Industry Updates

Preaching to the converted?

24 Nov 2011

The real challenge is to convince senior management at agency and brand level of the importance of including mobile in ad budgets

By Michael de Souza, VP for Media at Buzzcity, who is attending Mobile Web Africa (#mwa2011).

It’s the afternoon of day two here at Mobile Web Africa in Johannesburg. The event’s attracted all the usual suspects – mobile ad agencies, technology providers, innovators, and mobile media companies. MWA2011 has reconfirmed that the African industry has the right mix of talent, technology and ability to provide massive growth to any brand open to placing mobile at the heart of their marketing strategy.

To some degree, though, we’re preaching to the converted. All of us here are committed and convinced by mobile (we’re in the industry already, after all). The real challenge lies in translating this knowledge and insight into real-world influence over top management at the agencies and the brands that we encounter.

We have to urge decisionmakers to stop repeating the same budget mistakes year after year (putting the majority of their budgets into traditional broadcast and print executions, with a small but growing token amount inserted for a siloed mobile campaign).

What’s needed here is not lip service. It's quantum change. South African marketers have to insert mobile tech into the DNA of their customer conversations, and like Ford and Coca-Cola, place the mobile opportunity front and centre for their brand.

When I put this to him at the end of his presentation, Tomi Ahonen agreed, saying that it takes just one massive success on the scale of BMW’s European initiative to change the entire culture of an organisation. 

Let’s drive this kind of radical change through the ad industry, and set a goal for ourselves. By this time next year, let's aim to see at least a quarter of the room made up of directors of through-the-line ad agencies, and brand custodians of blue-chip brands.

Angelo Coppola