The emergence of the mobile phone as the seventh mass medium is hardly a surprise.
It has been anticipated for at least the last decade but the use of cellphones for activities other than the making of calls and sending of text messages only really reached a tipping point in 2006 and today has already established a critical mass of “early majority” usage. Phones are just not phones anymore but rather cameras, MP3 players, TV’s, Instant Messaging terminals, media sharing devices and increasingly mobile wallets.
And in developing economies with typically low levels of access to the fixed internet (not only because of high bandwidth charges but also because of the hardware barrier) the mobile phone represents the only internet access opportunity.
While the majority of mobile media inventory is currently used for display of marketing messages with a direct response objective, – e.g. direct sales of a content item, lead generation or survey response – there is no doubt that an increasing amount of media investment is beginning to flow to mobile where the communication objective is more traditional e.g. brand awareness, brand building, purchase intent building etc.
I have no doubt that this trend will continue to build and in developing markets, to grow exponentially.
Interestingly, even from an industrialised market perspective research just completed in a series of Adindex for Mobile® studies (more here) in the US and UK to measure the branding effects of mobile advertising campaigns across a number of industry sectors, suggest some very positive impacts:
- an average increase of 23.9% in ad awareness
- an average increase in brand favourability of 5.4%
- an average increase in purchase intent of 4.7%
Get more detail here.
If you would like more information about this report please request it by writing to me from here.
Of course in mobile, unlike in most traditional media, a high percentage of advertising impressions trigger further brand engagement and interactivity after the initial advertising impression has been served, providing the opportunity for a dialogue and active brand discovery rather than just a broadcast.
Another important insight is that the medium itself is also the brand engagement, response and viral distribution channel!
I expect an increasing number of brands to start including mobile into their overall media mix for investment from their brand budget – not only their below the line budget, although most of them will be conservative initially and allocate fairly small portions to mobile.
Brand marketers like Proctor and Gamble (P&G) have recently arrived at an important insight: in many markets around the world the mobile phone is at the centre of consumers’ lives and is the first and only “screen” for the presentation of a brand message and active customer engagement.
To get a brilliant sense of what that might mean in practice, have a look at this: Education for all
The fact that P&G have created a position with the title “Global Head of Mobile Marketing” – with a mandate to ensure the effective and large scale use of the mobile medium for execution of P&G brand marketing objectives especially in the BRIC countries, Africa and the Middle East – is an early indication of a trend amongst progressive global consumer goods companies.
The P&G job is held by Khurram Hamid and in a presentation at a recent MMA event in Budapest Khurram observed “P&G has been a TV centric company for 70 years but their consumers and media are changing so they recognise the need to change too..”
Khurram also confirmed something that I have also observed in South Africa and that is the fact that innovation in new media is often driven by the brand custodian rather than the ad agency and in many cases brand managers are far more likely than their agencies to push for inclusion of mobile as an important part of their media mix.
This places agencies who do not take mobile seriously at risk of being disintermediated and implies that both media planning and creative agencies need to build the capacity to effectively service the inclusion of mobile in the marketing mix.
In South Africa we have recently seen some good examples of the effective use of mobile in pure brand executions by companies like Coca Cola (Happiness Factory was a fantastic case study), Nike, Samsung, Nokia, Toyota, Brandhouse and Unilever.
I am aware of many others currently in development indicating a trend toward the broad adoption of mobile by brand marketers through 2009.
By the end of 2011 I expect “pure” brand investment in mobile to exceed that of direct marketing investment in the medium.
Does your brand have a mobile media strategy and is your agency equipped to deliver?