• Part 3 of 8: Mobile Takes the Main Stage

    More people are switching from feature phones to smartphones, and as they make the leap, the uptick in Internet use on these fancy new gadgets increases 50-fold, according to Mike Steib, director of video ads at Google. This spike in activity represents a major opportunity for marketers, and it’s only expanding.

    “There is going to be enormous growth in the connectivity of users worldwide, and they’ll be connected not for the precious moments they spend at their computer, but every minute of the day,” says Steib, referring to how easy it is to whip out an iPhone or Droid to conduct spur-of-the-moment searches. And millions of tablet sales will raise the mobile stakes even higher.

    As more users access the Web from their mobile devices, creative professionals will need to adjust their content development strategy. Whether a site is mostly static, content driven or interactive, it needs to address mobile users’ unique needs. Those with proven experience designing and organizing content for the small screen and for a variety of devices and browsers will be highly coveted among employers.

    Another key focus area in mobile will be “delivering success at the moment of truth when you are turning a shopper into a buyer,” says Saatchi & Saatchi’s Baglivo. Creative professionals who can identify the appropriate value offer to share with mobile users that compels them to “pull the trigger” will be greatly sought.

    Becoming a Mobile Mogul

    How do you take advantage of the mobile market? Google’s Steib offers several tips:

    • Cover the basics first. “People are jumping to ‘How do I do the really cool stuff?’ and skipping ‘How do I do the basics well?’” he says. Case in point: 80 percent of large brands haven’t enabled their sites for mobile, according to Steib. Sites designed for desktops don’t necessarily look good on phones, and long forms are a barrier for mobile users.

    • Know thy users. Study up on user behavior – what are people doing now and what will they do next? During the 2011 Super Bowl, for instance, Google discovered a surge in searches for brands when their ads came on TV. Did all those sites work on mobile devices? Are you running a display video campaign that coincides with that TV commercial?

    • Think “location, location, location.” A key marketing advantage of a smartphone over a laptop is that it knows where your consumers are, so you can send them to a nearby store to make a purchase.

    • Be device-specific. Think about tailoring your communication to users on different devices. Even generally personalized messages such as “Hey, iPhone users” might have a positive impact on your campaign’s success.

    • Raise your techie status. “I don’t believe that the average marketer needs to be able to write computer code. The average marketer needs to understand the technology trends,” Steib says. One example: Know the difference between HTML5 and Flash, so you don’t develop a campaign with the latter only to realize too late that it doesn’t render on iPhones. A strong understanding of information design, user interface and visual design best practices, as well as the nuances and design constraints of mobile platforms, also are valued.

    Donna Farrugia is Executive Director at The Creative Group, a division of specialized staffing leader Robert Half International Inc., which specializes in placing highly skilled creative, advertising, marketing, web and public relations professionals with a variety of firms. Read the entire white paper, “The Creative Group of the Future.”

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