Mobile Marketing Sucks! (at the moment) // Event Review: Mobile Innovation Posted at 0:00, Tue, 7 July 2015 in Industry Insights

In a world full of increasingly short attention spans and wave upon wave of options, when it comes to products and services, never has there been a more important time to be trustworthy and relevant when delivering offerings to us extremely fickle consumers. You really do only have one shot to create an impact and elicit engagement so relevance and timing is everything. Lucky it is also a world that is full of exciting, evolving technologies that enable the ability to deliver something compelling to cut through the noise.

I recently attended our Mobile Innovation Breakfast Event in Sydney where we heard from three Australian companies who find themselves right in the thick of things when it comes to driving innovative new models in this hyper-changing world. Matt Von der Muhll from Melbourne-based Unlockd, Damien King from Gold Coast-based Guvera and Michael Correa from Sydney-based Pocketmath each shared their experiences and insights on how they see mobile customer engagement and behaviour changing and the opportunities that come with it. Sporting a great tee with the slogan “Reality – Expectations = Happiness”, the event was kindly hosted by Ian Gardiner from Amazon Web Services. Ian has the exciting role of building partnerships within startup communities across Australia and New Zealand.

It just sucks at the moment

Michael from Pocketmath took to the stage first. Pocketmath is the world’s largest, 100% self-serve demand-side platform (DSP) for programmatic mobile. Michael opened by stating that mobile marketing “just sucks at the moment” because we haven’t adapted the way we advertise. Because user behaviour is changing faster than the current business model, it means that it is unsustainable in its current format. It was not all doom and gloom as Michael went on to show over the course of his presentation that there is hope and abundant potential. Mobile marketing has a bright future ahead of it when done correctly, it just isn’t reaching its full potential at the moment. He felt this can be done by teaching an understanding of customer needs but utilise understanding of the platform and the technology along with bringing in partners aligned with your aims to help provide value.

App or Native?

A common theme through the event was whether companies should go native or app. After seeing what Damian King from Guvera, fresh from the announcement of a $100m pre-IPO funding round had to show, it really hit home the complexity involved and why it is such a big decision for a lot of companies. Guvera first went mobile in 2013 to enable them to scale a large user base. Damien pointed out that the scale of Android – with an incredible amount of brand/device fragmentation – meant taking into account many nuances and different device performance, which is when the mind really starts to explode. Then you have to factor in rolling it out globally, which mind you is what Guvera have managed to do in 20 territories and counting. It is incredibly hard to develop apps when you take this into consideration, his tip was to definitely crowd test them.

The traditional mobile advertising model is dead

It may be a Melbourne bias but Unlockd’s story has been great to follow so far. Officially launching just over a month ago after operating in stealth mode, they exist to disrupt the current mobile advertising model and change the way people use and pay for their mobile phones. Matt gave a great explanation of how there has been a fragmentation and consolidation of audiences and the current mobile ad model needs to change. He took us on a journey of what Unlockd are doing to change it and how they are doing this. Their platform enables brands to drive greater consumer experience with mobile advertising (somewhat of a rarity at the moment). This is achieved through relevant, targeted content and offers that are location-based and data driven, offset by the added value of a discounted phone plan or extra data. He also echoed Michael’s thoughts on how it is a struggle to keep up with the speed that mobile technology is evolving.

I feel hopeful that things are heading in the right direction. The opportunities and technologies are there and if we can take a leaf out of the Pocketmath, Guvera and Unlockd playbooks then we’re on the right track. We need to focus on adopting mobile (app or native) as a priority, along with building strong partnerships to work on the things that aren’t necessarily our strengths. A considered approach to delivering real time, relevant and useful content at both the right point and micro-located place is required for us to start kicking goals with mobile marketing.

Do you think mobile marketing has some work to do at the moment? Continue the conversation with us on Twitter @MitchelLake

MitchelLake is a purpose driven provider of executive search and recruitment solutions for high growth start-ups to global enterprise driving digital transformation across fintech, IoT, online marketing, big data and cloud computing.


Matt Smith works in MitchelLake’s Melbourne office and leads the Australian team for MitchelLake Consulting, working with an awesome team of humans who source talent across emerging technology, experience and service design, product, digital marketing, growth, data science and analytics.

Matt’s domain expertise leans towards hiring senior roles in experience and design and he enjoys the balance of working with fast growth, early stage organisations and larger scale companies going through digital transformation and the unique challenges they both bring.

Originally from New Zealand, Matt spent time living in the UK before moving to Melbourne where he enjoys playing basketball, rearing indoor plants and incredible access to some of the world’s best coffee.