5 Takeaways for Marketers From Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

IBM, T-Mobile, and Oral B Used Mobile Technology to Add Value to Their Brands

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To really leverage the mobile platform as a marketer, nurture your customer community with entertainment, education and utility appropriate to their context. Here are five takeaways from last week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to help find your brand's space in the mobile ecosystem:

1. Understand the market/channel size.

According to data released by Ericsson, there are currently 2.1 billion mobile broadband subscriptions, growing by 150 million per quarter. Subscription penetration rates are around 75% of people in developed countries and 30% globally, and will grow to an estimated 90% in the next 4 years. This amazing growth will be helped no doubt by ever cheaper smartphones. Nokia launched its X range that runs Android apps and retails for between $122 and $150, and Mozilla launched a project to bring a $25 smartphone to market.

2. Ensure your community has connectivity.

The size of the community with access to the mobile internet is considerable, but what happens if your customer community does not have access yet? How can your brand bring that connection to your customer community either as a loyalty incentive or through a marketing partnership that barters marketing investment with cost of access?

3. Seek opportunities that add the greatest value around your brand.

The first place to look for services that can be provided by your brand to your consumers is within your own company. At the Mobile World Congress, IBM in partnership with T-Mobile were demonstrating their FoodTrac system, which has been providing internal services to companies allowing them to track the sources of all their food ingredients from field to store. The opportunity is to use this data to personalize their products based on the customer need. For example: a green customer may only want products produced within 100 km of where they live, or a parent may be particularly concerned about allergy risk, or the gastronomist may only want apples grown on south-facing hillsides.

These technologies are mature now and may already be in use in your company. You just need a plan to make then available to your customer.

4. Derive market insights from your customer community.

Fitness wearables, once a niche segment, has now become a category in itself. Smart watches and wristbands have been joined by connectable fabrics and earphones, and all devices connect to cloud services, which provide utility to the consumer. Users of these devices have reported changes in behavior such as walking further to buy lunch and making time in their routines to get more sleep.

How can your brand encourage these people to share their data, thus providing your brand with an incredibly rich customer insight and the opportunity to deliver extremely personalized customer utility?

5. Look for best in class from competitors and other categories.

At the MWC Exhibition, we saw Oral B debuting their connected toothbrush that transmits brushing data to your phone allowing you to determine how effective you are at brushing and sharing with your dentist should you want to. Importantly they also have a media channel within the app that can provide entertainment or further education for the captive two minutes of brushing. As a concept they are also anticipating these devices communicating with a connected mirror in the future.

What was clear at Mobile World Congress 2014 was that the conceptual has been replaced by real examples of mobile technologies being used to add value to customers. The race is on to deliver the branded mobile services our customers will rely on. Have you started yet?

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