Most Brands Don’t Get Mobile

Although the majority of brands have increased their mobile budgets for 2013, that doesn’t mean that these brands have a clear strategy in place. Nor does it mean that the brands with increased budgets will be successful in mobile.

Digiday spoke to a top executive at a mobile agency on the condition of anonymity about why clients have such troubles with mobile. In this exec’s estimation, brands simply don’t yet understand mobile. They’re still thinking that a mobile app and a few static banners are the equivalent of a mobile strategy.

Do brands get mobile?
Overall I would say no. However, there are individuals within the brands that grasp it from a cursory level or perspective. The biggest challenge is to get a team to think beyond the current fiscal year and tactical campaigns to developing lasting strategies that engage consumers and condition the marketplace to respond to future requests. This is the best way to drive a high ROI in mobile.

What are some unreasonable requests you’ve gotten from clients?
Let’s build an app for a one-off event that had no community building, or lead-generation component to it.

So you’re saying brands still come to you for an app and call it their mobile strategy?
All the time. Some are, however, continuing to evolve and better understand that a mobile strategy is more than building an application. There are some that are just now realizing the value of strategic social media integration into their mobile strategy. We work very closely to ensure we are incorporating every user touch point to drive engagement, call-to-action, and ultimately develop an ongoing tethered relationship. Yet, we still see brands settling for building to iOS and Android development environments and neglecting other platforms and robust mobile Web executions.

Are brands allocating as much as they say they are allocating to mobile?
Absolutely not. The budgets for mobile are dispersed to all aspects of a mobile campaign, and more so to mobile ad buys than anything else.

What are some of the biggest challenges for mobile agencies?
The first is justifying budgets since there are many that believe developing cross-platform interactive mobile experiences is akin to building a microsite. The second challenge is to find a way to differentiate the brand in new ways and reach consumers the way they want to be communicated to in each channel. This is a significant opportunity for companies that understand affinity marketing and associated consumption habits and behavioral/usage patterns.

What are some of mobile’s biggest fallacies?
The first is that brands get mobile and that their agencies of record get mobile. Another is that those that spend the most money in mobile are the most innovative.

What are some myths that your clients seem to believe, pertaining to mobile?
Replicating a webpage on a mobile phone is not enough to have a consumer continue to engage with the brand. Another is placing mobile banner ad buys is doing mobile.