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Johnson & Johnson exec: Mobile requires new level of specificity

NEW YORK ?A Johnson & Johnson executive at the MMA Mobile Marketing Leadership Forum advised marketers to cease thinking of mobile as a subset of digital while weeding out underperforming applications and optimizing successful ones.

During the session, ?Winning in a Mobile-First World," the executive urged brands to allocate more of their media budgets toward mobile and select an in-house champion to instill a mobility mindset across all initiatives. Focusing heavily on top-performing mobile apps also allows marketers to offer users an unparalleled level of convenience and relevancy, and enables marketers to save money on unused and unloved apps.

?You?ve got to understand the journey at a new level of specificity,? said Gail Horwood, vice president of worldwide digital strategy at Johnson & Johnson.

The mobile mentality
Ms. Horwood cautioned marketers against thinking of mobile as purely a channel. While it is understandable that digital leaders may think about mobile that way ? since media is purchased by digital channel ? there is much more to it than that.

Younger consumers in particular are aware of mobile?s ubiquity as a research and purchasing device, meaning that brands must quickly catch up to those mindsets.

?We know that the millennials find a smartphone by their side day and night,? Ms. Horwood said. ?It?s an indispensable tool and device.?

Johnson & Johnson has steadily worked to adopt this way of thinking, spurred partly by the staggering amounts of mobile traffic it sees on its own digital properties.

More than 50 percent of its Web site traffic stems from smartphones, while over 50 percent of searches for its brands have originated from mobile devices since 2014.

The company maintains more than 50 mobile apps globally.

Brands should ensure they do not over-conceive app ideas and permeate consumers? smartphones with uninteresting or unhelpful tools.

While some marketers may believe that having an app is synonymous with having a mobile strategy, it is not necessarily the case.

?At J&J, it?s not really mobile marketing, it?s marketing in a mobile world,? Ms. Horwood said.

Practicing app abstinence
Ms. Horwood encouraged the audience to engage in app abstinence methods by honing in on apps receiving optimal usage and feedback, and scaling back efforts on those that are not.

Johnson & Johnson does currently have a basic mobile presence for many of its brands, but understands that an app may not be the best channel for every subset of the company. This has prompted the organization to comb its catalog for unused and unloved apps.

However, it is planning to allocate more attention to popular apps, such as the Bedtime Baby Sleep app, which helps new mothers track their child?s napping patterns and optimize their surrounding environments for a good night?s sleep.

Johnson & Johnson sought to take a digital experience and marry it with its products in a convenient way that would resonate with the target demographic ? which in this case, it did.

?To me, there?s no shortage of opportunities to scale this,? Ms. Horwood said. ?It?s been a very successful app in this market.?

The company is also using social listening and analytics to drive relevance in mobile moments.

Last year, Johnson & Johnson?s Listerine brand tapped social and mobile to motivate consumers to take up a 21-day challenge to use the mouthwash for a chance to win a slew of prizes while improving their oral health (see story).

Additionally, it is experimenting with a slew of other trendy mobile strategies, including sending trigger-based advertisements to users? smartphones based on local data, such as weather patterns and pollen count.

This provides more ways to integrate relevant data into programmatic and creative executions.

Ultimately, marketers must work to break out of mobile jail ? a term used to describe mobile?s relegation to a subset of digital ? by looking at it as a percentage of the overall media mix.

?We look at mobile as this connected tissue around the mobility experience,? Ms. Horwood said.