Embrace your inner geek

Embrace your inner geek

David Fieldhouse

David Fieldhouse, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Mobile Future Group, says data is only useful if we can understand and interpret it in a meaningful way. This is not to intrude, or encroach on privacy – but to bring useful information and relevant brand messages to the consumer as they go about their daily ‘digital’ life...

Alexandra Robbins’ book “The Geeks shall inherit the Earth” is an interesting read into the social dynamic of high school students. She asserts that the things that set students apart in high school are the things that help them stand out later in life. Based on recent events within the media industry I’d say she was spot on.

The stellar valuations and profits technology based media companies (founded and run by ‘geeks’) are achieving currently, is truly mind boggling. Facebook will IPO later this year valued at $100 billion, Apple recently became the world’s most valuable company pulling in $46 billion in a single quarter, Zynga formed in 2007 IPO’d with a valuation of $10 billion. Google’s revenues topped $9.7 billion in the three months to September 30th 2011. The high school geeks, loners and outsiders are becoming the richest and most powerful business people in the world. The ‘jocks’ are probably wishing they spent more time in engineering classes rather than the gym… just ask the Winklevoss twins.

These highly technical media owners are now generating millions of consumer data points on a daily basis. This represents a huge opportunity for agencies and brands in terms of how they target and reach customers but it also provides a conundrum. How do you take advantage of all this data? Who crunches the numbers and makes sense of it all? How do I respect my customer’s privacy? All these issues are fundamental to advertising now and will only increase in the coming years.

My view is that marketing departments and agencies are going to have to start hiring from areas and skill sets that traditionally have been out of their comfort zones – engineering degrees may well begin to look more favourable than the traditional arts or advertising based qualifications.

An extra headache for advertisers is not just the mountains of data digital media generates – it is also where and on what devices this data is coming from. Mobile phones and tablets are fast replacing the desktop PC, which means agencies and advertisers need to get their heads around how these devices are being used. I find that this process is proving to be challenging for agencies and brands – just when advertisers thought they had “digital” under control, mobile usage has exploded and the learnings have to begin all over again.

Consumer usage on mobile and tablets vastly outstrips the ad money currently being spent. The industry needs to catch up, and fast.

In our business of mobile technology, it means that it’s up to us to analyse the data we generate, discover patterns and stories within that data and then present these insights to agencies and brands to help them plan their campaigns and activity on mobile more effectively. The speed and volume of data generated in under a year is overwhelming. To give you a flavour, we see over 600,000 app downloads a day, we have seen 28 million handsets since launch, tracked over 50,000 mobile acquisitions and our servers have counted hundreds of millions of mobile clicks.

Trawling data is the new reality for marketers – searching for unique “truths” within the flotsam and jetsam can ultimately garner a brand more customers and save them money. However, data is only useful if we can understand and interpret it in a meaningful way. This is not to intrude, or encroach on privacy – but to bring useful information and relevant brand messages to the consumer as they go about their daily ‘digital’ life.

We know for example when apps are most likely to be downloaded by time of day and day of week. We know when consumers are most likely to click on an advert promoting an app. We even know how long it takes someone to buy something within an app after they’ve downloaded it. This type of data is invaluable for advertisers but because it’s changing, moving and being added to – literally – by the minute; all this data will go some way to understanding the true mobile customer journey.

Agencies will have to build teams with even better analytical and data skills to take advantage of all this insight. Inroads have been made already within the search and SEO teams, but these skills need to permeate into all other areas of the marketing team (yes – even brand).

So go ahead and embrace your inner geek – you might be surprised at what you find. You might even make a few quid. Just ask Zuckerberg.

Mobile Future Group is an independent, software company specialising within the mobile advertising industry. Mobile Future Group is the parent company for technology brands: Linking Mobile, the first UK-based global mobile affiliate network; and newly launched AD-X – technology to track and measure mobile app promotion campaigns.

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