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10 key takeaways from last week?s Mobile Marketing Forum

By Brenna Hanly

So you did not make it to the Mobile Marketing Association?s Mobile Marketing Forum in Beverly Hills, CA, last week?

Fortunately, I summarized the 10-hour event on Nov. 17 in 10 key takeaways on the six-hour flight back to Boston the next day.

1. Jamie Foxx is cool. The conference began with a keynote via Skype from actor Jamie Foxx.  I am not completely sure what he said or how it related to mobile, but he is famous and he looked good. Reason enough to believe.

2. Even Elmo is mobile. Who better to follow Jamie Foxx than Sesame Street?

Surprisingly, Sesame Worldwide has embraced mobile communications more than a lot of big brands. It views mobile as a key medium to educate and entertain children. 

Sesame has built sophisticated mobile applications, mobile sites and podcasts.

If mobile is intuitive enough for Elmo, major marketers need to be active in the space.

3. Mobile is about action. One of the most insightful presentations was conducted by Jamie Wells at Microsoft.

According to his research, one of the distinctions between mobile and the PC is that mobile is about immediate action. 

Seventy percent of mobile searches lead to action within one hour versus one month for 70 percent of PC search users to take action.

4. ChaCha is more than a dance. The answers driven by a company called Chacha is reinventing search.
ChaCha is an SMS, application and site that has real people answering questions for users. Its site is the fastest-growing in the comScore top 100 sites. 

Users feel such a connection to the ChaCha service that they are actually wishing it good night. This is an important player to consider in search conversations.

5. Big spenders on mobile devices. Mobile commerce is not just about low-ticket items.

Eve Richey from Dell told us that three out of five of the company?s top-selling products from a mobile device are laptops.

5th Finger's Steen Andersson and Mobile Marketer's Mickey Alam Khan at the Mobile Marketing Awards dinner Nov. 17 at the Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, CA

6. Mobile is racing. Dan Rosen from AKQA inspired the audience by discussing the Real Racing GTI application created for client Volkswagen. 

The entire budget was spent on working with developers to make the application a great user experience, with self-perpetuating social elements built in.

Oh, and it actually worked. 

Two hundred cars were sold to application?s players, half of which were new customers.

7. MySpace is crashing. Literally, the presentation shut down every five minutes.

MySpace is putting some energy behind its redesign and envisions mobile to be a big part of that.

Not sure I buy it, but 25 million MySpace mobile users is not too shabby.

8. Adapt or die. Jeffrey Hayzlett, author and ?celebrity CMO? brought a lot of energy to the stage. He encouraged making mistakes if it meant taking bigger risks and learning. 

Ultimately, he said, be bold because at the end of the day no one is going to die. This is marketing, not the ER.

9. Yellow Pages live on. As location-based services becomes a real component of mobile campaigns, it is important to consider players such as Where and YP or AT&Ts Yellow Pages reinvented.

These guys can provide scale to hyper-local initiatives and drive traffic to retail locations.

AT&T has seen four- to five-times higher click-through rates for geo-enabled banners than standard banners.

10. Asia is where it is at. I was completely blown away by Mobile Marketing Association Asia-Pacific managing director Rohit Dadwal?s discussion of the mobile marketplace in Asia and how it is exploding.

People are selling mobile devices on buses, using them for basic survival needs and actually responding to mobile advertising. A Unilever Axe mobile voice campaign over there generated 680 million incoming calls.

Brenna Hanly is mobile catalyst at Boston agency Mullen?s mediahub. Reach her at .