At the recent Mobile Marketing Association CEO/CMO Summit in Hilton Head, South Carolina, I held a piece of history in my hands: a model of the first cell phone ever made. It was the size of my head, weighed two and a half pounds and had a battery life of 20 minutes.
The phone belonged to Martin Cooper, the leader of the Motorola team that built that first cell phone in 1973. He was a keynote speaker on the final day of the summit, and it was amazing to hear how mobile devices have quickly evolved and are still changing the world at an alarming rate. Cooper calls himself a historical futurist, and obviously has an eye for innovation, so I was eager to hear his take on education, health care and a phenomenon he calls collaboration.
- In health care, Cooper expects that wearable mobile devices are a few short years away from transforming preventative health care. Eventually, we’ll have so much biometric data that predictive modeling will become possible, allowing us to understand, fight and prevent diseases better.
- In education, there’s a greater focus on out-of-the-classroom learning, including using gaming to improve analytical thinking and problem-solving skills. It’s exciting to think that the game developers that Millennial Media works with aren’t just entertaining us, but also driving the evolution of mental capability. (So go ahead and play those mind teaser games with abandon. It’s good for your brain.)
- Mobile social media facilitated the 2011 revolution in Egypt. Collaborative communication brought down a 30-year dictatorial regime in a 140 characters or less. People could immediately see things they like and gravitate towards them. It lends individuals power against huge institutions.
Another great speaker was Mick Ebeling, founder of Not Impossible Labs. It’s a group of hackers, builders and thinkers who provide low-cost, open-source tech solutions like the Eyewriter, a device made out of sunglasses (really) that allows ALS patients to communicate and even create art. His team is revolutionizing the world with tech and elbow grease. Creative problem-solving is such an important part of all aspects of tech, including the mobile ad space. The way we receive information shapes our view of the world, and innovations like programmatic advertising make it possible for publishers to support their content with increased efficiency.
While I loved hearing the speakers, the best part of any conference is the chance to talk to colleagues. It was especially gratifying to hear again and again how fully chief marketers have embraced mobile. Here are a few great examples:
- Marc Lapides, the Director of Marketing at Cosi, says that mobile is imperative for their business, because they live or die on foot traffic and need to communicate to consumers when as they’re literally walking around the street making food decisions. The mobile device allows them to have the most up-to-date strategy available based on real life environmental factors like the weather and time of day.
- Andrew Flack, VP of Global Brand Marketing for Hilton Hotels & Resorts, calls mobile devices “the remote control for our lives.” Hilton has found that people do some pre-trip research on mobile, but while on trip, they are constantly looking on mobile phone. If you're a brand not communicating in a mobile fashion, your brand can't be a leader to today's consumers and can become quickly irrelevant. You're either in the party or you're not.
- Laurent Faracci, the CMO of Reckit Benkeiser, said he was recently asked, “What’s your mobile strategy?” He responded that mobile wasn’t a stand-alone entity – it was a layer well-integrated into their overall business plan. It’s a part of everything they do.
All in all, a great event that demonstrated the day-to-day practicalities of mobile for businesses and reminded us of the truly great things this technology can do. Many thanks to the Mobile Marketing Association for the event.
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Millennial Media is the leading mobile ad marketplace, making mobile simple for the world’s top brands, app developers, and mobile web publishers. The company's data and technology assets enable advertisers to connect with target audiences at scale, while driving monetization for publisher and developer partners. AOL acquired Millennial Media on October 23, 2015. Millennial Media boosts AOL's global, mobile capabilities and scale across ONE by AOL for advertisers and agencies, and offers the most attractive monetization platform for app developers.