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With 6 billion phones on the planet and 1 billion of them smart phones, mobile is growing faster than ever. Tablets are close behind with 30% of Americans owning tablets or eReaders that are internet enabled. But what are we are marketers and businesses doing about it?

According to today's presentation by MEC's Global Chief Strategy Officer, Melanie Varley, and their Head of Mobile and Emerging Platforms, North America, Andy Wasef, the only way to be creative is to be mobile. Now, more than ever, we need to think of mobile first instead of an add on further into the process of developing a campaign or experience.

This drive to consider mobile first has been a drum Wasef has been banging for a long time. Three years ago, according to an article in Ad Age yesterday, he urged executives, trade groups and publishers to "learn from the mistakes of how advertising appears and is measured online and not duplicate them on mobile phones." Obviously this has not happened as marketers and advertisers continue to badly replicate web based experiences onto our phones.

With this in mind, Varley and Wasef gave the audience four key points to consider when developing future campaigns and it's focus is mobile. 

1) Understand the role mobile plays for your business

Before you start any campaign, you need to understand how consumers use and engage with mobile. There are currently three basic ways:

  • Kill time: This is the biggest area and is mainly gaming and social media
  • Save time: A very powerful use for mobile, consumers use utility apps to make tasks easier and faster especially when on the go. Financial and retail are predictably common areas where apps hale consumers such as Turbotax which helps people complete their tax return in the US. 
  • In prime time: Duel screening

2) Use mobile to humanise your digital experience

With current smartphone functionality, we are developing new behaviors of interaction with devices and this is introducing new media opportunities. You now can Zoom, Swipe, Pinch and Tap.

This is making websites developed for the web, obsolete on mobile devices as we are unable to fully utilize the sites with our "fat fingers." The old eBay experience compared to the new, is one site that made a leap forward in functionality as it decluttered the environment for mobile use. This better experience delivers twice the sales and eBay are estimating that it will make 15% of its sales from mobile.

There also continues to be an improvement of mobile rich media and intuitive service design. The Samsung Galaxy, for instance, adjusts your snooze button based on your sleeping patterns, mines calendar data and alerts you, based on traffic, when you should leave to go to a meeting and will alert you with news of sports teams you follow. Apple's Siri will adapt based on every question you ask it and will continue to learn.

3) Think about mobile as your first screen

When developing strategy, think mobile first and change how you think about about the whole creative process. Smart retailers are developing mobile strategies. Google analytics created this experience to humanize the online shopping experience to show why it fails.

As 50% of consumers use mobile in store to validate purchases and check prices, we can no longer ignore its power. Last holiday season Amazon took advantage of consumers price checking in store by giving them $5 discounts when they continued the sales process on their mobile instead of heading to the physical checkout. 

4) Integrate consumer touch points through mobile

50% of mobile usage is in the home and we are one second away from information, purchase and friends. Though we are using mobile to keep in touch, voice is not in the top five uses of smartphones.

For instance, Shazam Now is one of the many ways dual screening is coming to age as demonstrated in this video: 

We have connected TV, companion apps, TV platforms and set-top boxes. We're building our TV and tablet experiences to mirror that of the mobile. Even Microsoft are heading that way with their new IE 10 and Windows 8 release.

It's not just TV where we're integrating our experiences with mobile. We have print with SMS feedback components and outdoor advertising with QR codes and augmented reality. We are becoming increasingly mobile and are expecting more from advertisers, technology and the devices we use to interact with the world.

It's going to be the brands and marketers that realize this who are going to win the race to capture the consumer. With all that noise out there, it's those who filter it and streamline, who will succeed.

Heather Taylor

Published 2 October, 2012 by Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor is the Editorial Director for Econsultancy US. You can follow her on Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

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