"The future of marketing is integrating multiple media together, particularly using mobile as the core piece that ties it all together, because it's the only device that is always with you 24/7 and ... can get your attention at any time and you respond to it," said Alvin Wang Graylin, CEO and founder of mlnfo Information Technology, a leading provider of mobile search service in Shanghai. Mr. Graylin will be a speaker at Ad Age 's China conference on Building Brands Beyond Tier One http://events.adage.com/china/index.php?page=home on the digital panel, along with Dorcas Lau, Unilever's VP, digital marketing and e-commerce for North Asia, and other digital experts.
Why are advertisers holding back on mobile? Advertisers have some valid reasons: Download speeds in China can be slow and third-party data tracking and analysis services don't exist.
Also, Chinese own about 300 million smartphones, but fewer than 100 million have access to 3G subscription packages. Downloading big mobile apps, videos and other rich content through WiFi is slow and tedious, and lacks the sense of spontaneity that makes using phones fun.
"The problem is that we haven't cracked the real efficiency [of mobile], because we are focusing on the old model ... I think the opportunity here is directly jump in a paid/owned/earned model," said Mykim Chikli, ZenithOptimedia's chief operating officer, China. "The marketing director is dead and long live the content director."
The ad industry in China also lacks experience about how to use phones effectively and maintain the infrastructure needed for mobile-based marketing programs. Mobile experts say agencies and advertisers are ill-equipped to pull various technology and branding platforms together. Smart advertisers should learn to create a super cocktail of location-based services, shopper marketing and mobile advertising.