Tech viewpoint on Mobile World Congress
A view from Jon Hook

Tech viewpoint on Mobile World Congress

Four days in Barcelona won’t automatically help brands find the right route into mobile.

Right now, there is probably more than one marketer stumbling around the cavernous halls of Mobile World Congress struggling to make sense of what he or she has seen. Their feet are blistered and their activity-tracker app has hit record scores for the distance they have walked during this epic four-day event. They have been bombarded with exciting releases about the Internet of Things, connected devices, mobile marketing automation and how mobile apps rule the world, and they are starting to think that it might be a good idea to put an ad on a car windscreen (yes, you can do that). They have seen some whizzy new Android phones, as well as speeches by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg promising rich rewards if they continue their investments in Facebook’s array of mobile advertising products.

The reality, however, is that much of what they have seen is an iteration of what already exists. Marketers need to stay focused on the fundamentals: what is the story your brand is trying to tell, how can mobile technology deliver this to consumers and, most importantly, why would a consumer engage with it?

What is the story your brand is trying to tell, how can mobile tech deliver this to consumers?

For many marketers, a key challenge is understanding the fragmented world of mobile marketing. Brands need to ask: how do I get a single customer view on mobile? And what mobile technology do I need to build relationships with my consumers?

The first step is to identify what you do and don’t know about your audience. Too many brands assume, for example, that all 18- to 35-year-old males are interested in sport. Identify what data you have on the target audience. This will help you discover what data you need to gain a more complete understanding. Location, loyalty or transactional data could all fill the gaps. The next stage is to work out what technology is needed to translate this data into something more meaningful. Do you need mapping or location tools? Do you need push notifications, analytics or mobile marketing automation? More likely, it will be a combination. It’s only when those key questions are answered that brands can start thinking about more executional mechanics such as content, creative and media partners.

Consumers deserve better mobile experiences than a coupon when they walk past a coffee shop or an SMS offer delivered an hour after they left a shopping centre. Or, worse still, a static mobile banner.

It’s time for brands to apply what they have seen at Mobile World Congress. It’s time to empower consumers with connected mobile experiences that make their lives simpler and more connected, ensuring they keep coming back to your brand time and time again.

Jon Hook is the vice-president, advertising, at Phunware