Editor’s note: Here’s a new post in our “Mobile Matters” series, where we seek opinions from advertising industry leaders on the top issues, challenges and opportunities in the fast-changing world of mobile marketing.
Chris Duffey, who just joined Young and Rubicam’s Sudler & Hennessey division as a Senior Vice President and Group Creative Director, answered this question for “Mobile Matters”: What crucial thing do marketers often overlook when creating a mobile campaign?
The biggest misstep marketers make when approaching the creation of a mobile campaign is not respecting the complexity of the mobile ecology. No matter the audience---whether it’s general, direct-to-consumer, or healthcare professionals---mobile is still one of the hardest things we marketers do. First, there’s the enormously vast and fragmented device and technology landscape. For example, there are over 7,000 different mobile device types used to access Facebook each day and at least 12 different mobile operating systems on the market. The creation of mobile campaigns is inherently complex, theoretically encompassing m.sites, apps, social, banners, SMS/MMS, gaming, and much more.
Given the complexities of mobile, the importance of storytelling is much more fundamental to a successful mobile campaign. And that narrative must be elastic enough for convergence into a larger multiscreen campaign. Mobile truly is a unique channel in this hyper-connected world, it's also a fundamental and indispensable part of all our lives at this point.
Take Summly, for example, an app that 15-year-old Nick D'Aloisio created. He's one of the youngest people to receive a round of venture capital in technology. An amazing success story, but even more amazing is his (and Summly's) innate ability to understand and embrace how mobile is used: "Summly celebrates the summarized version of a website or article." It’s a spot-on insight on how users consume and engage with content on mobile.
Luke Wroblewski (of Luke W) has been preaching a mobile-first approach for a few years, and brands, marketers and agencies need to continue to look at their mobile campaigns through that lens. By now, we all know that mobile campaigns that are made to solely disrupt are doomed to fail---instead, it’s all about engaging content in the right context that is served up and delivered through designs inspired by user experience. Form should enable functionality. Ultimately, simplicity should be the end goal with mobile campaigns, but its creation is not that simple. Questions and "healthy debates" pop up at every stage of the mobile campaign development process, such as:
- Native apps, or Web browser apps?
- Android and/or IOS?
- To prototype, or not to prototype?
- What about Rich media ad units?
- What about the IAB Mobile Rising Stars ad units?
- What's the best way to gauge measurability and effectiveness?
- Go with Ethan Marcotte's responsive design, or progressive enhancement?
We’re faced with a seemingly endless list of decisions---and I haven’t even mentioned the 800-pound gorilla in the room, HTML5. Even though the W3C has made HTML5 feature complete, there is still a conversation about its various pros and cons. Some claim that HTML5 levels the playing field while others claim it's a premature technology. Most famously, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg referred to the social networks’ bet on HTML5 as "one of the biggest mistakes, if not the biggest strategic mistake, that we've ever made." And let's not forget near field communication, geofencing, mhealth … where does it all end?
It doesn’t, and that's part of the great allure of mobile. The mobile canvas is infinite and continuously evolving. We're already hearing rumblings of “Mobile's Next Frontier” wearable technology, such as Apple's rumored Smart Watch.
Regardless of mobile's next iteration, one thing is certain: Creating a mobile campaign is mandatory, and in doing so we must continue to create human-focused, game-changing ideas that go beyond. In their recent book “Velocity,” AKQA’s Ajaz Ahmed and Nike's Stefan Olander concluded that “the most powerful force in the universe isn't technology. It's imagination."
Nowhere is that more true than in the realm of mobile. Go forth and create!