rory sutherlandHow and why should brands and marketers take advantage of the unique characteristics of mobile to connect with us at the moments we need them most? Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group, a leading integrated advertising and marketing communications agency, tells why marketers need to think beyond reaching a target audience.

As Rory sees it: The real power of mobile is context. It allows brands to interact with people during  target moments (I need something now), target moods (I want something now) and target mindsets (I am considering a purchase, for example). Another reason brands need to focus on this: Google can’t.

Google may have sewn up the market when it comes to influencing our decisions when forward planning is concerned, but mobile is about immediacy.

Marketing is just the start

Rory’s message to brands: Address your audience correctly and in the correct context, and you can clinch a sale, build customer loyalty, offer enhanced services — and much more. “Communicate to people in way that is timely, but also ‘placely.’ “

But mobile doesn’t just allow brands to engage with people.

It also opens up entirely new business models, allowing companies to apply the principles of yield management to products and services we are just beginning to imagine.

Case in point: travel.

A railway company that wants to encourage people not to travel during the rush hour on a specific day might use mobile to offer people a significant discount or refund of the journey cost, if they choose a less busy time of the day to travel. Similarly, the same company could impose an extra charge, applicable to those people who insist traveling during the rush hour.

Put simply, businesses can harness mobile to “create interventions at decisive moments.” With this comes the lucrative opportunity to “actually modify behavior in real-time as it happens.”

Interview with Ogilvy’s Rory Sutherland

What is the impact of timely and ‘placely’ on mobile marketing strategies and approaches? Who are the big spenders? And why might it all be very different in mobile than any other medium?

Rory deep dives into the pivotal importance of the ‘moment’ in mobile and gives his take on the companies (verticals) that truly get mobile. Two groups of companies stand out: companies that serve people on the go, and people that serve the “time-poor and the time-pressured.”

My take:

An insightful and funny interview — and well work a listen. Rory is, of course, an expert ad man, but he is also the original advocate of Ogilvy’s 360 Degree Branding approach, which is all about focusing the optimum combination of disciplines on the brand and its needs, avoiding any bias towards a particular channel. Interestingly, Rory points out that mobile’s USP is context. It allows brands to deliver marketing that is timely, ‘placely’ — and therefore relevant to us. Smart brands that harness mobile can take advantage of opportunities linked to their business’ target moments, moods and mindsets. Engage with people at this decisive moment and the outcome is likely to be positive. The circle is likely to be even more virtuous if marketers ask people permission first, and then use this permission to inquire about preferences and ultimately deliver marketing people will genuinely appreciate.

Listen to the podcast here. [12:20]


Editor’s note: Check back for Part 2 in the three-part series next week. My personal thanks to Rory Sutherland for the interview, and to Denise Birch for arranging it. Thanks also to Paul Skeldon, who assisted in podcast production. Paul runs Videobaby Media – a one-stop-shop for high-quality, entry-level video and audio recording, editing and production for media companies looking to get a foot on the multimedia ladder.

Dan-o free royalty free musicMobileGroove theme music courtesy of the inimitable Dan-O, who offers an awesome selection of free royalty free music for production purposes.


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