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MobileMix panel confirms growing marketer interest in mobile

August 24, 2009

mobilemixSAN FRANCISCO – Examples of brands deploying mobile marketing campaigns and sites and a reality check is what marketing executives got attending an ad:tech MobileMix session led by Brand In Hand managing partner John Hadl.

Capping his presentation, the mobile marketing guru caused an “uh-oh” moment when he listed “A word about mobile coupons” as one of his slides. Mr. Hadl, who knows a thing or two about the subject simply because coupon user Procter & Gamble Co. is his client, commented on the cumbersome redemption process of handing the phone to the cashier.

“Every 3 seconds it adds, it costs Target $1 million a year,” Mr. Hadl said about delays in the cash-wrap line at the nation’s second-largest retailer.

The process of handing the phone to the cashier and then taking it back brings with it a host of issues: the risk of dropping the handset, transfer of infections and, of course, delays while reading the code and feeding the data into the cash register.

Add to those issues the threat of lawsuits.

And that’s what makes mobile couponing a tough option for consumer packaged goods companies such as P&G, General Mills, Unilever and Coca-Cola.

But mobile couponing does have its charms for retailers such as Banana Republic – 15 percent-off offers – as well as players in the drugstore category, Mr. Hadl said.

Speaking in language that marketers understand, Mr. Hadl said marketing executives should understand where and how mobile fits into the company’s plans.

When requesting budgets, mobile will have to prove it outperforms other digital channels, Mr. Hadl said. Mobile gets bracketed with digital simply because it delivers actual impressions like the Internet versus statistical impressions from traditional media such as print and television.

But mobile will have an easier time getting an allocation from outdoor media budgets because it can prove its supplemental nature, Mr. Hadl said. Mobile calls to action enhance billboards, for example.

Brand In Hand is a leading mobile marketing consultancy.

Meanwhile, fellow panelist Steven Rosenblatt, vice president of ad sales at mobile ad network and site developer Quattro Wireless, cited the National Football League, Univision and TMZ as among the largest mobile sites.

The NFL, for example, records 4 million unique users and 70 million page views monthly, Mr. Rosenblatt said.

The New York-based executive stressed the number of major brands that now have a mobile Web and advertising presence.

“This recession has accelerated the mobile advertising environment,” Mr. Rosenblatt said.

“It’s all about reaching consumers,” he said. “Mobile is viral … Automotive dealers are finding that mobile is delivering leads … Understand that mobile scales.”

Kevin Barenblat, cofounder/CEO of Context Optional, cited four uses of mobile that work in its favor: the social aspect, entertainment value, connectedness and commerce potential.

In the Q&A session, Mr. Hadl discussed CPMs on mobile – a popular question at most mobile shows. He said they are similar to online CPMs.

“There’s more inventory than dollars,” Mr. Hadl said. “Mobile used to be really expensive. Not anymore. It’s very similar to online – more inventory than dollars.”

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Mickey Alam Khan is editor in chief of Mobile Commerce Daily, Mobile Marketer and Luxury Daily. Reach him at

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