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Mobile Web is being underserved, undervalued right now: Mobile Marketing Day panel

NEW YORK ? Panelists at the 4th annual Mobile Marketing Day 2012 conference said that although applications are great, the mobile Web is ubiquitous and it is the bare minimum needed to get started in mobile.

During the ?Debate: Which Channel Will Be the Breakout Star in 2012?? panel, executives discussed what the breakout stars will be this year ? whether it is SMS, mobile ads, mobile search, mobile Web, mobile apps, QR codes or mobile video. The panel was moderated by Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer, New York.

?It?s tough to have a one-size-fits-all approach to mobile,? said Laura Marriott, acting-CEO of NeoMedia Technologies.

?I will wave the flag for mobile Web,? she said. ?Apps are great, but the mobile Web is ubiquitous.

?It can help you achieve all your [goals] and it?s a great thing to have.?

What?s new?
According to Ms. Marriott, there are many shiny new objects out there right now in the mobile space.

In addition to mobile Web, there are several emerging technologies that will have a huge impact this year.

?If you look at what the hype is this year, it?s all about mobile payments, NFC and QR codes,? Ms. Marriott said. ?It was only in 2003 that the first mobile marketing campaign in the United States happened.

?This is still a very early market and it?s growing faster than any other channel,? she said. ?Make sure that whatever channel you?re using, it?s appropriate for your consumers and your budget.

?Make sure it fits your strategy and your clients ? don?t get dazzled by all the shiny objects.?

The NeoMedia executive also believes that QR code campaigns have matured over the past year.

While it the past, mobile bar codes led consumers to static pages, marketers are increasingly thinking outside the box and are beginning to develop interactive and engaging QR code campaigns.

?We started to see a lot of activity last year with QR codes and we have seen mainstream brands having a lot of success,? Ms. Marriott said.

?We?ve have gone from throwing a QR code on a print advertisement and we?re now launching very creative QR code-based campaigns that might have a sweepstakes component or link to a video,? she said.

?Having that innovation has added more excitement and has gotten more brands involved.?

Mobile first
According to Eric Harber, chief operating officer of Hipcricket + Augme Technologies, Kirkland, WA, mobile is an area that is great for experimentation.

?In terms of which channel will be the breakout star this year, if I were to pick one, it would be mobile advertising,? Mr. Harber said. ?It?s taking off and mobile Web is taking off as well.

?There?s also still a glow around apps,? he said. ?But it really depends on the situation and the goal.

?I will say that the payment space has a while to sort itself out ? we don?t know yet who?s going to win this game and we have ways to go before it standardizes. Mobile is not an island, but it is effective if you tie it in with your marketing strategy.?

Mobile payments will change the medium this year and will have a big impact for both marketers and consumers.

Although NFC is still new, the technology is rapidly emerging with more companies adopting it.

Currently, both Google Wallet and ISIS are paving the way.

In addition to mobile payments, location will also be a big deal this year.

?It?s about delivering really tailored offers to users,? said Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast, San Francisco. 

?Think about what you?re already doing in marketing and how mobile can extend that.?

Mobile and social have always gone hand-in-hand and in 2012, marketers will take both channels on a deeper level.

?Ultimately mobile is a great vehicle for social,? said Paul Bremer, chief revenue officer of Rhythm NewMedia.

?And a lot of advertisers are empowering their consumers with their messages and turning those consumers into advocates,? he said. ?Mobile is inherently social.?

Additionally, the executive believes that video and rich-media is the most effective and immersive opportunity for brand advertising.

?You?re creating a story and a narrative of what your brand is,? Mr. Bremer said. 

Final Take

Eric Harber, chief operating officer of Hipcricket + Augme Technologies