Tom Eslinger: Mobile ad dollars will come if marketers listen

By Brendan Coyne | 17 March 2014

One of the main reasons mobile advertising dollars haven't followed the eyeballs is because people haven't properly understood the medium.

"They are making stuff that is too complicated and not high utility". A lot of what has come so far has "overcomplicated user-experience. it has been designed by marketers more than user experience experts."

That's the view of Tom Eslinger, worldwide director digital & social at Saatchi & Saatchi.

Speaking ahead of AdTech tomorrow in Sydney, Eslinger was optimistic that we are "coming to the end of the age where 'everything needs a mobile app' and where mobile is the tail end of an ad campaign "a bit like banner ads used to be'. Putting the person at the end of the line at the front of the process is becoming the accepted norm, he said, with human insight beginning to trump machine driven iterations.

The four essential pillars make a handy acronym: MIST. That is a "Mobile idea with Intimacy, Social and leads to some kind of Transaction", he told AdNews. "Brands that don't keep that in mind will mess things up for everyone" because the mobile device is so personal, he said. "If you get a text from someone you don't know it is freaky. The more you try to be personal without listening [the worse it becomes]. We tell clients not to be 'always on' but always listening."

Listening is a crucial plank of a "three act story", that also includes data on the customers clients are trying to reach, their habits and devices, married up with the overall idea.

"Every time someone opens their phone they are expecting something to happen. A new message, a social post, a call. The trick is using listening and measurement to work out when to put [the message] out."

That shouldn't be too difficult for marketers that get the basics right, said Eslinger.

"A lot of people over-complicate what mobile is, but there is no need. Don't make it look like spam, make it interesting and personal and something to share. it's the same thing that successful marketers have been doing on the internet. So take the learnings and apply them."

While not all businesses can migrate at speed, he suggested marketers have to "evolve" towards that "and do it fast... rather than carpet bomb with TV advertising".

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