Treading the Boards in New York

Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at a couple of mobile-focused conferences in New York. As a recent transfer from the Isobar business in London, it was a great way to meet many new faces from the US mobile scene.

I had a ?Fireside Chat? at the Mobile Media Upfront event followed by OMMA Mobile at Internet Week where I shared a panel with a number of other agency mobile heads.

There was a lot to learn so I thought I?d sum it up in 3 key points:


Englishman in New York

One of the first things I noticed was how many familiar faces there were. It?s well-known that a lot of UK execs move to New York but the extent of this was very surprising since some panels at MMU were ? UK people.

My reaction to this leads on to my other points. Prior to moving to the US I had thought that the media landscape for mobile would generally be ahead of the UK, where delivering mobile advertising is still broadly viewed as a niche activity with little genuine scale. But listening to the same complaints and comments delivered in the same accents I felt very much that plus ?a change?


The integration message has not gotten through

At Roundarch Isobar we have no concept of ?mobile? as a standalone channel ? we deliver everything on the channels that make the most sense to deliver the right user experience at the right time.

Therefore, I found it quite interesting that many speakers had no clear sense of the fact that brands must be built according to established marketing principles and in line with 360? consumer behaviors rather than as a channel which sits somehow separately.

This was summarized by one speaker on my panel who insisted that brands must ask themselves, ?what is their mobile strategy?. This was countered by the rest of the panel who argued that mobile marketing should sit within existing consumer behaviors.


The Measurement Conundrum

?How many mobile media guys does it take to change a light bulb??

?Who cares ? they won?t be able to measure if it?s on or not!?

The eternal conundrum of measurement rumbles on and appears to be no closer to resolution. As someone who?s been in the mobile ad space since it started, I would have thought that we might be closer to a point where we can serve, track and measure the great returns our device is capable of in an organized and harmonious way by now.

But while everyone agrees that standards for serving and measurement are key, I think the size of the prize is so great that many parties are still fighting over their role in it and thus we are probably still some way off from agreement.


It?s a man?s, man?s, man?s world

It?s a small point I guess, but from the turnout at these two events, mobile marketing and advertising appear to be 80% male still. Despite some great keynotes from the likes of US Olympic Committee CMO Lisa Baird, as an industry we are still almost uniquely middle-aged white males in smart jackets and jeans. I wonder if more youth or diversity would help propel our industry forwards into different territories and foster greater innovation.

I really enjoy these kinds of industry forums, and hope to speak at a good deal more of them ? both to learn from the wisdom and experience of others, and to try to impart some of the practices we aspire to that deliver real benefit to our clients. Let?s keep talking!