Gunning: Get the Mobile Device in the Client’s Hands

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mobiletv.jpgADOTAS – It was an ambitious gambit that paid dividends — struck by some sort of malaise on the taxi ride to the Mobile Marketing Association’s Mobile Marketing Forum, JumpTap CMO Paran Johar pondered scrapping his presentation titled “Why David Will Beat Goliath” on mobile ad networks and instead having an onstage discussion with Tribal DBB CEO Paul Gunning.

Appropriately, Johar made it interactive by letting the audience decide — listen to him “blather on” about networks or get the real deal from the money man?

The crowd went with the money man — and got quite an interesting discussion per its choice.

Mobile clients still don’t understand the extent of what mobile advertising can do, Gunning argued. Why is a bit complicated — first off, there needs to be more interesting executions than banners as the space in inefficient from a creative, but more important players are practicing “voodoo” by making the space seem too complex.

“You cannot underestimate how much clients know,” he said.

There’s too much internal chatter and not enough education of clients. Mobile players need to stop talking to each other so much about devices and platforms because clients don’t care. They need to have the device, to use the device. The guy with the dollars is screaming, “Interact with me!” Gunning said, and the way to do that is get the device in his hands.

He suggested that the mobile platform at this point should be presented as a standalone platform to highlight the fact that it is the most personal platform and can engage consumers like no other.

Gunning also noted that the pharmaceutical industry has a growing interest in the mobile space — drug representatives are having a harder time accessing doctors, so the mobile medium is an effective way to pass on information.

As Apple’s iAd news was on many conference attendees’ minds, Gunning suggested that with its walled garden approach, Apple is actually preventing growth in the sector. Stepping in between agencies and clients on the creative side is worrisome behavior, he said. And compared to the $2.16 billion the MMA estimates will be spent on mobile advertising in 2010, the $60 million already committed to iAds is a drop in the bucket.

As for Google and AdMob, Gunning noted that big G seems to have it’s fingers in every mobile pot, from hardware to ad networks. However, the company isn’t hedging its bets — it’s playing all of them to win.

The great fear, Johar said, is that mobile advertising will fall into the chasm of email marketing has — an overload of content and too much spam has annoyed consumers to the point that it’s a laborious process to get their attention with an emailed offer. However, one could also say the same for display — belly fat and “work-from-home” ads have birthed banner blindness.

“I worry we’re one huge campaign away from killing the mobile space just like email,” Gunning sighed.

Mocking the perennial expression “This is the year of mobile!” Gunning summarized: “We gotta stop talking about ‘This is the year mobile advertising starts…’ It’s preventing us from moving forward.”

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