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Draftfcb nabs Razorfish exec Patrick Moorhead for top agency mobile job

Patrick J. Moorhead, one of the most vocal proponents of smart mobile marketing, this week begins work as the new mobile chief for Draftfcb, an ad agency with clients such as Kraft Foods, Boeing, Dockers, Qwest, Merck, Pfizer, S.C. Johnson, Hilton, Motorola, EA and KFC.

As Chicago-based vice president and management director for mobile platforms, Mr. Moorhead will lead the charge for integrating mobile marketing across work done for Draftfcb clients. He was previously director of emerging media at Razorfish, the nation?s leading interactive marketing agency that recently switched hands from Microsoft to Publicis Groupe.

In this first exclusive interview with Mobile Marketer?s Mickey Alam Khan, Mr. Moorhead explains his take on Draftfcb?s new attitude to mobile, the mandate for the position newly created for him, the state of mobile marketing and evolving brand and agency perception of the medium.

What is it about Draftfcb that made you want to join the agency?
Draftfcb has an outstanding reputation in the business, both as a shop that consistently delivers results and creative solutions to clients, and as a home for some of the best and the brightest in the advertising world.

Their enthusiasm for both me, and the mobile opportunity that lies ahead, presented a unique opportunity for me to grow at this point in my career.

How will your Razorfish experience help you here?
I?m excited to be able to bring my years as a pure digital agency executive to the table for a leading integrated marketing communications agency.

Digital is increasingly at the center of the advertising and marketing mix, and I think my experiences from the pure digital side of the business will help bolster and grow the larger integrated offering from Draftfcb.

Draftfcb has never had a vice president of mobile. What will you make of the job?
I think our vision of the role, and the mobile function within the agency, is a new and dynamic one, and will evolve over time.

That being said, I think it is our common goal to capitalize on the mobile opportunity by finding smart, strategic ways to integrate mobile marketing and technology solutions into the great work already being done for Draftfcb clients across the board.

So how bold is the mandate given to you?
We?re taking it pretty seriously.

There is alignment within Draftfcb from the executive leadership on down that mobile is a real opportunity for growth and enhanced strategic relevancy for almost all aspects of the business.

While the transition and role are still new, I think the mandate is pretty clear ? help make sense of mobile for our clients, and build it into a differentiating expertise for the agency.

Who will you report into?
I will be working directly with Chris Miller, senior vice president and management director for digital, and working closely with most of the senior and executive leadership across the agency in North America.

Will you get a team?
Yes, our goal moving forward is,  in part, to build out strategic staffing to support mobile marketing and technology capabilities across the agency when and where it makes sense.

Draftfcb is known for its direct marketing prowess. Where does mobile fit into the mix?
Mobile is such a fascinating digital technology, precisely because it can function in many different ways for both the marketer and the consumer.

As a direct marketing tool, I see great potential for mobile as a relationship and CRM tool, as well as for driving direct-response-type promotions and offers, which lines up really nicely with the agency?s reputation.

I think, in addition, there is a lot of room for growth for this medium to function as a brand-building and awareness tool as well, and that?s something we?re eager to explore further in the coming year.

What sort of mobile work has Draftfcb done so far?
Draftfcb, like most agencies out there, has done some work in most areas of mobile marketing, from display ad media to SMS messaging campaigns to WAP site development and downloadable applications.

It?s exciting to see the experimentation happening organically, and our bet is through a focused effort on scaling capabilities we?ll capitalize on that momentum going forward.

The temptation is to bolt on a mobile solution to every client marketing program, right?
I think that?s the temptation for most agencies at this point.

I think it?s a result of the versatility of the technology and its immediacy and scale among consumers.

The reality is, mobile makes a ton of sense as an ingredient to a wide variety of marketing programs, but that doesn?t mean using mobile for mobile?s sake.

As with any new technology, sound rationale and good strategy are needed to make it perform successfully towards client objectives.

Will you pitch new mobile-only business?
I think it?s more likely that developing a market-leading toolkit of mobile offerings within the Draftfcb Digital offering, will enhance our ability to deliver results on the digital side of the business, and allow the agency as a whole to continue to offer compelling integrated solutions across our clients? business objectives.

As an agency veteran on the mobile side, you've seen the mobile medium evolve. Where is it in terms of marketer acceptance?
I think we?re at a critical juncture now, and in the coming year.

I think the industry has crossed a threshold in the past six months where it?s getting really hard for anybody to justify not using mobile for at least some aspect of their business or marketing.

You?re seeing big brand players take some big steps in the space recently, in all areas from media and messaging to apps and mobile Web.

Recent surveys and studies suggest mobile is going to be a key differentiator for retailers this holiday, for example.

I think in the next year the ratio of brands and marketers not employing mobile in some way to those who are will continue to shrink.

With each passing day, consumers are increasing switching to a mobile lifestyle. Do advertisers and agencies get the evolution, or are they on the banks watching the boats go by?
I?ve been saying for some time that the average American doesn?t wake up in the morning and say to him or herself, ?You know, I think I?ll leave my cell phone at home today.?

Mobile is just not an optional component of the daily digital experience for consumers, and I think brands are starting to realize that sitting on the banks could quickly become a serious handicap in the competitive market.

As for agencies, I think they are realizing the same thing to varying degrees, and certainly Draftfcb?s decision to create this role and move aggressively into the mobile space shows that this agency is not planning to watch any boats go by.

Application-envy is a serious disease with brands. What's your remedy?
My remedy is pretty simple ? don?t let the hype and apparent seductive ease of mobile apps, and iPhone apps in particular, distract you from what the real opportunity is for your brand to connect with your consumer on the mobile device.

I think iPhone apps have made the mobile opportunity obvious and accessible for brands, but the hype has caused many to rush towards that as the mobile solution, when in fact many programs can be highly successful without a mobile app component.

Feature phone sales still outnumber smartphone distribution. Yet the market seems to be overlooking a segment easily reached with SMS. So what's to be done?
The obvious answer is ? figure out and capitalize on the reach opportunity of SMS.

Each month more case studies on the significant ROI of basic SMS programs emerge, some of my favorites from the teams here at Draftfcb, in fact.

I?ve advocated imposing the ?Tulsa Test? on mobile programs to determine if they make sense.

The ?Tulsa Test? involves three questions.

First, will the average person understand how to do what we are asking them to do on their phone?

Next, will the phone they have today allow them to do it easily?

Finally, will that consumer derive some immediate and tangible value from engaging with the program?

Often in answering these simple questions, you realize that real success lies in being able to answer ?yes? to each question for as many consumers as possible, which naturally leads the conversation towards the 80 percent of the market comprising feature phone users and SMS programs.

What are some key concerns you have with mobile marketing going into 2010?
I have a couple of concerns.

One major one is getting the senior people at the major U.S. mobile carriers to see the mobile marketing opportunity the same way that brands and agencies are seeing it, and begin to collaborate with us on how to realize the opportunity.

Right now, the carriers in the U.S. seem not only not to care about mobile marketing, but in some cases are making policy and technical decisions that are making it more difficult instead of less for brands to leverage the mobile platform.

My other concern is that too many brands and agencies won?t see the forest for the trees, and pump too much funding into application development, overlooking the basic blocking and tackling of sustainable mobile success that include employing SMS messaging programs that work, and offering robust and useful mobile Web destinations as extensions of online services.

What's the biggest thing in mobile's favor next year?
The consumer. The American consumer is driving all of this ? they want more from mobile devices, mobile services, and they want more from the brands they love via the mobile platform.

I don?t see that changing, and as consumers continue to make mobile the center of their digital life, they drive change and adoption into the whole space.

Your first task in the new job?
Job No. 1 is to listen.

The people at Draftfcb are leaders in what they do for their clients, and I have a lot to learn.

My goal is not to fundamentally change anything going on there, instead to learn the culture and the clients, and enable the agency to add mobile into their already successful mix confidently.

What message will your appointment send to the agency world?
If it sends any message, I hope it?s that mobile is a real part of the channel mix from here on out.

A leading global agency, with a long tradition of success, has decided that mobile marketing has reached a point in its evolution that it warrants a seat at the big table.

The position I?m filling is not in R&D, not in emerging technology ? I?ll be a dedicated mobile executive working right alongside executives in the other disciplines, collaborating to bring ever better integrated marketing solutions forward for our clients. I?m excited about what?s coming.