September 29, 2015

pan_5692Mobile phone penetration in the Philippines is overwhelming. There are more mobile phones than people in the country. And with a 40 percent smartphone penetration rate, we have one of the highest growths in the Asian region.

Surprisingly, local marketers are not taking advantage of this huge potential. For many companies, the mobile smartphone strategy is such a small piece of their total marketing budget. It’s not that those in the business aren’t aware of mobile’s importance – they just don’t know how to make it work.

Mobile has “huge opportunity” written all over it. And it’s time that marketers and advertisers pour their resources into making it work.

That’s the message imparted by Art Policarpio, CEO of Mobext Philippines, a Mobile-First digital agency with 35 offices located in Canada, the United States, South America, Europe, and Asia. “Mobile is the single biggest marketing opportunity in history since the advent of television,” he declared. “Think about it. Everyone has a mobile device. It’s a one-to-one medium. If you want to be a future Chief Marketing Officer, you need to master mobile.”

Policarpio identified eight key mobile strategies that can be immediately applied by businesses.

Go Beyond the Banner

Banner ads are irritating and can hurt your business if everyone treats the experience as nothing more than a nuisance.

Policarpio cited a local study of how smartphones have changed Filipino media consumption habits wherein mobile becomes the primary screen. In fact, smartphone owners spend 174 minutes on their phones (minus calls and texts) versus 99 minutes spent on television. With that in mind, he explained that marketers need to find new ways to catch the consumer’s attention, and that they have to go beyond the standard banner ad to achieve that, “There are so many new things we could do with a banner ad.”

How do we get to that goal? “It shouldn’t look like advertising,” Policarpio offered. “You just have to be creative – a lot of it is gamification, a lot of it is creating rich experiences with consumers. You can go beyond a static banner and make it feel almost like a website.”

TV + Mobile Integration

“The digital Filipino multi-screens,” said Policarpio. The current living room image has every member of the Filipino family together but engaged with their smartphones or tablets, or both.

According to global information and insights company, Nielsen, 8 out of 10 digital Filipinos engage with three screens at once, with 96 percent engaging with two screens simultaneously. Policarpio added, “We multi-screen all the time. Four screens are better than one. When you say video advertising, it should cover all screens. We should approach advertising across four different screens because that is the current consumer behavior.”

Social is Mobile

What’s the difference between getting a “Like” on your Facebook page and people telling other people about your brand? Is having a million “Likes” really the goal?

“Social media is about word-of-mouth marketing at scale, Policarpio added. “Mobile social is all about doing this by the mobile channel. Everything is mobile. From a campaign point of view, think mobile first – not desktop first.”

Dominate Mobile Search

In the Philippines, mobile search is a key part of the decision-making process, with 45 percent of all searches being goal-oriented.

Just ask yourself, “If I am your target market, how would I search for my brand?” Some people search for your brand directly; it’s called “branded keywords.” Most consumers search for solutions to problems. That’s one of the biggest categories of search.

Policarpio noted that based on their data, search converts the highest when it comes to intent-based marketing. “Nothing beats search in terms of conversion,” he added. “In fact, 55 percent of conversions via mobile search happen within one hour.”

Invest in your Mobile Properties

Go ahead and do a quick check of your company website on your mobile phone browser. Would you say the experience was “great?” Based on data from Google, half of consumers go to a competitor when they have a bad mobile experience.

Policarpio shared a simple tip, “You have to design a unique user experience on a mobile device. Everything has to be within three clicks.”

Create Useful Apps

A key principle for apps is single-mindedness. The best apps are those that do one thing really, really well. Google co-founder Larry Page has what is called the toothbrush test for this question: One, will I use this everyday? And two, will it improve my life?

“Ask yourself those two questions. Useful apps are the ones that stick,” said Policarpio. “Don’t think ‘brand first.’ Think ‘utility first.’”

Don’t Forget Call and Text

It still works. The simplest technology that got us to where we are now still has many uses. Policarpio gave the example of beauty brand Ponds and its “7 Days” campaign, which encouraged viewers to send a text message to receive a free sample of their product.

Stretch Your Boundaries

Take every opportunity to tell a compelling story. That’s what makes for media that can go viral.

Samsung produced an ad which showcased a virtual live birth to a family separated by circumstance. A father who works at one end of the country was able to witness his child’s birth using Samsung’s audio and video streaming technology to be “virtually there” in the delivery room. The ad generated 15 million views and $10 million in free earned media.

You also don’t have to be serious all the time. Celebrating eight years of sponsoring the Tokyo Marathon, Dole introduced the world’s first wearable banana. The ad featured Dole engineers hard at work inserting a special sensor and LED display under the skin of a banana peel which showed runners their times, tweets, heart rate, and when to eat the banana.

“Progress happens because of the crazy ones”

“Visionaries are needed to grow the mobile economy,” shared Policarpio. “For mobile to grow we need visionary marketing managers and leaders to invest in mobile. To take the leap. Progress happens because of the crazy ones who are willing to take a risk to reinvent the game.

“If you’re going to think about mobile, you might as well think big.”

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