Eliminating the mobile middlemen

smartphoneThe Wolf of Wall Street is perhaps the must see movie of the year due to the way in which it encapsulates the trading that went on in the late 80s. Aside from the glorification of debauchery, great acting and amazing cinematography, it did deliver some serious messages. At the time, individuals were making huge amounts of money in unscrupulous ways. There was money to be made by capitalising on the confusion caused when clients were unsure exactly of what they were buying and the methods used to trade.

Fast forward 25 years and what can we learn from it when analysing today’s media landscape? Mobile advertising for example is certainly an area where practices have recently been brought into question by a small proportion of uncertain clients. With so many companies laying claim to the possibility of delivering adverts across a complex framework of inventory at the best possible price, it can often be difficult for the brand marketer to really identify what success should look like and value for money is.

Without doubt, the majority of companies developing the space are nothing like Stratton Oakmont so why is it the case that a small minority sometimes skew general perceptions? Although every organisation is focused on delivering a profit, many agencies are doing so with truly remarkable technologies that are often being overlooked for their quality and innovation in how they are able to monetise the web, keeping it free for the general public.

So with that, here are a few clear thoughts on how best to see through any potential Jordan Belfort’s:

Be clear in your requirements: It is easy to be sold something that you don’t need. To minimise any possibility of this, and solidify any potential strategy, it is often wise to refer to companies that are leading the way in mobile. A number of performance and mobile first brands can be held up as a good barometer of success including Spotify and Uber. There is also an emerging opportunity for retailers to use geo-location to drive footfall in-store.

Understand the value that they are adding: Mobile agencies/affiliates need to add value. The key point here is whether they are justifying their costs or simply adding costs without providing any redeemable benefit. You are therefore perfectly within your rights to ask what you are paying for. Is it consultancy, technology or simply just a margin of cost as an intermediary? Expert consultancy and the latest technologies (especially proprietary) are certainly worth paying for.

Consultative rather than a transactional approach: Consultative means taking the time to learn and understand about their business and objectives and building a relationship of trust and confidence which enables both parties to share campaign and business data. If a client is prepared to share their data around post click activities (intent to purchase metrics, registrations, revenue etc) media spend can be optimised to maximise performance and yield. Success is accelerated through collaborative data learnings, which don’t happen in a lightweight and transactional client to partner relationship.

Client relationships matter: You should always feel empowered in your relationship with a provider, aware of how your strategy is performing at any point in time. A leading gaming company, one of the biggest mobile spenders in the world, has been a client for approximately 12 months and we are already their exclusive DSP (demand side platform) partner. We have proven that we can generate significant return on investment to drive new users (people that install their game) at very high scale. It has been an iterative process which has resulted in strong consistent performance and very close collaborative working relationship.

So there it is; a whistle stop view of how brand marketers should be thinking about mobile marketing with confidence. Mobile is still fragmented and there is a very big disparity between the good companies and those that aren’t providing added value. It can certainly be a confusing place, but for those who take the time to employ the right people, there are certainly significant returns to be had. And for those of you who haven’t see Wolf of Wall Street, please do.

Charlie Faulkner is head of EMEA and APAC at RTB.com