Mobile Future Forward: Mobile Advertising: Q&A with Erin Kienast, SVP Starcom

Mobile Future Forward: Mobile Advertising: Q&A with Erin Kienast, SVP Starcom

“Advertising, once a gamble, has become under able direction, one of the safest of business ventures. Certainly no other enterprise with comparable possibilities need involve so little risk.”

– Claude Hopkins, Scientific Advertising, 1923

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our Mobile Future Forward Summit next month. We are doing interviews with some of the thought-leaders leading up to the event to give you a glimpse of the upcoming brainstorms. Mobile Advertising has been at the heart of the mobile economy. Seven years ago when I was co-authoring the book on the subject, it was clear to us that mobile will fundamentally transform advertising. Slowly but surely, we are getting there.

In our Mobile Advertising panel at the summit, with the help of some really experienced executives who deal with advertising day-in and day-out, we will explore the future direction of the advertising industry. One of the distinguished panelists is Erin Kienast, SVP at media agency Starcom USA. We caught up with Erin about her thoughts on the space.

MFF: What are some of the key characteristics of a very successful mobile advertising campaign? How do you measure success?

Erin: Success is dependent on overall campaign objectives so characteristics can vary drastically by initiative.  First and foremost content is king with mobile so having mobile ready content is critical to driving success.  Mobile offers such a small screen to deliver a message but it is one of the most impactful screens a marketer can deliver given personal nature of the device.  Clearly articulating success metrics at the start of the campaign is critical to understand what exactly you are trying to achieve.  Success can be measured at each phase of the purchase funnel; it is really dependent on what a marketer is trying to achieve.  Sufficient spend is one area that often goes unnoticed when executing mobile campaigns.  Mobile budgets still remain small compared to other mediums in market so spend is often passed over.  It is critical to make sure there is sufficient spend backing a campaign to sustain presence in the market and allow a campaign to achieve overall objectives.

MFF: The mobile advertising industry has grown tremendously in the last 5 years, however, still there are many challenges remain for it to fully realize its full potential. If you had the power to knock-off the top 2 issues that could change the industry landscape, what would those issues be?

Erin: The top two issues are:

o Measurement/ROI: Until there is consistent measurement in place and solid ROI data, marketers will still remain hesitant to shift a larger percentage of dollars in the space.  At the end of the day, marketers are tasked with moving product off of shelf and without having proven success that an investment is driving return, there will continue to be hesitancy.

o Content: Marketers and creative agencies are not prioritizing the building of mobile creative so we still do not understand the full creative capacity of the space.  Now, marketers rely on partners to build a large percentage of mobile creative which results in inconsistency across partners and with other media in market for a brand.

MFF: You have been in the media business for a long time. How has the mobile world changed the consumer expectations and behaviors?

Erin: Consumers expect a brand to be there in a meaningful way.  They are actually willing to provide personal information in return that they receive a meaningful brand experience.  That is a major shift from TV and print advertising where consumers are not providing personal information.  Consumers rely on mobile devices daily outside of previous work only usage.  Consumers rely on phones for directions, recommendations, socialization, shopping, photography, weather, almost everything consumers do in life involves a mobile device.  As a result, a brand must be there when a consumer is seeking them out but be there in a way that provides value.  Before consumers did not expect and sometimes did not want a brand to interrupt an experience.  Now it is welcomed if it is meaningful.

MFF: Where do you get your inspiration in creating unique solutions for clients?

Erin: I walk around and observe people in their natural environments on the streets, in restaurants, at sporting events, on public transportation, at the airport, etc.  Observing and noting human behavior provides with me with the opportunity to capture ways to improve lives that currently doesn’t exist.  People are inspiring, especially those I do not interact with daily.  I love observing human behavior because it sparks a level of creativity and pushes my previous boundaries of thought to brainstorm without boundaries.

I also like to imagine the unimaginable then find a way to make it happen, even if it takes baby steps to reach full capacity.  When it is said something cannot be done, I am inspired to find a way to make it happen and it’s proven successful time and time again.

MFF: As you look forward 2-3 years, what technology shifts in mobile excite you the most – things that will have a major impact on how advertising budgets are allocated?

Erin: Connectivity is the most exciting shift in my mind.  Connectivity in terms of connected home, connectivity in store via lighting/beacons/camera monitoring, wearables, etc.  Marketers are finding new ways to connect to consumers in more meaningful ways outside of a simple banner.  The ability to deliver a brand message in a new way fueled by connectivity and devices that create connectivity is going to advance our culture in the next few years.  The focus is less on traditional advertising outlets in the form of a banner and more on the technology.  Take a washer as an example.  Technology is advancing and these machines are becoming smart, connected to you mobile devices.  How does a washing machine trigger a notification to purchase more detergent where consumers can purchase directly from their phone or tablet? This is where the future will be focused, less on creating large spots/banners, more on partnering with technology company to align with human behavior.