Mobile: brands paying lip service

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No advertising & marketing industry conference is complete without the mention of mobile being the ‘next big thing’. Everyone agrees that the platform offers great potential and speaks of the need for a ‘mobile-first’ approach. A few categories (like banking and e-commerce) feel the need to deliver a great brand experience on the mobile. At a basic level, that experience simply means a mobile-optimised site and probably making use of geolocation (if that is important). In my view, mobile is out of most companies and brands’ radar and low in priority when it comes to marketing spends. TV delivers the goods for many categories (especially FMCG) and not surprisingly attracts the lions share of media investments, time and effort. Despite ‘Kan kajura tesan‘ mobile investments (and I mean more than just the monies) are limited to search and display ads mostly.

Even in categories where mobile is relatively more important (e.g. automobiles) display advertising has not gone beyond the standard, horizontal banner. Worse still, sometimes such banners are not even targeted right. I have seen ads for a basic telecom service (aimed at first time internet users) served on premium devices like the iPhone 6 inside a news app. There could be engaging, rich media ads which truly break clutter (like the ones Steve Jobs previewed for iAds) and are out of the ordinary – but I have not come across even a single such example on my phone or iPad. Anyways, the larger point is that everyone keeps talking about content being the differentiator but not doing much about that in the mobile space. Going digital and creating long-format films for YouTube is good enough I guess. Shockingly, even trade portals covering industry news & trends have atrociously designed mobile sites. Less said about mobile apps the better. In many categories (especially where brand loyalty is low), mobile games can play a crucial role in creating user engagement. For example, think of the possibilities a tag line like ‘Change the game’ offers in bespoke mobile games. Am I being too pessimistic in saying that we only pay lip service to ‘being mobile’ here?

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  1. You’ve nailed it, though it’s most true for mobile this can be seen in so many industries, cause it’s so easy to talk, but so difficult to walk that talk.

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