During the “Mobile Marketing Trends in 2012:  How do I choose a Winning Strategy” session at the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit, I told a story about my passion for college football.  As a graduate of the University of Florida, it was no surprise that I am a big fan of Tim Tebow (Heisman trophy winner at Florida, @TimTebow, polarizing NFL Quarterback recently acquired by the JETS, etc.).  Last year, as the starting QB for the Denver Broncos, Tim led his team to multiple 4th quarter comebacks including a playoff game against the Pittsburg Steelers where he threw the winning touchdown in overtime and set a Twitter record for a TV sporting event (9420 tweets per second).  Clearly the TV audience was both watching the game and using their mobile devices to Tweet at the same time.  However, during the biggest TV event in sports, SuperBowl 46, the Altimeter Group indicates that only 16% of ads included references to social media and only 11% of ads included emerging media (QR codes, SMS codes, mobile apps).  Consequently, I believe there is big and relatively nascent opportunity for companies to integrate mobile and social media in traditional marketing & advertising campaigns.

Okay, back to Summit again…  Following my opening remarks, I then had the privilege of moderating a high-powered panel on a variety of key mobile topics. The panelists included:

  • Michelle Felice-Steele from Experian Consumer Direct
  • Eric Schmitt from American Eagle Outfitters
  • Warren Raisch from Digitaria (@WarrenRaisch)
  • Julie Ask from Forrester Research (@JulieAsk)

Below are some of the highlights of our conversation I think are worth sharing. As the group covered a lot of territory/topics, I will share the highlights over two blog posts. Ready or not, here is part one of our Summit panel discussion highlights:

Smartphones vs. Feature phones:  Given the penetration rate of Smartphones in the US (projections of up to 50% by end of 2012), the panel discussed the following question:  “Is any need to consider the feature phone audience?”

  • Michelle:  “SMS is a core feature of our mobile strategy at Experian because we can reach the broadest mobile audience including feature phones with credit based alerts.”
  • Eric:  “We cannot ignore the 50 to 60% of feature phone consumers because we have a SMS database that can reach them with our text messaging offers.”

Tablets:  Recently Adobe published a research study that analyzed over 150 retail websites and the engagement of Tablet visitors in comparison to consumers with Smartphones or Desktop PCs.   The Adobe Digital Index results show that tablets convert 3X better than smartphones across retailer sites and that tablets have a higher average order value than even PCs.  The panel discussed the following question “do you see similar trends in your business?”

  • Eric:  “Although I cannot disclose specific numbers, at American Eagle we see similar trends in terms of conversions and engagement on tablets.  We are considering the development of tablet optimized experiences in 2012.”


Mobile sites vs. Mobile apps:  A common question from marketers that I am hearing is “If I have a limited budget, which is more important to my marketing efforts, the mobile optimized site or the mobile app?”

  • Michelle:  “If Experian were investing today, then I would start with a mobile site since it provides broad reach and supports user acquisition.  We are also adopting a “hybrid” approach where the native apps built for loyal customers may serve content from the mobile website.”
  • Eric:   “American Eagle Outfitters focused on developing the mobile site first because you can reach everyone via a mobile site versus an app that requires download.  Eventually, after fully thinking through the business rationale, we built an app focused on loyalty members and included some cool shopping features to support these customers.”
  • Julie:  “Mobile web and mobile apps will co-exist for now.  Clients building apps want to tap into device specific features, enable off-line support, or premium user experience.”


Mobile Advertising:  eMarketer indicate that US mobile ad spend is fairly evenly split between messaging (28%), search (33%), and display (33%).  The panel addressed the question, “Do you see a similar mix in your acquisition spend for mobile?”

  • Michelle:  “Experian spends more on mobile search today.  Our tests for mobile display ads showed higher CPA and lower conversion rate.”
  • Eric:  “The majority of spend at American Eagle Outfitters focuses on messaging (SMS) along with some testing of mobile search.  Our business requires rigorous measurement of ROI from the initial click to the final sale and currently messaging provides effective ROI.  Our SMS database has been built over the last few years and we send consumers a blend of offers, codes, and alerts to new merchandise.”
  • Julie:  “Doing acquisition on mobile is hard.  However, I am a big fan of messaging (SMS) since it is the only interoperable platform around the world and supports push notifications.”


Emerging Technologies:  Given the availability of new technologies for mobile marketing such as QR codes, augmented reality, location services, and mobile wallets, the panel discussed “Are mainstream consumers ready to embrace and use these capabilities?”

  • Eric:  “Our target audience of teens and young adults embraces new technologies.  We are pleased with the results from our partnership with ShopKick and are a launch partner for mobile wallets with Google.  Our audience naturally understands how to use technologies and does not require any training from our staff.”
  • Warren:  “QR codes and location services are the most prevalent areas of focus for our clients.”
  • Julie:  “Location services such as Google maps are very high in usage.  Approximately, 15% of smartphone owners use QR codes.  My advice to marketers is to use 2D codes and augmented reality to simplify discovery and access to info.  For augmented reality, some great examples include the Amazon flow app for viewing more info about books and products and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia app for viewing more info about home prices”

In my next post, I will summarize the panel’s advice around mobile strategy, investment for mobile, and some key takeaways for the approaching mobile marketing with the right mindset.