In Search of Emotional Connection
The organisers of the Mobile Marketing 2005 conference, where I have just spent an informative and entertaining morning, must be delighted with the turnout - 170 delegates - and with the quality of speeches and presentations they heard.
I was interested to look down the list of attendees. A fairly unscientific count revealed a roughly 75:25% agency:client split. So there were roughly three times as many people there from agencies, network operators and others involved in the mobile marketing business, than there were users and potential users of mobile marketing.
Client companies attending included the likely suspects - Coca-Cola,Britvic, RBS - and the less likely - Henkel Loctite Adhesives, Mattel and Costcutter to name but three - together with a good smattering of public sector bodies, including the COI and HM Revenue & Customs. I would imagine that if the conference is repeated next year, and the current momentum is maintained, something in the order of a 50:50 agency: client split would be desireable, and probably achievable.
As for today's event, not surprisingly, there was much optimism in the air, though also, a good deal of realism from those who have been here before and seen the enthusiasm for, and interest in, mobile marketing evaporate, prior to its current resurgence.
"We mustn't do what we did a couple of years ago, we mustn't get complacent" cautioned Eden Zoller, Research Director at Ovum.
On a more positive note, Ilika Shelley, a consultant at Digital Public, reminded delegates that as a medium, mobile is "as widely available as TV".
But for my money, the most telling comment of the morning came from Coca-Cola Marketing Manager James Eadie. He sounded an optimistic note, saying:
"Mobile marketing could be phenomenally important, if you look at the penetration figures for handsets, and the passion for it. As a way of connecting with our audience, it ought to be phenomenally powerful, and through that lens, we ought to be spending 50% of our budget on it."
Before any of the agency personnel present had time to mob Eadie, however, he added:
"Until such time as the digital platform can help us connect emotionally with consumers,in the way we can with a 30-second TV commercial, we are always going to struggle."
When Mobile Marketing asked Eadie when this emotional connection he seeks might be achievable via the mobile channel he told us:
"It could be next year, it could be next decade, it could be never."
Therein lies the challenge for the mobile marketing industry. Let's hope it's up to it.
Editor, Mobile Marketing Magazine