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Mobile commerce is going to be huge: ad:tech panelist

SAN FRANCISCO – Mobile creates an opportunity for big brands and small mom-and-pop shops. Regardless of size, companies need to find the right mobile marketing mix that helps build relationships with consumers.

During the “AT&T Sponsored Workshop: Finding the Right Mobile Marketing Mix,” panelists discussed the importance of mobilizing a brand’s content or storefront and how they can further engage their consumers in a mobile context.

The panel was moderated by Jeff Cotrupe, global program director at Osscs.

“People are buying things through mobile,” said Dan Lowden, vice president of marketing at Digby, Austin, TX. “People were buying anything from Godiva chocolates to flowers from 1800Flowers.

“Retailers should do a mobile-optimized site as a starting point and then further engage their customers by developing an app,” he said. “A stat recently came out that 50 percent of mobile users bring their phone to a store.

“The retailer has an opportunity with mobile to engage with their customers.”

According to Mr. Lowden, mobile commerce is going to be huge.

“To be able to buy via your app, that’s certainly the direction it’s going,” Mr. Lowden said. “We enable credit card purchases, gift card purchases and even PayPal [via the mobile sites we develop].

“Imagine near field communications and waving your phone to make a purchase,” he said. “That’s coming.

“There are a lot of big rocks that need to move a little to make that happen.”

According to Robert Russell, director of AT&T mobile marketing solutions, it is important to figure out which elements of the marketing mix companies choose.

Brands should figure out whether they want to develop apps, mobile sites or use SMS.

“The key themes that permeate those tools is putting the consumers in control and making that information valuable to them,” Mr. Russell said. “If the user experience is good and they find what they’re looking for and if they get value out of interacting with your app or mobile site, they’re going to keep engaging with you.

“If they’re not at the center of the value equation, it’s not going to work,” he said.

Additionally, the company partnered with Digby to help retailers design, deploy and manage commerce-enabled mobile-optimized sites and apps.

The initiative provides businesses with a single platform that works across a variety of mobile operating systems and lets retailers provide information, pictures of products, rich media and an enhanced shopping experience when potential customers scan bar codes.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth in mobile bar codes,” Mr. Russell said. “Especially with the general education around it.”

Phil Buehle, senior partner and head of planning at OgilvyOne agreed that the mobile space is emerging especially with the different tools that companies are using such as augmented reality and QR codes.

The executive also believes that mobile payments are becoming popular and more consumers are buying goods and services via their mobile device.

“As far as mobile commerce, it’s far out there,” Mr. Buehle said. “It’s still early though.”

Jennifer Shouten, vice president of affiliate marketing at Starz Entertainment also agreed that mobile bar codes are a great way to engage with consumers.

Starz used mobile bar codes in several of its campaigns where it promoted its new shows “Spartacus” and “Camelot.”

When consumers scan the code they are redirected to a mobile landing page where they can view trailers and find out more about the show.

“The landing page is designed for consumers to find what they want immediately,” Ms. Shouten said. “Hopefully it’s a positive experience for customers.

“And the great thing about it is that we’re able to track each scan,” she said.