Fall'12 Breakthrough

October 14-17, 2012 | Austin, Texas

Google's playbook for investing in mobile marketing


How should your brand be thinking about mobile? Google's manager of global mobile solutions reveals the most unique ways marketers are achieving success.

The remarkable rate at which consumers have adopted smartphones and tablets has altered the mobile-marketing mindset. According to Brendan Kraham, Google's manager of global mobile solutions and the opening keynote speaker at iMedia's Breakthrough Summit, "Mobile represents a sociological shift in how users relate with both the digital and physical worlds. Businesses that understand this will win." Marketers who once questioned the importance of investing in mobile now know that without a mobile presence, consumers will leave their companies in the lurch and abscond with a brand easily located an arm's length away.

With this in mind, marketers have begun to ask this valuable question: "How should I invest in mobile to best match consumers' evolving expectations?" 

This question does not have an easy answer. As Kraham puts it, "There is no silver bullet for mobile." Because mobile phones will be the most common way to access the internet by 2013, a jumble of new businesses emerged to help marketers spend their dollars. To cure marketers with a case of the mobile head spins, Google created the "Mobile Playbook" -- a guide to winning with mobile for busy executives. At iMedia's Breakthrough Summit, Kraham distilled the most valuable insights from Google's playbook by revealing the most crucial mobile questions that emerged from hundreds of meetings with marketers concerning the mobile revolution.

To win with mobile, here are five questions marketers must answer:

How does mobile change our value proposition?

According to Kraham, "Mobile consumers have different expectations as a result of being constantly connected." Companies must recognize the behavioral changes of the always-on consumer and alter their offerings accordingly.

To illustrate this point, Kraham examined the travel industry. Today, most hotel bookings are made within one to five miles of the hotel and occur the day of or the day before arrival. Recognizing this shift in consumer behavior, Hotel Tonight was founded to provide easy mobile booking of same-day unsold hotel inventory. To demonstrate its ease of use, Kraham presented the following video, in which a man quickly books a hotel room -- while skydiving.   

In order to succeed in mobile, companies must define their value propositions by studying what consumers want to do with their businesses on-the-go.  

How does mobile impact our digital destinations?

If businesses have not already done so, their No. 1 priority should be to build a mobile-optimized website. According to Kraham, 67 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product from a mobile-optimized site. In addition, he said that 57 percent of users say they won't recommend a business with a mobile site that is poorly designed. As such, companies must build a mobile site that is ubiquitous across platforms and allows for better consumer connections.

After building a mobile site, the next step is to introduce an app. According to Google's playbook, there are three points to remember for branded apps:

  1. Offer utility and entertainment.
  2. Design your app for the largest mobile platforms.
  3. Promote your app.

Kraham said a perfect example is Dominos' mobile app, which allows users to order more than 1.8 billion pizza combinations and follow their orders' progress with the "Live Pizza Tracker."

How is our organization adapting to mobile?

Google believes marketers should deeply consider this question. Kraham said each company should assign a mobile champion who evangelizes mobile internally. "The organizations that we see doing well today have top-down buy ins," he said. "You have to have the DNA and infrastructure within the organization to make mobile work." Accordingly, mobile is incremental and needs its own budget.

How do we measure the full value of mobile?

Although there are users who begin their journeys on mobile and purchase on their phones, there is a growing number of consumers who start their journey on mobile but buy elsewhere (in-store or on other devices). This is a clear departure from the way commerce has been traditionally done in digital. As such, it is crucial for marketers to measure the value of all mobile conversions.

For example, Kraham presented a case study in which Adidas worked with iProspect to assign value to store-locator clicks. They found that 20 percent of mobile users who performed a store-locator lookup visited a store. According to Google's playbook, "Knowing that 20 percent of in-store visitors convert with an $80 average order value, Adidas was able to estimate that each store locator click was worth $3.20."

How do we use mobile for branding?

Mobile is a powerful tool for branding. To illustrate this point, Kraham showed what is possible with mobile display ads by presenting Coca-Cola's "Project: Re:Brief." The campaign reimagines the messaging of the company's famous "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" campaign. Viewers of the mobile display ads are able to virtually send a Coke around the world to someone through special vending machines. The Cokes may be sent with a personalized message that is translated for the recipient, who in turn can send a thank-you note or reaction video. Below is a video depicting Coca-Cola's brilliant mobile campaign.

The theme of iMedia's Breakthrough Summit is "keeping pace with the mobile consumer." By answering these five questions, marketers will surely increase their speed.
Kyle Montero is an associate editor at iMedia Connection.

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