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Do you know what will help your mobile strategy standout in the future?

Mobile has gathered momentum in recent years and should now be at the top of marketers’ tool kits. But there is still a long way to go especially with the mobile-first generation.

Ahead of the region’s leading celebration of mobile marketing, The Mob-Ex Awards, Marketing spoke to two senior judges on the panel Alec Goins, digital marketing and ecommerce director Asia Pacific for Pandora and James Pong, head of digital and social for Maxis Communications about what to be on the lookout for in mobile marketing in 2017 and what they expect from entrants at the awards.

Marketing: What are the top trends to watch out for in mobile marketing in 2017?

Alec Goins: We’ll see mobile start to play a much bigger role in the offline experience for brands.  The power of mobile lies in its ability to be with the consumer throughout their entire day and it can be a powerful tool to provide an enriched and connected retail experience.

We’ll also start to see the experience become more personal.  We’re already seeing brands take to messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp to provide service to customers in real-time, but I suspect we’ll start to see even richer experiences on these platforms in 2017.

James Pong: The same thing every single year since mobile overtook desktop, users will spend more time on their mobile devices (smart phones, tablets), more than the previous years, hence, there will be more soundless videos, more short video ads (5-10 seconds) and of course more new mobile ad formats will emerge as well.

Marketing: What are the challenges brands still face with mobile marketing and what is still lacking?

Alec Goins: Not having a clearly defined mobile strategy is still the biggest challenge facing brands in the Asia Pacific region.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of only using mobile as an add-on to a digital strategy, but those at the forefront are thinking mobile-first and designing experiences that can truly enrich a consumer’s interactions with their brand or integrate and add value into their consumer’s existing use of their mobile device.

James Pong: Many brands are still not getting the basics right because they are following the norms, i.e. consumers are moving to spending more time on their mobile devices. What’s lacking are “bosses” or “CTOs” who think mobile-first and therefore cultivate the brand to think the same.

Without that, broken user experience will occur. For instance, brands can have the best mobile marketing campaigns, but the final path, which is usually a landing page, might not be mobile first or at the very least, mobile responsive. Another challenge is most brands have better conversion on desktop; this itself will prevent them from focusing too much time on mobile marketing.

Marketing: With mobile marketing set to become even more personalised and targeted, how can brands balance using this data to build loyalty without becoming intrusive?

Alec Goins: It’s all about considering the value that’s being added for the consumer and making sure we’re being sensitive to existing mobile habits.  Using data to understand behavior goes beyond just being able to personalise the message, but also understanding the best time to engage with the consumer and how often.

James Pong: Brands should allow users to control how often they want to receive “notifications” (in-app and push) for app users, while outside of app, brands should limit personalisation and avoid being too targeted. Instead keep that for within the app where the brands already know their users and personalise the relevant offers using their internal CRM data through in-app or push notifications.

Marketing: Why is the adoption rate for mobile payments globally still relatively slow and is this impacting the way marketers deal with mCommerce? How will it change in the near-future?

Alec Goins: I would disagree that the rate is slow if we consider China and the rapid adoption of AliPay and WeChat pay for both offline and online payments.  That being said, for countries with an established card payment infrastructure, there is less momentum in retailers upgrading their payment processing technology to be able to accept mobile offline payments but I am confident this will take hold.

When it comes to online payments, the launch of Apple Pay’s mobile web payment into the region will go a long way in boosting adoption rates as well as the proliferation of AliPay and WeChat pay outside of China.

James Pong: Although in general the adoption rate for mobile payments is slow, the adoption rate for mobile payments for certain consumer goods, for example movie tickets, flight tickets, Uber and Grab has been positive.:

It all comes down to the fact there is no control or standardisation from mobile payment providers except telcos and banks and there are also various third party mobile payments (Samsung Pay). Everyone wants a piece of the pie but there is not a single standard regulatory body which can control or let users use the mobile payment from provider A to pay for sellers who only accept from provider B.

Government involvement could help to streamline this, just look at China’s China Telecom and Singapore’s Android Pay (first in Asia).

Marketing: With so many new apps popping up, is the market becoming too saturated?  How can you make yours stand out?

Alec Goins: I come back to relevancy and the value that is being added for the consumer.  The apps that stand out deliver great experiences either when interacting with your brand in the physical environment or utilise the platform’s native features to deliver a rich experience that they can’t otherwise receive from the rest of your digital presence.

James Pong: Yes and no in creating apps. Brands should not focus on creating apps and on creating a better user experience as a whole. They should look at their analytics data and decide whether it is wise to create an app for their users. For example, if they have many return customers who spend a lot of time on their mobile sites, creating an app could boost these users’ experiences.

Once again, brands can make their apps stand out with their own analytics data. For those who are purely app-based such as Uber and Grab, it’s a different story altogether with differentiation in the service they offer and how they deal with their customers (retention, customer service, user experience).

Marketing: What will impress you the most when selecting the winning campaigns for Mob-Ex 2017?

Alec Goins: I’m excited to see campaigns that come out of a mobile-first strategy.  I’ll be on the lookout for campaigns that not only deliver a marketing message through mobile, but add value and enrich the consumer’s interactions and experience with the brand.

James Pong: The winning campaigns have to be memorable and leverage on data in their respective strategies and at the same time not too intrusive and highly relevant. Basically, a balance of everything.


Entries for the Mob-Ex Awards are open for entry across 31 categories to brands and their agencies from South Asia, Southeast Asia and ANZ until 30 December. More details here. For information on getting involved please contact Daing Hazran on +65 9186 9324 or at

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