Three years ago, one of the biggest marketing bodies in the world jumped into mobile. The Publicis Groupe acquired French mobile marketer Phonevalley – and tasked the company with building its mobile arm. Now it has 30 offices around the globe, and 150 employees. I sat down with Phonevalley CEO Alexandre Mars to talk about where the market has gone since, and where it will go in the future.
What does Phonevalley do?
Phonevalley has four sectors it works in – what Mars calls “the four pillars”:
First, there’s mobile strategy. Mobile advertising is a rapidly evolving and horribly fragmented market. So Phonevalley helps clients think about the market and their strategy, because most people don’t know where to go in mobile.
Second, there’s design. After the strategy is decided on, you need to find the right ideas and decide on your message, and design your creatives.
Third is production. Deciding on a design is fine – but you need to be able to build it, and make sure it works on every kind of device, on app and WAP. You need to be able to take care of user experience and user interface.
And the Fourth and final pillar is media planning and buying. And as far as Phonevalley is concerned, if you’re not thinking about all four pillars, you’re not doing mobile advertising right.
How is mobile marketing changing?
Two years ago, clients wanted to jump on the mobile bandwagon, but they were entirely thinking about media-based advertising. Now, says Mars, buying a few banners through Google and Millennial isn’t enough – it’s a tactic, not a strategy. If you don’t have strategy, clients won’t invest a lot of money and the market will remain small. But now companies are beginning to invest more. Instead of junior executive clutching nervously at a budget of 25k euro, Phonevalley is getting contact from senior execs who want to make mobile a core element of their digital strategy – and this change in attitudes and budget sizes first came from the US.
Focus is on Rich Media
According to Phonevalley, static banners do work on mobile… in some few cases. So the company is moving heavily towards rich media, as it believes mobile is the perfect medium for it. In the last few months, it has been launching campaigns with rich media as the basic unit – and it claims that the numbers it has seen for its iAds campaigns have been amazing.