At Amplify 2016, it’s the mobile marketer’s turn to move from ordinary to extraordinary

By Jeff Hasen

The next time you go into the drawer in your house that you swore wouldn’t become a collection of junk, pull out the first mobile phone you owned that’s just gathering dust. As you prepare for Amplify 2016, remember the experience. You may not have known the full extent then, but it was life-changing. Like never before, you were connected and empowered. And reachable by the boss.

Yes, it came with the good and the bad. And speaking of the bad, think about the web experience. All of a sudden buffering entered your vocabulary, and chances are the expletives came faster than the load times. You expected more.

In the years since, handset manufacturers and software makers have delivered. There’s now a mini computer in your hands, and you are delighted every day.

Now, it’s the marketer’s turn to move away from the ordinary to embrace the extraordinary.

Examining mobile marketing at Amplify 2016

This is what makes this year’s Amplify conference in Tampa so intriguing. Through more than 200 sessions, labs, panels and technical deep dives, marketers will get a sense of how far they’ve come — and what they need to do next.

There have been businesses that thrive in their mobile marketing endeavors. Coca-Cola, REI and Expedia are but a few.

However, as I wrote in “The Art of Mobile Persuasion,” many other companies still struggle. Frankly, ordinary doesn’t even describe their efforts. Instead, words like illogical, selfish, timid and impulsive fit better.

Illogical mobile marketers do ill-advised things such as posting QR codes on billboards along the highway. When was the last time someone scanned a code while zipping along at 65 mph?

Others are selfish — a word brought up in an interview with mobile pioneer Jonathan Stephen, who has moved the industry along through stints at the Mobile Marketing Association and JetBlue. Stephen said that some marketers seek data for data’s sake without thinking about the value to the consumer. His example was “needing” to know what someone put in his or her coffee — sugar, Splenda or Truvia. That information is useful to just a few.

Further, there is a long line of marketers who have been timid when it comes to mobile, merely playing it safe.

Celebrating mobile marketing wins

Contrast these marketers with Coca-Cola, one of the world’s most recognizable, beloved and successful brands. It is fulfilling its long-established mission in large part through the use of wireless devices.

“To the degree that strategy is a choice, the choice that we are making is to have mobile enable desire,” Tom Daly, group director and global director of Coca-Cola’s mobile and search, told me. “The alternative is to do nothing and have mobile become a barrier. That doesn’t sound smart.”

However, this doesn’t mean marketers should go all-in on the latest mobile trend. There are a great deal of impulsive marketers each spring during and after South by Southwest. However, it is unwise to unilaterally seek to determine which products and services will matter. What happens in Austin won’t immediately work on Main Street.

According to Sean Lyons, US president of R/GA, “The consumer is going to decide. A lot of these early thoughts about how things will be used are often wrong. And it’s not because people aren’t intelligent. It’s because we haven’t really found what the behaviors are yet.”

There are more and more marketers who are getting it, and some of their successes will surely be discussed at Amplify 2016. When marketers meet and even exceed consumer expectations, they will match the handset manufacturers and software makers and move closer to extraordinary.

Written By

Jeff Hasen

Chief Marketing Officer, Mobile Strategist & Author of The Art of Mobile Persuasion

One of the leading strategists, evangelists, teachers, and voices in mobile, Jeff Hasen has counseled businesses of all sizes, enabling them to define their mobile strategy, establish or further their mobile product roadmap, and identify additional business growth opportunities. Through…

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