Mobile Marketing Association Forum Singapore 2012
The team is back in the office once again, after spending three days at the Grand Hyatt for the Mobile Marketing Association Forum Singapore 2012. This is the fourth year of the Forum, and we’re proud to say that we have supported this Mobile Marketing Association event for all four years. This is my third time, personally, and as usual, I got a lot out of it.
The Forum is a gathering of professionals from the mobile marketing, advertising and related industries. The mobile space is hot right now, with lots of people wanting to get involved in it, so there a lot of people at the Forum, some from big-name companies like Nokia, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Western Union and ESPN, as well as lots of folks from lesser-known companies. All these representatives come from around the region (and the world) and they come from different parts of the mobile ecosystem: brands, agencies and telcos are represented, but so are other interests like mobile ad networks, apps developers, content publishers and so on. The best thing about the Forum is how well everyone gets along: there are many opportunities for interaction and networking.
But it’s educational, too. The photo at the top of this post is from one of the pre-conference workshops held on the 23rd of April. These interactive sessions are meant to help people learn about mobile advertising and marketing, and if you participate in a workshop you know that you’re not going to just sit back and take the information in. The trainers themselves have extensive experience, and through lectures, conversations and various exercises, they give participants a taste of actually working through the fundamentals of mobile marketing. It’s lots of fun, and everyone really got into the spirit of things – so much passion in one room was great to see.
The other two days were slightly more conventional, with presentations, fireside chats and panel discussions making up most of the formal sessions. In between, delegates got to check out the exhibitor tables where some companies were showcasing their offerings, as well as experience mobile campaigns from the end-user point of view in the Mobile Experience Lab.
This year’s Forum reflected the changing role of mobile. Once upon a time, the mobile channel was a bit like the Internet’s little brother, and marketing on it basically required repurposing banner ads for display on a smaller screen. These days, all that has changed, mainly because mobile has changed so much in the last few years, with the development of the app economy, the explosion in smartphone adoption (particularly in Singapore, but it’s happening in other parts of Asia, too), and simply the fact that we now use our phones for more than we might have imagined even five years ago.
So now we’re looking at the situation where mobile is a catalyst: marketers can plan campaigns which use traditional media like print and television, but then add mobile for a much-needed interactive element. And interactivity adds value for brands, too, who can use mobile to open up channels of communication with their consumers, and even create communities. Throughout the Forum (I didn’t get to attend all the sessions) we heard strategies for connecting with people – and learned a lot more about how people are using their mobile devices these days.
It really is all about the consumer – today’s consumer has easy access to technology, and is very savvy about using it. He or she is interested in content, but isn’t concerned about the container that content comes in. So many people now use their mobile phones or other devices (think tablets) to listen to music, or watch tv shows, or read books, or catch up on the news. Marketing to these people isn’t about simply blasting them with advertising, but is about providing consumers with relevant, useful information at the right time and place – or making it available to them when they want it.
I could go on and on about all the interesting things that I learned, and the videos that were shown, and the case studies that were shared, but I won’t. I’ll simply say that I learned a great deal, as usual, and I had a good time, as usual, and … the best part of the Forum for me was all the conversations I had. Might not be of interest to everyone, but when you’re a professional communicator, the chats that I had with all sorts of different people gave me real insights into how the media landscape is changing, and what the view looks like from different places in it.
I’ll close this post with a picture of Mr Michael Yap, Deputy CEO of Media Development Authority, who was the guest-of-honour. He opened this year’s Forum with a great talk where he outlined the Singapore government’s interest in and support for digital innovation, including the mobile space. I was lucky enough to be able to sit in on that session – and as you can tell from my photo, I was front and centre!
(You might also be able to tell from the photos that I was having fun with the filters and advanced photo-editing techniques available on my mobile phone – it’s amazing what that little handheld device can do.)