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Starcom exec: Local mobile most untapped marketing opportunity

NEW YORK – A Starcom executive at the ad:tech New York 2013 conference last week said that the combination of location with the contextual data found in mobile devices creates the perfect storm for marketers wanting to run local campaigns at scale.

Executives from Aflac, The Weather Channel, Starcom MediaVest Group and Teleflora spoke about how local and mobile are inherently linked during the “It’s a Local World, Let’s Scale it” session. The panel was moderated by Pete Gombert, CEO of Bahlihoo, Boise, ID.

“Yes, we are already recommending local, but when you put all those things together, to me, we’re just now starting to realize the ultimate opportunity,” said Lisa Weinstein, president of global digital, data and analytics at Starcom MediaVest Group, Chicago.

“When you think about local, which is personal, with the opportunity that mobile presents and understanding context through that lens, I fundamentally believe that that is the most untapped opportunity that we have, and I think the way that you leverage that opportunity, even for national marketers is through local at scale,” she said.

Crafting mobile experiences?
When it comes to local and mobile it is all about creating experiences. An experience is basically the intersection of ideas and data, per Ms. Weinstein.

There are also two types of experinces: Agile and personal.

In agile experiences, marketers leverage the current information on culture, consumers and how it correlates to brand engagement.

Personal experience are more about what marketers know about consumers for a one-to-one relationship.

Location is one of the best ways to get to that one-on-one level because marketers are able to look at behavior and intent by knowing where a consumer is.

When location is married with the contextual data that can be gleamed from mobile, marketers have a big opportunity to make advertising segmented and therefore more contextually-relevant to consumers.

Take the weather, for example. It is a prime example of how marketers can create personal and agile experiences and messages based on their ZIP code with messaging that can be tweaked for different demographics.

One of Starcom’s hair care brand clients use this data to serve up personal, scalable messages that are also tailored to what the current weather does to a consumer’s hair at a specific time of day.

Marketers deserve to give themselves more credit for how mobile is being used within television and social media buys, per Ms. Weinstein.

With a majority of traffic and revenue on Facebook coming from mobile, social campaigns are being crafted with mobile in mind.

Additionally, brands and agencies have put in a significant amount of work to understand Twitter’s role on television as a second screen.

The challenge for marketers is thinking mobile-first.

“That requires technology know-how, that requires infrastructure – especially if you’re talking commerce,” Ms. Weinstein said.

“Which will be what has to get figured out, where everyone’s focused on, which is how do you leverage mobile-first for your business,” she said.

Targeting specific groups of consumers
John T. Harmeling, senior vice president of marketing at Aflac, Columbus, GA, explained that because Aflac sells products to an employer and ultimately to an employee, using mobile for segmentation is one of the biggest opportunities for the company.

For example, Hispanics and millennials significantly overindex on mobile usage.

Specific to millennials, the rate that consumers are shopping on mobile is significantly more than other generations.

Therefore, Aflac thinks about leveraging mobile around enrollment options that can be used by employers to tailor messages to employees.

“We’re investing in technologies to do exactly that because then you can tailor specific messages based on personas, based on mosaics, based on what that customer actually looks like and get really tailored messages,” Mr. Harmeling said.

“Again leveraging data to say, ‘what are they going to be most likely to need?’” he said. “What we’re all about is really what that customer needs and how we can give them that benefit that’s going to meet them at their point of need because we’re an insurance company.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York