Mobile continues to rise up marketing agendas as more people around the world use their phones to go online.
Mobile marketing has been slow to take off however, due in large part to the complexity and diversity of the medium.
Mobile is often isolated as a line item in the marketing budget, or as a tactical or promotional element that supports wider branding or sales drives.
That neglects mobile’s power to holds marketing plans together, noted Leonardo O’Grady, Coca-Cola’s director of integrated marketing communications for Southeast Asia, speaking at this year's Mobile Marketing Association Forum held in August in Singapore.
“You’re creating a network between different touchpoints,” O’Grady said. “It’s not necessarily about ad spend. I think that’s the wrong way of looking at it.”
Sharing the experience
Coke often receives proposals based on an app, or a pop-up ad, O’Grady noted.
“That’s the least interesting use of engagement on mobile,” he argued.
“We need to have the right to be on your mobile. That could be an experience; that could be a piece of film, it could be any number of stimulus. That’s how we look at the value of mobile in our markets.”
Globally, Coke has been advocating the importance of content marketing for a number of years now.
Some of its most notable marketing pushes have been location-specific events that are physically seen by just a few people.
If popular enough however, bystanders record what they see with their phones, and share the experience through digital networks.
Video of a special vending machine installed at the National University of Singapore for example, which dispensed free drinks after being hugged, traversed the world.
“Is that mobile marketing, or experiential spend with the intent of provoking a reaction?” O’Grady asked.
“To us, that’s mobile marketing. We set out to create an engagement.”
The connectivity that mobile offers is key, providing a more useful metric to marketers than smartphone penetration, O’Grady contended, pointing out that many smartphone users in emerging markets don’t subscribe to data plans.
Individual and ecosystem
As an intimate and connected device, working in tandem with social media, mobile will make a bigger impact on Coke’s marketing than any other medium that preceded it, he argued.
Few people, however, are ready to take the plunge.
“The biggest change that’s hit us like a tidal wave, and is revolutionizing our marketing, is social media, and the power of the individual and the ecosystem,” O’Grady said.
“That has forced us to re-engineer the way we think about marketing at a very fundamental basis. The truth is, mobile is the engine of that.
"The problem I face with my markets and my agencies, and even myself sometimes, is that it is underleveraged.”