Is mobile marketing set to reach puberty?

The signs are there that it is becoming easier for marketers to demonstrate the business case for brand building on mobile, a shift brought into sharp focus this week by the announcements of Facebook and Google.

Seb Joseph

The improvements to analytics across multiple devices from Facebook and Google herald a wider acceptance of cross-device behaviour and the pressing need to move beyond the banner.

Brands are more invested in the mobile space than ever before. It used to be that they would set objectives and then the publisher or media owner would have to do it. Increasingly, advertisers are bringing their own creative and targets to the table, reflecting a more mature view of the channel.

FMCG giant Mondelez is stamping its own mobile mindset on upcoming beacons, online video and native content initiatives with retailers and publishers, for example. All efforts are underlined by an understanding that “mobile isn’t just another addition to your marketing strategy”, the company adds. Instead, the focus has to be on how it can be used to overcome business challenges.

For Mondelez, the objective is driving impulse sales in-stores, whereas for Heineken its immediate focus is how a mobile approach to brand building can drive awareness. The common thread is that it’s becoming easier for brands to visualise the customer path in its entirety.

The ability to measure and the increased recognition of mobile influenced outcomes has wider marketing implications. If you look beyond the traditional digital arena where mobile and programmatic are going to collide, marketers can start to think about how they reach consumers through digital out-of-home, digital radio and addressable ads through connected TVs.

There is still work to be done to enable brands to precisely understand the customer journey and the impact of each channel on sales. Wider measurement issues beyond Facebook and Google still plague the industry, while years of blunt targeting and banner ads to mobile devices have made consumers indifferent to creative. Additionally, agencies and media owners could struggle to cope with demand for integrated, end-to-end solutions that make large scale mobile inventory more efficient to purchase.

The best marketing strategies will be those that use mobile in concert with all their physical and virtual touchpoints to provide a cohesive customer experience. The closing losing disconnect between mobile and customer path to purchase will offer up a treasure trove of data for brands to dive into it. They now need to determine what to do with all that additional knowledge.

Like a child in puberty, mobile marketing is in a stage of transition, maturing at a time of uncertainty but does not have enough self-confidence yet to face the wider business world. Time will tell, whether the discipline is destined to stay forever young.

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