Focused on Mobile
PB: Sure. We’ve just elected a new board, we are still around 750 member companies globally, but I think we are seeing a renewed level of engagement under [MMA Chairman] Greg Stewart’s leadership. Greg brings to the MMA what it takes to build a trade association and what you can achieve on behalf of your members. He spent six years at the IAB, which is great experience.
Before Greg’s arrival, I think we were often led in the directions multiple members would pull you in. Now we have someone leading it, and saying: ‘These are the five or six things that you can do because I have tried 20 and I have seen what works and what doesn’t’.
DM: So what are those things?
PB: We have five building blocks as we call them: promotion of industry and channel; education of brands and agencies; measurement metrics insight; guidance for the industry; and protection, which is public policy.
DM: OK, so talk us through what you’re doing in each of those areas.
PB: Sure. The promotion activity is centred on our events business. We recently staged the MMA US Forum in New York, with 1,000 people attending. We have the CEO/CMO Summit in the Dominican Republic, and we are also taking the mobile story to where marketers and agencies are. For example, we had a strong presence in Cannes last month, and we will be at AdWeek in New York in October.
DM: OK, so what about education?
PB: We have a basic introductory education course sponsored by Coca-Cola, which is being delivered to marketing executives around the world, though behind closed doors training sessions for big brands. We are also introducing one-day and half-day courses, where we curate content provided by members from all over the world. The first one of these is on Planning and Buying Mobile Media.
We are also taking some of the training online via an online learning management system, and we are upgrading the Mobile Certified Marketer course we introduced last year, to make it a bit more in-depth; it’s a bit basic at the moment.
On measurement, we are in the middle of two big projects. The first is a measurement of mobile spend globally. We are working on a pilot in N. America. There is no consistent measure of the value of the industry. So we have worked with KPMG to create a consistent definition that works across all markets, so you can compare one country to another in terms of, how much is devoted to advertising, direct marketing, how much is messaging-based. Most media agencies only care about the media spend part of it. Of course, you need to take the media spend into consideration, but you also need to consider the spend on creative, and the real challenge is to make sure you don’t double count.
The second initiative is a cross-media effectiveness study. Here, we are calculating the value of £1 spent on mobile relative to other media channels, so that a brand or agency can say: ‘If we add mobile to a campaign, the likelihood is that it will deliver 2x cinema or 3x print or whatever. We are currently at the RFP (Request for Proposal) stage with research companies, and the first four markets we will look at are the US, UK, Turkey and S. Africa. This is fantastic, because they are very different marketplaces.
DM: OK, so what are you doing on guidance?
PB: We continue to work on creating guidelines for advertising standards. We think we will have an increasing influence in areas such as privacy, where members are coming to us and telling us that they want us to help lead this. It’s not an issue that can be addressed by one company or one constituent audience of the value chain, and we have just held our first European Privacy Committee meeting. By involving all parts of the value chain, we stand a better chance of getting a comprehensive and accepted view of how we might manage it in the future. Right now, we believe that self-regulation is best.
We have also issued guidelines around in-app privacy, and we continue to work with our local councils around the world, bringing together members to interpret our global goals and mission at a local level. Over the last two years, we have strived for global reach but local relevance. The principles of educating brands and promoting the industry need to be different in different countries to ensure they have this local relevance. So when we run a course on media planning, for example, for the S. African version, we need a section on USSD that we would not have in the UK, because we don’t do it over here, but it’s massive over there. Similarly, in Turkey, we will add content around voice ringback tones, because they are big in Turkey.
DM: Just looking beyond the work of the MMA in particular, there are a lot of trade bodies out there serving the mobile marketing industry to a greater or lesser degree. Do you ever see a day where you might all come together?
PB: On the whole, our approach to all other trade associations is that we welcome any effort to promote mobile, but we are distinctly different to everyone else in 2 respects. The first is that we represent everyone in the value chain, and we have a loaded bias that says that our job is to make mobile marketing so successful that it becomes an essential part of the marketing mix for brands and agencies, and we will effect a share shift from the other channels, and we are not interested in other media, such as online. With all the other trade bodies that touch on mobile, there is a conflict, either because mobile is only one part of what they do, or because they only address one part of the value chain. But we are a member-driven organisation, and if our members decide they want us to work more closely with other trade associations, that is what we will endeavour to do.
Paul Berney is CMO and managing director, EMEA, of the Mobile Marketing Association