As much as we can’t label mobile users with the same brush, we can’t put advertising agencies in a homogenized group of either “mobile smart” or “mobile inept”.
Still, it is hard to argue the point that improvement is possible, even necessary.
Why? According to eMarketer, by 2019 mobile ad spend will reach $65 billion in the U.S. alone, accounting for almost 75 percent of total digital ad spend.
In writing my new book, The Art of Mobile Persuasion artofmobilepersuasion.com, I visited some of the brightest minds in mobile, marketing and business, seeking answers to the toughest questions facing marketers and agencies in the mobile era. Answers came from Google, The Coca-Cola Company, REI, ESPN, Lowe’s, Expedia, Lord & Taylor, Havas, Wundeman, and more.
Here are four of their recommendations for agencies:
Use Mobile As More Than A “Delivery Service”
“Overall, in general, I think clients are way ahead of agencies on mobile,” Hank Wasiak, the five-decade agency vet and the former vice chairman of McCann Erickson and, told me. “They understood it better and first. They recognized that they couldn't do things the old way and their compensation models weren't tied to all of these things.”
Agencies are getting better but they are not nearly as far in seeing the importance of the mobile first mindset.
“I challenge you to walk into an agency, say that you are going to do a campaign and say ‘give me your ideas in about 3 hours’,” Wasiak said. “Not one is going to optimize around the mobile experience. I'll give you $1,000 if you find one. (Instead) they still say ‘here's a great commercial.’
“They look at mobile as more of a delivery device for their creative work. It is supposed to be something where they can creatively integrate their ideas. Mobile is just a big turnaround for them and then they don't get it yet. I feel clients get it better. They all agree with it.”
Put Data Specialists and Creatives In the Same Room
“On the agency side, it's connecting the data people with the agency folks,” Sean Lyons, Global Chief Digital Officer at Havas, said to me. “We're doing that more and more and making sure that we build teams that are integrating together and looking to solve these problems.”
I challenged Lyons on the notion that the left brains and right brains in agencies have come to accept one another. That would be a seismic and welcome change.
“With mobile, it's finding those right moments, he said. “It's not necessarily in the launch of a new product where we have to create broad attention and awareness. It might be regarding a loyalty program for a coffee company or a beverage company. And about how to look at their existing customers -- how they use the product, how often they consume it and where. Creatives love to hear that stuff because it's actual real material they could use to develop ideas against. That tangibility is something that is irreplaceable.
“Many brands are still very reliant on television and television can work for them and their product and their category and they are busy experimenting with many other things. The agency's job is to morph and adapt to the client's organization and do our best to bring the right people to the table. In our industry in general, I think there's a lack of data intelligence being applied to the creative process. It's not either or. You need to blend instinct and creative gut with sharp, data driven insights.”
Lyons is convinced that while everything has changed with mobile, the role of the agency has fundamentally remained the same.
“In an agency, you need to be the steward of the brand with the brand,” he said.
Yesterday is Gone -- Get The Ball Rolling Today
An additional factor in relatively slow mobile use, in some cases, is the time it takes to get client buy-in.
“With a lot of our clients, we have big idea meetings,” Julie Rezek, Managing Director, Wunderman, Seattle, explained to me. “That's where we pitch a lot of these innovative things to get them out of their comfort zone. We actually put a proposal in front of them so they can see what to do.
“We were pitching a client, and after a year, they said, ‘Yes, we're in’. Every client has the intention of doing something great. But it totally depends are they an old school organization? Are they progressive? Are they risk-takers? Everyone lives in a different state of that world every day.”
Among the concerns for brand managers is the way reinvented marketing initiatives will affect business results.
“Given clients having to meet stock market pressures and revenues and ROI, there are a lot of people who are there mentally, but I've never come to a point where a client is pushing us harder than we are pushing them,” Rezek told me.
Reassess Your Agency’s Requirements For Job Roles
“Nowadays you can work in marketing when you are interested in technology,” Mario Schulzke, an accomplished, 30-something digital marketer and agency veteran who is Assistant Vice President of Marketing at the University of Montana Schulzke. “Fifteen years ago if you were interested in numbers, every agency had one accountant, one CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and a couple of bookkeepers. Nowadays every agency has 10 analysts. All they do is crunch numbers and analyze numbers. So now if you're in college and are interested in working with numbers, working with money, working with data, all the sudden there is an avenue within in marketing.
“The modern marketer that we're seeing emerge from our undergraduate and graduate programs is that much stronger from a data analysis perspective. They can be much stronger from a technology perspective. You still have your people who want to write. You still have your people who want to be artistic and want to be creative. It's just a different kind of person then it was 15 years ago. Truth be told, I think it's a smarter person then when I graduated college.”
And perhaps that will lead to better mobile days for agencies and for their clients.
(article first appeared here - http://mobileleadersalliance.com/2015/07/06/four-ways-for-agencies-to-up-their-mobile-game/)