We asked CMOs of 10 Fortune 500 companies to predict how digital media and technology will impact brand marketing in 2013. In this third installment, Cathy Coughlin, Senior Executive Vice President and Global Marketing Officer at AT&T, shares her prophecy and explains how she’s backing it up.
“Mobile, mobile, mobile – that’s the way of the world today. We’re living our lives and conducting our business on the go. In a few short years, consumers have told us they’ve gone from fearing technology to fearing being without it. The combination of superfast networks, intuitive devices and the app explosion triggered a revolution that’s redefined how people live, work and play. Think about the two things that would cause you to turn around and go home if you forget them – your wallet and your smartphone (at AT&T, we’re working to eliminate the wallet!). As a result, we’re now consuming data on the go in mass quantities. Mobile data traffic on the AT&T network alone increased more than 20,000 percent from 2007 to 2011,” stated Coughlin.
Mobile life is one in which questions are easily answered, where we watch over our family from afar, and where we share everyday moments with friends and family across geographic and generational boundaries. The rise of mobile technology has empowered people to expect the freedom to get whatever they want, in real time, wherever they are.
Coughlin explains that the ‘so what ’ for marketers is we have to think ‘mobile first’ as we drive and define our products and services — and the experiences and communications that surround them. ‘Mobile first’ tells us that the customer experience of exploring, learning and buying is in the palm of the customer’s hand. We, as marketers, need to greet our customers at that ‘doorway.’ Mobile first means that marketers sometimes need to think about engaging their customers with utility first and messaging second. Apps become the ‘new media.’ Mobilefirst means that brand experiences become personal and intimate versus mass, local or segmented. Brand stories get told in layers to satisfy audiences who are casual or passionate.
Mobile first also signifies a new way to think about building capabilities or platforms. For example, in March, AT&T will launch the new AT&T Digital LifeSMhome automation and security service. With this innovative, all-IP digital service, consumers will be able to manage their security system, lighting, heating, door locks and cameras from a smartphone or tablet however they want – and it’s fully customizable. “But, the big news here is that we’ve built a platform upon which we will continue to add new innovations so customers can be connected to everything that’s important in their lives – with their mobile device serving as the hub. Think of it as a ‘mobile first’ foundation that will allow our imagination to be added,” concluded Coughlin.
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