Unilever and John Lewis bag nominations for The Drum’s Marketing on Mobile Awards as judges reveal key mobile marketing lessons

Unilever, John Lewis and Google lead the nominations for this year’s Marketing on Mobile Awards (MOMAs) as the marketer judges shared their secrets on how to be a success on smaller screens.

A who’s who of some of the biggest names in marketing were announced today (9 April) as contenders for accolades including most effective mobile advertising campaign and most innovative use of mobile.

The decisions were made during a passionately debated event in London last week (2 April) when judges from both brands and agencies praised the high level of entrants. The role of apps in the marketing mix and the advent of personalised content were among the recurring themes the judges felt signalled a shift in how brands now see mobile as a way to monetise consumer behaviours instead of just trying to monetise ad space on smaller screens.

Chairman of the MOMA judging panel and Sony Mobile’s head of digital media and mobile marketing Nick Buckley, said the nominations represented “a fantastic use of brand integration, reaching a niche target audience, delivering a genuine reason for customers to interact and engage with the brand”.

“It’s been truly refreshing to see such a high level of entries. What has stood out with the top entries is the clear and concise application of insights and research to deliver mobile first campaigns which effectively communicate and deliver upon the campaign objectives.”

The Awards, which are sponsored by Adobe, Celtra, Mapp Media and Weve, will take place Marriott Grosvenor Square next month (28 May). Details on how to book your table can be found here.

There was a marked increase in the number of true cross channel campaigns among this year's nominees, indicating that mobile is increasingly baked into integrated strategies. Developing this approach is easier said than done and The Drum caught up with some of the judges to get their top tips for how to make mobile marketing a success.

Mobile is not its own entity

The hype around mobile is clouding the view of the channel for many marketers. Instead of seeing it as the backbone of an ever-expanding online eco-system, they’re treating it as a separate channel that is holding back their ability to exploit the ubiquity of the medium.

The judges noted how those forward-thinking MOMAs entrants that had adopted this way of thinking had emerged as strong award contenders.

Hannah Buitekant, director of mobile at MailOnline, said brands should not look at mobile as its own entity. It is “another way to engage with users across the internet,” she continued with the Internet being “one big” network of platforms.

“The best tip I would recommend to a marketer is to look at the key ways people engage with their [mobile devices], be it looking at their calendar or social sharing, it comes back to personalisation."

The rise and rise of mobile apps

In a marketing landscape dominated by personalisation and native ads, apps are emerging as the key for those companies looking to leverage CRM and direct marketing. Once a marketer has an app, they often have permission to talk to the customers who download it.

The realisation is driving a recovery from an app hangover with marketers getting more sophisticated in how they push them into larger social and digital media plans.

Nick Buckley, head of digital media and mobile marketing at Sony Mobile, said the role of apps is to provide “relevancy and context to customer needs”. “Clearly apps can deliver far more functionality than web based solutions,” he added and so its about rooting the design in offering a personalised experience.

Ben Phillips, global head of mobile at MediaCom, agreed with the statement and added that the resurgence of apps is fuelling the view of mobile as a data point as well as an engagement tool.

“We start to look at the growth in connected consumers [when considering the role of apps]”, added Phillips. “The mobile phone and the application become a very standard interface for that. Also the way we’re starting to measure and understand user engagement with the applications has got a lot deeper. We’re now able to create and design better apps then we’ve seen before.”

Mobile needs to win more of the media mix

From video to email, social to native, marketers need to start weighting their strategies toward the mobile iterations of these media if they are to cut through to the connected consumer. It emerged as one of the key themes during the judging according to MediaCom’s Phillips and now forms the starting point of many discussions with advertisers hoping to crack the space.

To achieve this goal, brands need data and insights. Sony Mobile’s Buckley said data was key to fuelling the proliferation of intelligent ads in highly personalised experiences on mobile in real-time.

“The key is to use data and insights to really deliver core messaging and core objectives as part of a brief,” he added. “As part of that we try to use mobile to personalise the message and create relevancy and deliver that in the right context.”

Think how can mobile provide a real service rather than smaller ads

Digital marketers see mobile as the last mile to customer intimacy but stumble because they view users as pieces of data instead of human beings. When done right, mobile marketing should be about nurturing customer empathy by harnessing a person’s mobile usage patterns and those high value touchpoints.

James Chandler, global mobile director at Mindshare, noted how this attitude had been baked into some of this year’s strongest MOMA entrants.

“One of the key themes to emerge from this year’s MOMAs has been around the real life evaluation of mobile,” added Chandler. “Tangible” metrics such as how mobile has driven footfall or sales are more prevalent in the strategies of brands, which are starting to get to grips with providing smart solutions to real problems.

“It is true for the role of apps, particularly with what we’ve seen from the {MOMA entrants} where its about providing a real service that gets around a fundamental problem and change behaviours ultimately.”

Innovation, innovation, innovation

As much as marketers need to master the fundamentals of mobile, they should be mindful of the innovations that are pushing the medium into uncharted territories. Wearable technology and data privacy are two areas set to spark innovations for the foreseeable future, forming one side of what Mindshare’s Chandler called a “double-edged” sword.

“On the one hand you need to get the foundations and the hygiene right,” he added. “At the other end of the scale we see wearable tech and the internet of things as this massive way that is going to accelerate very quickly.

“It’s important to look on the horizon so that we don’t get caught out.”

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