celtra is an incredible creative canvas, so am still surprised that creative agencies haven’t utilised it more to complete embrace mobile. I think they have their own challenges commercially around mobile, especially vs. legacy media like TV, print & outdoor.

The Drum: What is the most exciting development (or developments) around mobile at the moment? What do you predict will be big for 2015?

Arguably wearables – but definitely beyond fitness bands & watches. In the Apple Watch announcement this year, you saw glimpses of a device that will cater for early tech adopters as it will fashionistas. Wearable technology will be truly embrace by the mainstream when it becomes available on a wide scale in clothing, watches and jewellery. From everything Apple Watch related to 2015’s iteration of Google Glass, wearable technology will be the most talked about technology space next year.

More information on The Drum MOMA Awards can be found on the dedicated website.

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