Ben Smith and I popped along to this evening’s Every Single One Of Us event held by Jonathan MacDonald. It’s his brainchild. Jonathan’s a thinker and a do-er. With a wide range of experience behind him and a raft of top clients sensibly leaning on his every word, he’s one of the best positioned to commentate upon, to inform and to help shape the future of the [mobile] advertising industry.
I put mobile in brackets because I very much believe that the mobile medium will merge — it has to merge — into the existing raft of advertising mediums, instead of being the last thing your average media buyer considers when planning a campaign of influence.
Jonathan took a look at the marketplace as it stands here in the West and, like many, shook his head. Something had to be done. Somebody had to step up and sort it.
Here’s the problem. What is mobile marketing? What do you define as ‘permission based mobile marketing’? How do you define an ‘end user’ and the medium(s) of mobile. We’re no longer talking about text messages. It’s not just about knocking out 500,000 texts and hoping 0.5% of them will buy your ringtone. There’s a vast array of emerging sub-set mediums. Just look at the Apple iTunes App Store. Way back in the Summer, Steve Jobs defined it as a ‘half billion dollar economy already’. Goodness knows where it is now. That’s just talking application purchase fees. If I run an iPhone app and there’s an advert on the front screen, is that an impression? A hit? Or, if I give you permission to archive my entire public Twitter stream — is that marketing? Or pre-marketing? At what point do you market to me? Is Twitter a mobile marketing medium? Yes if I’m sending a text message to Twitter. No if I’m using the online Twitter.com site. Or… what if I’m using the iPhone application, Twitterific, to interact with the service. And, if I give you, the Nestle corporation, the ability to use my location as delivered to the public internet via my Twitterific app, is that advertising? Or… and by the way, how do I revoke that permission? Or modify it?
Mobile’s definitely in there. But right now the cash is in television, radio, internet — precious few are ‘in’ mobile. Partly because defining what the hell ‘mobile’ is — well, it’s far too difficult for your average media buyer who grew up in the age of three or four mediums.
It’s all personal. That’s the trouble. Consider this concept. You manage to obtain 100,000 mobile numbers — all opted in. You’re Reebok, right? You want to test this mobile medium. You knock out a text to all 100,000 numbers at 2pm on Saturday. The message reads ‘Get 15% a pair of Reeboks today. Use the code ‘REB200′ at any Reebok store.’
You text that out. You sit back. You relax. You get excited.
Until your mobile messaging partner calls you to report that 76,000 people have just written back to you with different variations of this message:
“Yes please. Where’s my nearest Reebok shop?”
Now you’ve got to have 76,000 interactions.
Seventy-Six Thousand. You can kiss your complicated bollocks marketing preferences system goodbye. You know the ones I mean. The systems that will segment the entire country into six groups. No. You need 76,000 groups.
Because it’s all about me. Soon you’ll be able to use mobile and other mediums to connect directly with me. You’ll need to be ready to handle a two way conversation with me. Smartly.
But before we get there, before we even think about this sort of thing, we need some kind of parameters. Some kind of baseline. Some kind of research support. Some kind of standardised repository of best practice. Some kind of movement.
That’s Jonathan’s Every Single One Of Us. He’s aiming to get as many people as possible together from the advertising/mobile/beyond regions of industry in a continuously evolving best practice resource.
He doesn’t quite know the shape and it’s a tall order. He faces quite a challenge. It’s not as if he’s trying to catalogue the different species of Bear or something finite. We don’t really know where we’re going with the mobile advertising medium. It’s changing, growing — a moveable feast.
But we do know that there needs to be some kind of common taxonomy. Some kind of central area to help folk develop, exchange and modify ideas. So that once there’s a general model for doing stuff — that works — it can get written down and distributed to anyone that’s interested. So that when you’re faced with explaining the merits of conversational advertising methodology to your Chief Executive tomorrow afternoon, you can pull up some best practice case studies of what’s been done. You can benefit from the wisdom of the ‘intelligenced crowds’.
We’ve not had this before, really.
I can’t ever remember a ‘movement’ like this to help define, document and support a burgeoning industry that hasn’t really got here yet.
So it’s a brave one. I reckon Jonathan might need to take more of a hands-on approach in order for it to really make headway. There’s, alas, only so much you can achieve in ‘group mode’. Somebody needs to make the servers work and define the start and end points to help give context to the rest. He’ll need some kind of support or sponsorship for that. And it remains to be seen as to whether the marketing industry gets any of this ‘individuality stuff’.
Based on the 80 luminaries who attended Jonathan’s event this evening (the ‘powwow’ to formally introduce the concept), there’s an overwhelming amount of nodding heads. Lots of clapping. Lots of murmering agreement. Lots of assent. I’m not sure every attendee will be on the Every Single One Of Us site this evening contributing their recommendations to the wikistyle site Jonathan’s created. This isn’t a failure point. It’s a hesitation point. Lead the way Jonathan — show the way ahead and I reckon a lot of folk will follow.
Get 5 committed, smart people in a room Jonathan. Knock out the Every Single One Of Us creed. The way-of-doing-business. Knock out the to-do list of what you’d like to see. Post it up. Solicit requests to complete the tasks in the to-do list but appoint some trusted chaps to actually do the work, slowly, in their spare time. So something actually gets done. Shape it and keep it front-of-mind and I reckon you’ve got a go-er.
Back to more mundane housekeeping issues here at Mobile Industry Review. Ben and I managed to capture some good video. I’ve yet to check it out though. It’s sitting on some memory cards in my pocket at the moment — I hope the sound was ok. It features me talking to some luminaries at the event this evening. And all things being equal, we’ll have it up here soon.