Big Mobile’s Graham Christie quizzes PwC Australia’s Megan Brownlow about where mobile is headed.
Megan Brownlow is one of the most knowledgeable and influential people in media in Australia, and especially at this time of year, she has her hands really and truly on the pulse of the media and marketing sector as editor of PwC’s Annual Media and Entertainment Outlook, just newly published.
In PwC’s Annual Media and Entertainment Outlook report, you speak to stakeholders right across the broad media industry, and mobile seems very visible to all. What sort of mobile themes stick out as new or different?
Three quite contrasting things. The first clear theme relates to measurement. The potential for mobile is absolutely crystal clear, but how to measure its impact is unclear, this is a stumbling block for some. Mobile is being taken very seriously, so it’s a source of frustration that industry measurement is not yet here. The second theme is that consumers are now looking for more seamless experiences across mobile and tablet, and are looking to the industry to deploy solutions that assist this, for instance single sign-on access arrangements. Finally, within the marketing department there’s shifting attention and investment from paid (mobile) media, to also owned media, with marketers really seeing mobile as a marketing asset, not only an advertising one.
How would you characterise the willingness of digital marketers to exploit mobile?
There is clear, strong willingness to pursue mobile, and although there is some tension in client organisations between for instance the CIO, and the CMO, there is evidence of greater attempts at collaboration taking place to take a broader view on Mobile.
How would you characterise digital marketers capabilities whether in-house, or supported by partners, in exploiting mobile?
We’re seeing an eagerness for organisations to build mobile capabilities at a management level, but there remains a role for trusted advisers who have greater technical knowledge or have rare skills sets. This can be both individuals and companies, and it’s difficult to see how this will change in the medium term given the sector’s growth and complexities.
What historical challenges do you now feel are being overcome?
The mindset of organisations is that mobile is mainstream, so the challenge of ‘why’ mobile has been overcome, that is clear. So whilst some remain fearful, and some others enthusiastic, practically everybody is on the spectrum of mobile now being a must.
What are the most important challenges you see in the medium term?
The most important challenge for all is talent, the lack of it, retaining it, and avoiding the disruption when it gets poached and walks out of the door. There has been quite a churn in people and specialist companies over the last few years and although this is a function of a young but maturing sector, it’s affects all.
Is the prevailing client/agency structures and relationships a help or a hindrance to growing mobile as marketing channel?
Structures seem relatively fixed so seem unlikely to change in the near future, so I think the industry needs to alter fee models and what is being asked of service-side companies, then remunerate differently. For instance, to pick up on the earlier topic, if marketers are seeing mobile as a broader marketing asset, then remunerating on a media buy transactional basis is limited, with alternatives being more around marketing strategy or customer outcomes.
Why is digital comparatively undervalued and mobile more so, whilst traditional media is said to be “overpriced”, is it simply supply/demand or more nuanced? And can this change?
I think these sorts of comparisons are not useful as in many ways mobile’s real strengths in the marketing mix, be that geo-location or real-time, are largely untapped at scale. A valuation that contrasts CPM’s across channels serves only one purpose and probably not mobile’s as we need to develop mobile beyond that dimension.
Should the mobile sector be worried or empowered by the dominance of Google and Facebook?
I do understand the concerns that dominance by very powerful players generate whether that’s in digital marketing or elsewhere. What should be remembered is that Google and Facebook disrupted some very significantly entrenched traditional models. What they have injected is a more customer facing, big investing mentality, that’s focused on creating good products.
Where is the Mobile market heading (spend) in the next few years?
In Australia the Mobile Advertising market we forecast to grow from $468m in 2014 to reach $835m by 2018 recording a CAGR of 19.6%.
How does that size and growth compare internationally?
That’s obviously pretty healthy growth, but is very comparable internationally.
Lastly what’s the one recurring word on the lips of those that PWC spoke to about mobile?
The goal is mobile marketing.
My thanks to Megan for sharing these insights and thought starters.