Today’s use of mobile devices is not just a trend, it’s the future. It is a paramount shift in how we are interacting with the internet, and it is happening at lightning speed. As business owners we can’t afford to just sit back and see how it all pans out, we need to take action now.
Mobile marketing provides customers with time sensitive, geographic sensitive, personalized information that promotes our goods, services and ideas. Making sure you do this in a way that both respects and resonates with the people consuming your advertising content is critical.
Rich: Well this is an interesting day at the Agents Of Change podcast. I actually have two guests on the line today so it’s going to be a doubly long, doubly interesting introduction. So I’ll just get that out of the way and introduce them one at a time.
My first guest is Catharine Hays. Catharine is the founding director of the Future Of Advertising Program at the Wharton School. The program’s mission is to bridge academic rigor and real world relevance as a catalyst for deeper insights, bolder innovation, and broader positive impact of advertising. Her professional passion lies in the emerging potential – if not imperative – for positive social impact in advertising in the digital age of empowered consumers.
Previously, Catharine held numerous pioneering positions during the 15 year career in B2B marketing and sales at AT&T, she earned an MBA in Marketing from the Wharton School as a Lauder Institute Fellow, earned a MA in International Studies at University of Pennsylvania, a BS in Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and an AA Franklin College, Lugano, Switzerland.
My other guest today is Mitchell Reichgut. Mitchell is the CEO and Co-founder of JUN GROUP. Prior to founding Jun Group in 2005, Mitchell led Bates Interactive, the online unit of Bates Worldwide Advertising, now owned by WPP. As General Manager/Creative Director, Mitchell helped grow Bates Interactive into a 70 person integrated unit with client such as EDS, Moet Chandon, and Warner Lambert.
Before joining Bates, Mitchell served as Creative Director at the THINK New Ideas. MItchell began his career as an art director at Grey Advertising, where he created print and television advertisements for clients. Throughout his career he’s worked with major brands across industries including Procter & Gamble, Parker Brothers, Budweiser, Rockport, Reebok, and Sony.
Catharine and Mitchell, welcome to the show.
Catharine: Thank you so much.
Mitchell: Delighted to be here.
Rich: Those are some really long bios. I hope we have time for the questions. You guys are really experienced, so I’m glad to have you on the show.
Now today we’re going to be talking about mobile marketing and all the changes that are going on with marketing in advertising, and what role mobile plays in all this. I guess I’ll just start with a simple question, what interested you first both in mobile?
Mitchell: Mobile became something of a fait accompli for us, we saw it happening and we knew that we needed to be a part of it and I think we ran our first mobile ad in 2009. We understood that that’s where the market was going, we didn’t quite at that time know how it was going to take shape, but it just seemed inevitable and so now we consider ourselves a multiscreen company, but really we’re mobile first. I think that is where the bulk of consumer attention will be for the foreseeable future.
Catharine: And I would just add that I think from our vantage point when we try to see things just from a business perspective in terms of how they think about advertising and marketing, but really also from the standpoint of individuals with lives, and the mobile devices have become such a part of our lives it’s hard to actually separate them from ourselves. As we all know, we sort of wake up with it and we go to bed with it as the last thing. It’s just such an important part of our lives and it represents a connectivity to our individual selves that it’s just something you can’t deny in understanding how to do it well for brands is critically important.
Rich: It’s probably the printing press of our age. I was recently reading that it takes people 26 hours to report a missing wallet, and one hour to report a missing phone.
Mitchell: You spend a lot more time with your phone than you do with your wallet.
Rich: Right. And then there’s that dance you do as you walk out of your house to make sure that you’ve got your phone in your pocket. So as marketers we hear a lot about mobile, but outside of having a mobile friendly website, many of us are unsure how to approach mobile marketing. How should we get started and how do we use it to engage with customers?
Mitchell: That’s a multifaceted question, it really depends on who you are. The capabilities that mobile has are enormous and there are also some pretty severe limitations and some cultural mores and some real differences from any other kind of advertising that’s ever come before it. Most obviously the screen is smaller, but counterintuitively we pay more attention to it, it takes up our full attention. So that gives you sort of a hint at some of the capabilities.
If you’re a small business, than you have the capacity on a mobile phone to advertise locally. If you’re a larger business, you have the ability now to super target people and refine the audiences that you’re speaking to and further to really engage in a 2-way conversation. Some of the things you have to look out for, you can’t just interrupt people, you can’t throw messages to them, you have to really pick and choose where and how to engage. At least right now, there’s a fair amount of technical knowledge, I think, that really goes into playing in this space competently.
Catharine: I would add to that, one of the important things I think for marketers to really think about when they start – and I think Mitchell touched on it – it’s thinking about it from the standpoint of the individual in terms of what are they doing with their device, what is it that they’re doing it on. A lot of it is actually “me time”. The vast majority of it is “me time” in terms of entertaining or relaxation. And that can be shopping, so you can be shopping for “me time” and understanding that context of what someone’s mindset is, and being respectful with that when you’re providing your messaging to them so that you’re being really divalent.
The other aspect of that is there’s been some really powerful studies done that even though we think of them as mobile devices out of home, the majority of time with a mobile device – and if you just think about yourself – is while you’re at home. It’s not like you only have it when you’re going out of the house, you actually have it with you at all times and while you’re doing other sorts of things. So thinking about it is in the context of people’s lives, and also in the context of everything else that they’re doing.
Mitchell: I can give you a stat to support that last assertion, Catharine. 80% of the video that my company distributes on behalf of Fortune 500 brands happens over wifi, which means that people are using their devices at home or at work most of the time.
Rich: So it sounds like one of the big things playing off of what you said earlier, MItchell, mobile first, that a lot of our thinking about mobile needs to be user first. Like, what is the intent of our ideal customer when they’re using their mobile device?
Mitchell: Absolutely. And I think that just to expand on Catharine’s point, our technical staff doesn’t like to call these things “mobile devices”, they’re really super computers. They are PC’s, they’re just more portable. It’s an intimate connection you have with it, very very different than a laptop or a desktop. If you think about the consumer journey, just maybe 24 months ago it started with a Google search that took you to a webpage which hyperlinked you to one or two others that might have been social media or shopping or editorial. Now the journey begins and ends in an app. 90% of the time we spend on this device is in app, and it’s a completely different experience.
The web, for instance – which used to be synonymous with the internet – is now something that sort of comes in and out of our consciousness, it’s a link that we get passed around, will drop in and out of the mobile web, but we are spending our lives in an app. App’s are controlled by two companies, Apple and Google. So I mentioned severe limitations and wonderful opportunities, that gives you a sense.
Rich: I want to talk for a second about apps, because I’ve also heard that same stat that 90% of our time is spent in app, and that probably reflects pretty much my experience using my own smartphone – or super computer in my pants – to use your language. I think I added to your language.
Mitchell: Yeah, you added the pants part.
Rich: But at the same time, when I think about the apps that I use, it’s pretty much Facebook and some game that I happened to be playing. So when I think about small businesses, I’m often asked, “Hey, do you guys develop apps, should we get an app?” And my experience has been that people are spending 90% of their time on apps, but not your app. What do you think about that? Does every small business need an app, or is that just not the right approach for small businesses?
Mitchell: Yeah, I think that’s right, Rich. If you’re a small business, creating and distributing an app is a tough road. It costs about $2-$3 to have one user install your app on iOS, and a little bit less on Android, and most users won’t keep it. So the average cost for one of our developers – because our technology is plugged into apps – they think it’s between $5 and $7 per user. So that is not the way to go, especially not in late 2016, early 2017.
Rich: Makes a lot of sense.
Catharine: I agree. I think you have to be really essential in people’s lives where they’re using you all the time and they want to find out from you and interface with you and have that experience firsthand. And if that’s not your role in people’s lives and it’s more casual than that, I absolutely agree with Mitchell and the cost outweighs.
But intimacy can also have it’s rewards, so it’s also thinking about how valuable that particular user is for you. Maybe not for every user, but if they’re 10 times the value to you for that $5-$7 per signup, then it is. So it really depends on your relationship with them and the value that you’re offering.
Rich: Absolutely. It depends I think on the type of business you’re in. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I have the Subway app on my phone for – quite honestly – when I don’t want to wait in line I use that app because I know I can walk 5 minutes out of my office, avoid the line, and walk back to my office and be eating lunch in 10 minutes.
Catharine: And there’s the value.
Rich: Catharine, you mentioned earlier similar to you don’t want to interrupt people, and I think that gets to a certain amount of privacy and permission, and certainly I think that Mitchell mentioned something like the mores of what should be expected. What are some of the challenges or opportunities that we as marketers have when it comes to mobile marketing in advertising? How do we engage people without really angering them and kind if invading their privacy?
Catharine: It’s really important, and I think one of the ways that we talk about it is the “bad in’s” and the “good in’s”. So really trying to avoid the “bad in’s” like intrusive, insulting, inconvenient, inappropriate, inconsiderate, things like that. Video playing with sound without even clicking on it when you’re in the middle of a meeting and you don’t know where to click to get rid of it, that’s just such an egregious example.
But the “good in’s” are ones where you’ve really got an alignment with people. You’re inspiring to them, you’re influencing them, you’re helping them to be involved, you’re invaluable to their lives. So just thinking about that, and imagining yourself what’s the best it could possibly be for that experience. And that’s what people are rewarding. With people, the biggest most important currency right now is time. So the less that you’re taking time away from people for your own purposes and not theirs, the more that you’re saving time,or giving them value, or giving back time or helping them with their lives and aspirations. That’s where you’re really seeing people want to engage.
You don’t have to be saving the world. Even if it’s really great entertainment and really giving some joy into their life, that can be pretty valuable as well.
Rich: Absolutely. Mitchell, anything to add to that particular question?
Mitchell: Yeah. I think it is one of the big fundamental changes that is only now just beginning to happen. You mentioned my long resume, so the ad business has been around really in its modern form since the 40’s or so, and it has been a business of, “how can I interrupt you and where.” Reach and frequency are the way that advertising is basically distributed and meted out, it means hitting somebody a number of times so they finally remember you. And that is how the entire industry grew up. And now all of a sudden you can’t do that anymore, consumers have never been as empowered as they are today, especially on mobile devices.
There’s a stat about ad blockers that some estimates will say that 70% of americans will be using ad blockers next year. So I think if you want to have a meaningful engagement with somebody, you have to do it on their terms, and that is quite a challenge.
Catharine: We actually talk about moving away from – in terms of what our mindsets are – moving away from reach and frequency to when and where, wanted, needed and appreciated.
Mitchell: That’s right.
Rich: Mitchell, earlier on you mentioned as a small business, one of the things we can use mobile for is marketing or advertising to our local community. What are some of the tactics that you’ve seen to be effective when it comes to that local reach, making sure that our ads or marketing are hitting our neighbors?
Mitchell: Well I can expand on it because it’s a greater principle than just local, it’s all across mobile advertising, and Catharine already touched upon this. It is understanding your consumer, understanding where they are, and how you can provide value to them, and then delivering it. So if you’re a coffee shop you have one set of criteria for advertising, and one set of messaging that goes along with that. If you’re a national QSR food chain, that’s completely different. And all of a sudden this two dimensional advertising billboard becomes this multidimensional thought process that you have to go through in terms of when, and where, and how, and what the person is thinking and feeling and how I reach them and how I come across with all this great power that I have now to reach people.
And we can talk about the ability we have to get to know each and every consumer really personally. And you need to do that without being creepy. So it’s not easy, and every single facet of this needs to be thought through. So with this power that we have now, comes a lot of responsibility to do it correctly, because there are a lot of pitfalls here as well.
Catharine: And I would add to that that I think small and medium sized businesses have an outsized opportunity to become part of their local community, and there’s some good research that shows how people expect businesses to be relevant to what’s going on and to connect and really understand what’s going on culturally, to understand what the weather is like, what teams people are rooting for locally. So really to be able to contextualize messages within what’s going on with the current conversation and be a part of it and add value to it. So it’s listening and making sure you’re in touch with what’s going on locally, and then find your own opportunity to be adding to that conversation or helping in that regard. It really makes for win/win/win.
Rich: Now you’ve got a book Catharine that you co-wrote called, Beyond Advertising: Creating Value Through All Customer Touchpoints. In the book you discuss these five forces of change, and I’m just going to list them off right now. This is probably a much deeper conversation but I’m going to list them off, and then I’d like you to tell me a little about how these 5 things are impacting our mobile strategy or how they should be.
The five are: advances in science and technology, transformed media landscape, empowered consumer/people, environmental challenges (including social, cultural and political), and new business and revenue models.
So how are those changes – and I don’t know if you want to speak to some of those in a few words – but how do these impact our mobile strategy going forward?
Catharine: So we’ve just extended our conversation by an hour.
Rich: That’s what I was afraid of.
Catharine: Just in brief, one of the points that we make about this is that people know these changes are underway, but marketers are not necessarily understanding that they have a direct impact on how they’re thinking about things. Mitchell and I have already talked about empowered and skeptical consumers, and we’re really asking marketers to think of them as people instead of consumers, to really reimagine those individuals with lives.
Media has been completely redefined, and certainly within the context of mobile. Our ability to be multi-sensory and contextualized in terms of what’s going on currently, to be able to listen, to be interactive, to be frictionless, and to be able to provide all these actionable possibilities. Science and technology has given marketers unprecedented understanding of people through what we’ve learned through neuroscience and bioscience.
The major key takeaway from that is how emotional we are, that it’s not the cognitive, it’s not the logical that drives this. It’s truly emotional. And driving understanding that and respecting that becomes important and then all the technologies and the multi dimensionality – as Mitchell said, the “supercomputer” – that smartphones are today, enable us to really leverage that technology in smart ways.
And then the last two – world issues and what’s going on with new business and revenue models – are both the responsibility to understand how brands are in people’s lives and outreaching society. And people are expecting that more and more. Certainly not just the younger generation, but I think the older generation as well, are seeing more issues to be addressed and more help needed.
And then finally, business and revenue models that say it doesn’t have to always be about profitability. What we’re finding is that the importance of having that sort of compelling brand purpose for marketers means not just impacting potential customers, but also the people who you want to have work for you in that right talent pool to be inspired by it beyond just the pure profit motive.
Rich: So are you suggesting that our mobile strategy is also a recruitment tool?
Catharine: I think any kind of communications that we have is absolutely a communication tool. It’s how we’re showing who we are as a company, so imagining somebody you hope will come work for you is absolutely going to check you out in every way that you’re out there. And the extent to which you’re mobile first in this day and age we really need to have that direct connect is absolutely critical.
Rich: Mitchell, maybe you can answer this. Beyond the mobile friendly website – which at this point I would hope that everyone of my listeners has, even though I know they don’t but I hope they do – what are some of the other things that we should be looking at in terms of ways to market or talk about ourselves or reach out to our clients through mobile marketing? What are some of those best practices, as well, for creating engaging mobile marketing
Mitchell: Wow, there’s so many. I would start with non-interruption. There’s a rule that we always preach to our clients, how and where someone discovers your advertising is as important as the content of that advertising. So if you think about what happens when somebody gets interrupted – let’s day it’s a millennial consumer I’m trying to reach – somebody wants to watch a video online and then I make them sit through my commerical. Now I’m irritating them, so what’s the benefit of that versus having them discover it in a social feed or having it recommended by a friend. What’s the value of that?
So non-interruption and context are really paramount, and so many tools now with social media, with advertising, with video, with chatbots. I think there’s a myriad of different tools you can use. Catharine and I have been saying to understand the person with whom you’re having this conversation, and see and hear this, and you’ll have much better engagement. And that’s really not the way this industry has grown up, so it’s a big change.
Rich: One of the things that I’m hearing from both you guys – my takeaway – is whatever type of mobile marketing you’re going to engage in, consider it first from your customer standpoint. If you are loud and aggressive, that’s how they’re going to take it and they’re going to steer away and come back with a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to your business. So what you need to do is be putting the person first and really providing value for that person whether it’s in entertainment, whether it’s saving them time or money. Just make sure that you’re delivering value in every one of these mobile touchpoints.
Catharine: I think that’s good. I would add to that I think that’s an excellent starting point. The other thing that marketers need to do is to think about how mobile is part of a bigger ecosystem. So as an individual, how we experience the brand is everything. It’s not the just the mobile marketing, it’s the product, it’s the package, it’s the design, it’s the customer service. And if what I see in a great mobile ad or mobile application doesn’t really match what actually happens when I visit the business itself – or try to have a customer service call, or try to take an action based on clicking on the mobile device – if that experience isn’t as good as the last best one I had, then you’re really not maximizing the holistic value of all of the touchpoints that you have with that particular individual.
So it’s really important to think certainly mobile first in many ways, but how is that connected, is that really part of an overall portfolio that has synergistic effects across them.
Rich: Okay Mitchell, before I wrap this up, any last thoughts on mobile marketing that you’d like to pass along to our listeners today?
Mitchell: Yeah. I think if you haven’t done it or if you are new to it or if you’ve tried it and crashed a couple times, it can be a little overwhelming. My advice would be not to get caught up in the inertia. Catharine and Jerry at the Wharton School are big on quick experimentation, I’m a big believer in that. The good news is with a lot of mobile advertising, it’s not expensive to try certain things. So there’s all these different platforms, give them a try.
You have to learn the technology, you have to get comfortable with it, and getting out of one’s comfort zone is necessary in this day and age just to keep up. Because as I’ve said, there are phenomenal opportunities here, and quite a number of pitfalls, and you’re not going to learn about them all by reading a book. Not to say that Catharine’s book isn’t the best. You can learn all about it in the book, and then go and put it all into practice. How’s that?
Rich: Nice save.
Catharine: I would have to say that’s one of the things that we vociferously agree on, is this notion of experimentation. It’s not just trying new things, it’s doing it in an experimental new fashion when you have a control group. So you can actually learn from what works and what doesn’t. So you’re taking risks, but really you’re doing them for the sake of learning and you’re doing them in a controlled way so that you know for sure what the next best move should be. And if you’re doing that in an adaptive and continuous way, then you’re continually trying new things. With the speed of evolution and the kinds of things that Mitchell and his organization are capturing and learning about and offering to clients, you really have to be trying those new things to keep up with what’s going on.
Rich: This has been great food for thought, I’d like to thank both of you. Before we go, if we can just do this ones at a time, Catharine could you just say a few words about your book and also where we can find you online?
Catharine: The book is called Beyond Advertising: Creating Value Through All Customer Touchpoints, it’s available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, take a look at the reviews. It’s really a collaborative effort among over 200 thought leaders from all around the world and very different vantage points. So I encourage you to also go to our website, which is wfo.wharton.upenn.edu. And you can see actually each of those 1,000 word or less essays, which are just really very powerful, very inspiring, to hear quotes from people around the world in terms of how they’re thinking about these sorts of things. And we’ve got some other really great content on there, too, thanks to collaborations with folks like Mitchell, so do check that out. And Twitter we’re @whartonfoa.
Rich: Awesome. And Mitchell, could you just wrap up with a few words and share where we can find more about you online?
Mitchell: Absolutely. So my company is called JUN Group, and Jun means “truth”. Our job is to get millions of people to engage with branded content and video advertising across devices. You can find us at jungroup.com, or @jungroup.
Rich: Mitchell, Catharine, I want to thank you both or your time, it’s been very eye opening and you’ve given us a lot of food for thought. Have a great day.
Catharine: Thank you so much.
Mitchell: Thanks, Rich.
- To learn more about Catharine, check out her book and follow her on Twitter.
- If you’d like to learn more about Mitchell, check out his website and follow him on Twitter.
- Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, where he and his team help small businesses with mobile web design, SEO and social media marketing. He is also the founder of the Agents Of Change Digital Marketing Conference, where he has brought together small business owners with some of the leading minds in the areas of search, social and mobile marketing.