American Marketer


Real-time mobile-social amplification key for brands

July 11, 2012

Anita Moorthy is senior director of product marketing at July Systems


By Anita Moorthy

We all know that people from all walks of life are increasingly using social media – many people cannot go 15 minutes without checking Facebook or tweeting.

And it is no secret that more consumers access social media using their smartphones and tablets, whether they are at home, at work or on-the-go.

However, not all brands grasp the significance of these monumental trends for their marketing and consumer engagement strategies.

Fair share
While the intersection of mobile and social has been talked about and written about for quite some time, there is still a vast universe of untapped opportunity for brands to produce mobile-social-friendly content, enable consumer-generated content and encourage viral brand interactions. Brands that do so without coming off as intrusive or phony will reap the rewards.

Research firm Informa Telecoms & Media predicts that over the next five years, mobile data traffic will increase by a factor of 10 and that the average mobile device user will devour more than eight times as much social media. That is a huge wave continuing to build momentum that brands have the opportunity to ride.

The culture of social media is defined by real-time information, the instant sharing of information through posts, photos, articles, videos and tweets.

In a nutshell, it is all about instant gratification.

For marketers to be relevant in this brave new mobile-social world, they need to redefine brand awareness as it relates to real-time engagement and not rely on previous experience, but be open to untested ideas, throw their neat clockwork schedules out the window and engage with consumers in real-time, on their terms.

Mobile devices, with their omnipresent social media applications, now allow marketers to do that.

Going gaga
Mobile, by its nature, is always on and hyper-personal. It is most consumers’ constant window into the world of social media. And while many people are resistant to a hard sell on social media, offering up something of value, whether it be a mobile coupon, funny video or pin-worthy image, can win many over.

If marketers could combine the power of mobile and social, and do it in real-time, they could make a lasting impact for their brand.

For example, imagine Lady Gaga is drinking a soft drink in public. A super fan walks by, snaps a photo of the superstar and shares it with her vast community of friends and followers across various social networks via Instagram.

What is more, the brand’s logo is clearly visible. What if that soft-drink brand could take that viral image and create a marketable asset to be shared with Lady Gaga fans the world over?

It would be powerful because fans believe it was authentic – it came from a friend, family member or acquaintance, not a paid placement – and they get to experience it minutes after it was taken.

Savvy marketers will have “boots on the ground” who can respond immediately to such fortuitous happenings and amplify the viral affects.

IT IS TIME for marketers to abandon the status quo of social media, and to shrug off the fear of losing control of the message.

It is a mistake to think that mobile is just a smaller screen or a screen that is convenient to use on the go. It is much more than that – it can be something that can amplify real-life and virtual interactions alike.

Marketers should look at engaging on mobile in a completely different manner.

If marketers can react in real-time, compress the concept to reality cycle of development and leverage the power of mobile, they can make the boldest statement of all: that they are listening and can respond to what consumers want – in real time.

Anita Moorthy is senior director of product marketing at July Systems, San Francisco. Reach her at