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Marketers must keep mobile simple

June 11, 2013

James Orsini is president/CEO of Single Touch Systems

James Orsini is president/CEO of Single Touch Systems

By James Orsini

I recently attended two valuable digital forums: The Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2013 organized by Mobile Commerce Daily and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2013 to 2017.

Having heard from a host of compelling speakers with varied opinions, I was able to weave a common thread: Agencies should think holistically about “mobile service” and not specifically about mobile ads or mobile applications. There are simply too many opportunities in mobile and we need to simplify it.

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In a world where 60 percent of all apps built have never been downloaded and 40 percent of apps downloaded are abandoned after just four uses, most clients and their agencies do not have a clear business objective for why they created a mobile app.

In its simplest form, we should focus on convenience. Mobile solutions must be easier than what I am already doing. Is there anything quick and responsive about a QR code on my mobile device? Does augmented reality on my mobile device provide a compelling service?

Having worked for various agencies over a 25-year career, there was always a danger with an unbridled creative department.

We often saw this with pro bono or award work. Creative work that was designed with the sole purpose of bringing on a “wow factor” or winning an award was always harder to justify than creative designed to help sell a product or service for clients.

Today, this creative for creative’s sake is frustrating mobile users in the form of some apps that are useless, QR codes or other senseless mobile functions.

Perhaps mobile solutions should move out of the creative departments and into the strategy or planning departments of the agency world. Let us give some serious thought and consideration as to what we are trying to achieve in a mobile solution.

Consider these two valuable consumer insights.

Consumers are willing to pay for content but on their terms and they now know how valuable their data is. They want some value for sharing their data. They would like free content, discounts, coupons or a tailored personal experience on their mobile device that helps get rid of the clutter in their lives.

Agencies should be creating for the mobile platform first and then using mobile as a test-bed for this content.

What does success look like? did it right. Its app only allows you to book hotels. That is what its customers wanted in a mobile service. Its mobile need was simply the ability to be driving on the road and quickly get a hotel – nothing more. It saw a notable increase in hotel bookings as a result of this simple mobile service solution.

A recent Deloitte Survey showed 5 percent of in-store purchases were influenced by mobile in 2012. This figure will move to 20 percent by 2016.

Let us cut through the clutter and keep it simple. Using personal data to tailor solutions is valuable.

Privacy is simply not an issue for a younger generation of digital natives. In a world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine, they are not consumed with hiding their personal data. In fact, they embrace sharing it in the most public sense.

I would argue the best mobile success stories we will encounter over the next three years will be those where strategy, technology and creative marketing minds come together to offer simple compelling mobile service solutions for which consumers are yearning.

James Orsini is president/CEO of Single Touch Systems Inc., Jersey City, NJ. Reach him at

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