Digital Insider: Patrick Moorhead, VP-director of mobile platforms, Draftfcb Chicago on mobile's growing prominence

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Agency veteran Patrick Moorhead begins his new role as VP, director of mobile platforms at Draftfcb Chicago on December 7. Moorhead spoke with DMNews about mobile marketing's growing prominence in the marketing mix, as well as some of the difficulties marketers face integrating it with a multichannel strategy.

Q: Will 2010 finally be the year of mobile?

A: 2010 is definitely going to be a big year in mobile marketing. The Google acquisition of AdMob may be an early sign that mobile is quickly going to come off the emerging media list of channels and assume a rightful place as a standard line item in the media mix for many brands.

Q: What are your plans with your new role at Draftfcb?

A: I've been given a fairly specific and ambitious charter at Draftfcb - help the agency enhance its offering in mobile marketing, and continue to leverage the channel effectively for clients across the North American network. Right now mobile is anyone's game to win or lose – it's a race for the middle. Digital agencies are hoping to capture and own the mobile opportunity, but are struggling with integrating it into a wider media ecosystem, while full-service agencies are working to build scale into their digital offerings to take advantage of the integrated function they may already provide clients. So that's our opportunity at Draftfcb - get even smarter quickly so mobile can become an even more important tool in the 360-degree kit we're bringing to clients.

Q: Are your clients doing more mobile these days?

A: All clients are either continuing to scale mobile investments, or looking for a strategy to do so in the next 12 months. The strategy at Draftfcb is to get out in front of what is pretty obviously going to become a central digital touch point for most consumers over the next couple of years. What's exciting about the thinking at Draftfcb is that the creation of this executive role for mobile is not relegated to emerging media, it's not an R&D effort – it's a dedicated mobile executive function working right alongside other leading executives across the Draftfcb family and right in line with all the client work.

Q: What are some of the popular techniques that you are seeing brands do with mobile?

It's important to make a distinction between popular and effective. I'm seeing too many brands reacting to mobile such as, “my competitor has a mobile offering, so I need to hurry up and get there.” Unfortunately, mobile is complex enough that this reactive thinking will ultimately backfire.

iPhone apps are a great example. You're seeing lots of brands rush to build and deploy iPhone apps because they think it's what they should do, or because their competitors have done so. But this fails to take into account any kind of real strategy or plan for long-term growth and scale. In the end, simply rushing into any mobile offering fails to take into account two critical factors needed for success in mobile. The first, what does the consumer expect from your brand on the mobile device? Secondly, how are we going to meet and exceed that expectation, both today and two years from now? In many cases the answer to those questions will involve the development of infrastructure and a long-range approach to program development, and likely NOT development of a hurry-up iPhone app in order to get out there.

Q: Will the app approach kill SMS campaigns?

No way. It's going to take several more years before downloadable apps have anywhere near the scale and reach that SMS messaging has in the U.S. today. I think apps are a popular choice for brands to go towards in mobile because they seem to intuitively make sense to marketers, where SMS takes a little more skill to employ successfully. However, we're seeing some terrific results from SMS-based programs in the U.S. In fact, my new colleague Kim Luegers recently presented a case study from a Draftfcb client using a SMS program where the results literally blew the doors off of any ROI we've seen from an app. So, I think the future is pretty bright for messaging programs going forward.


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