Opinion: Mobile means agile so don't stand still

Travis Johnson
By Travis Johnson | 13 March 2014
Current CEO of Mnet Travis Johnson

I'm not sure if Aussie marketers feel their global offices will take care of things for them, are scared by technology and the potential complexity it infers, are not sure who is ultimately responsible for innovation/integration, or are still focused on getting the basics done right - like an optimised mobile and tablet site, or leveraging their customer data?

Whatever the reason there seems to be reluctance by most marketers to embrace the integration of mobile technology in their marketing efforts to provide optimal consumer experiences.

I was fortunate enough to attend the just-completed 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Roughly 80,000 people attend and 2,000 companies exhibit their wares. Underlying the event were some clear themes:

Sensors in everything
Whether they are in cars, throughout your household, or on you as a person, everything can be monitored and measured. A great example – if somewhat crazy – is the Oral B internet enabled toothbrush. It monitors your brushing, allows you to view your habits and technique via a smartphone app, and sends the data to your dentist who can then provide recommendations and/or adjust your toothbrush settings.

Wearable technologies
It’s not just about Google Glass. The most effective wearable technologies are the ones where you don’t change your habits – the smarts are included in the watch you wear (rather than an extra Nike Fuel / Fitbit), or woven into the fabric of your clothes rather than stuck on. Such t-shirts can monitor your journey, body heat, heart rate and motion.

The “Internet of Things” (IoT)
This is basically the internet enablement of everything. If you see it and it moves, or doesn’t move, make sure it connects to the ‘net. A key part of this is Machine-to-Machine communication whereby computers no longer need humans and just talk among themselves. For example a self-driving car that checks what’s ahead by asking the car in front, and asks the petrol station how busy they are before pulling in to fill up.

NFC everywhere
With Apple's market share being challenged in most markets by Android and other NFC-enabled phones, NFC as a means to interact is gaining serious traction globally. It was the dominant feature of the 'Connected Worlds' exhibit and throughout the Congress. And if you owned an iPhone you could get a cover that would NFC enable your device.

Cars
Ford has boldly said that “Cars are the smartphones of the future" and all manufacturers predict 80% of new cars by 2020 will be connected. These cars will use mobile technology to ease congestion, avoid accidents, save fuel and help the environment through efficient running.

Retail and mobile
Walmart shared an impressive amount of data – on Black Friday 55% of their web traffic came through mobile devices, and when they sold out of a sale item, you could still order it via your mobile whilst in store at the time and receive the discount. They also shared why mobile is so important to their channel planning; whilst only 0.8% of their sales were directly through mobile, their studies show that over 20% of purchases are directly assisted by mobile.

Big Data
Still a dominant topic. There are more and more data sources available and the companies making the most sense of it are benefiting. In addition to customer data and more accurate in-store data, telcos are opening up more data to enable greater ‘context’ and leveraging this for their own upsell purposes, partnering with big marketers and also media partners.

Cloud
One of the best quotes was “streaming is the new owning”… and I reckon it’s true. We used to own DVDs and CDs, but now if we can get the music anytime we want and anywhere we want - do we care that we don’t physically own it?

So, what does all of this mean for marketers?

1. Get your mobile house in order. Have a tailored mobile site, optimise the tablet experience, perhaps even create some utility and desire through an App.

2. Learn about your tech infrastructure and be on the lookout for how technology can enhance your marketing. When you suggest an idea, don't take the CTO's initial NO as a final answer.

3. Think… if you could internet-enable every part of your business, what would it look like? Imagine putting sensors on/in your product, on your customers, sales team, merchandise team, delivery vehicles, fridges/shelves and more

4. Then if you internet enable all of these elements, how can they 'talk' to each other, machine-to-machine? And what benefit can this provide your customer?

5. If the car your customers drive will be soon be connected, what could it do? What app can you create that delivers utility and value to them, and enhances the way they interact with your brand? And once they step out of their car, and look at their watch or glasses, where will your brand and product feature?

6. What use can you make of your own data, and what can you combine it with for exponential impact when targeting current and prospective customers? It's already happening overseas. There are already case studies and proof-points.

If you don't move quickly, your competitors will. Ultimately the companies that understand their customers the most, and provide the best experiences will be the ones that win.

Travis Johnson
CEO
Mnet

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