Leaders Powering Change in Mobile at the MMA CEO & CMO Summit

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By Matt Schuster

At this year’s MMA CEO & CMO Summit in Sonoma, California, I had the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the top industry leaders who are rewriting the future of mobile marketing. Listening to discussions around mobile proved to be incredibly valuable for how I need to be thinking about Vistar’s digital out-of-home business. I left the conference with new insight into the current state and future of mobile and would like to share my one major takeaway:  

Companies need to take ownership of key issues in digital marketing, both internally and externally, to survive in today’s ever-evolving media landscape.

Internally, building a great company lies at the responsibility of leadership, while innovation must emanate throughout the entire company. Externally, market disruptions, such as blockchain and digital consumption rates, are being driven by the customer. Businesses that are able to bridge this gap between leadership, innovation and changing consumer needs are the ones able to drive real progress in today’s digital world.

At the same time, brands are beginning to take this responsibility approach and incorporate it into their marketing strategy. For example, former Netflix Chief Talent Officer, Patty McCord, believes that companies don’t exist for the sake of making their employees happy - they exist to be successful. During her session, she discussed how the company’s move to streaming led to a major shift in their organizational culture. A shift in their business focus meant a shift in their market positioning as well as the roles of their employees. However, she noted, this was a necessary change - company culture must evolve in order for a company to grow. McCord’s philosophy is that to ensure the success of the company, CEOs need to accept responsibility and be proactive in adapting to both external and internal changes.

When faced with the conundrum of widespread mobile media use in direct conflict with a societal push to use mobile devices in moderation, Samsung developed a solution to tackle two birds with one stone. CMO Marc Mathieu went into detail on how Samsung’s technology is designed to help better the lives of their customers. Keeping this in mind, their new Thrive app was developed to encourage people to use their phones responsibly. What’s most interesting is how they’re using technology and marketing to promote the healthy use of mobile devices. As the company enforces “an appropriate use of digital consumption,” it begs two questions: who will define what healthy means? And, how will this impact the future of mobile usage among consumers?

Google, on the other hand, has taken external pressures in stride and continues to trailblaze the way for a search-oriented consumer culture. Allan Thygesen, President of Americas Google, explained how today’s consumers expect your brand to be everywhere, because if yours isn’t, someone else’s will be. No matter what category your brand falls under, from retail, to auto, to CPG, and beyond, all brands are now held to the standards of the world’s most visible brands.  And, this is where search becomes essential - brands today need to reach consumers at all touchpoints and provide them with useful information, personalized to their lifestyles in order to remain relevant

Business - across industries - is rapidly changing as a result of constantly shifting internal and external forces in the digital landscape. From streaming to online reviews, digital-driven brands are facing a highly competitive market. As mobile continues to grow, digital out-of-home becomes a clear choice for complimenting an omni-channel marketing strategy. Similarly to mobile, DOOH has evolved based off of the shifting needs of marketers, publishers and consumers. Offering brands and marketers a powerful way to reach consumers at multiple touch points throughout the day, DOOH and mobile strategies should be aligned to create an effective dialogue with consumers.