The Mobile Mindset Change

This article was originally published in Digital Market Asia in August 2013 and can be read here

Mobile has moved from periphery to the centre of communication: Dick van Motman 


In the last two years, several companies have been rethinking the role that mobile plays when it comes to communication and marketing. According to Dick van Motman, CEO & Chairman of Dentsu Network Asia, mobile has witnessed a mindset change. This has enabled companies that were keeping mobile at arm’s length and on the periphery of their work, to now make it the centrepiece of their thought process. The conversation has shifted from ‘could this also work on mobile’ to ‘how will it work on mobile’.

Tracing the background here, Mr Motman reminded that technology changes lead to behaviour changes, which is often followed by the industry playing catch up and impacting changes in its own strategies.

Consumer’s role is shaping up the industry
The explosion in devices and platform technology has led to various changes in consumer’s media consumption habits. One notable aspect that Mr Motman highlighted is content snacking. Quoting some statistics here, he said, “Readers get 95 per cent of their news from aggregators, around 28 per cent from Twitter and 43 per cent from Facebook. Facebook, in fact, increased seven per cent in one year.”

Not only are people socially connected through mobile, and loading personal content from the device, they are also using mobile for utilities such as transactions, money transfers and the likes. Facts such as global mobile money transfer being valued at USD 375 billion at present are some indicators to this effect.

Mobile has also led to co-consumption of screens. “Around 77 per cent of the time viewers watch TV with another device at hand. There is unique content on TV, it allows better viewer experience but the interaction on devices brings the experience to life. There is screen at home and screen on the street and everything gets digitised increasingly,” added Mr Motman.

Another shift that affects marketing is the shift from ‘primetime’ to ‘my time’. Explosion in connected devices has taken the scheduling control out of hands of few, and has allowed people to watch content at their time. “We need to investigate the notion of control. With that comes the question, ‘who is in charge’. Mobile has become a leveller in more ways than one,” observed Mr Motman. He also cited the example of how rural or urban audiences could access the same content to establish his point.

The basics that don’t change
In this backdrop, mobile cannot be seen as something on the periphery – not only for communication but business strategy per se. “This is partly because technology allows it and partly because consumers are expecting it,” explained Mr Motman.

While mobile is a great device to make the experience engaging but brands are still built on storytelling. The change today is in the formats in which there is storytelling, the shift from 30-second to smaller screens and towards instantaneous interaction on the device.

The challenge ahead is how to pair the marketing veteran of the category with the graduate who knows all about social. “Companies have to see how these combinations can evolve their business process. It is not about technology but how clients follow it – because eventually it is about embracing technology and becoming a digital leader instead of being a follower,” concluded Mr Motman.

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