Mobile World Congress 2015.
Traditionally, Mobile World Congress wasn’t an event you would find ad agency execs, marketers and media types attending en-masse for the simple fact it was predominately reserved for the global power elite of Telco’s, Handset Manufacturers, Chip Manufacturers, OS developers and the big tech players who service the underbelly of the global mobile framework including Intel, Oracle, SAP, IBM and Cisco.
Fast forward to 2015 and things have changed, a lot. A host of marketers from global brands including LVMH, Coke, McDonalds and Nike attended this year as well as ad and media agency execs from WPP, IPG, Publicis, Omnicom and Dentsu all wanting to discover what the biggest trends were for the smallest screen in our lives.
I think the most important takeout from this year’s congress for the marketing community was not another new phone, nor the connected car or the mass arrival of the Internet of Things but more the fact that big tech wants to integrate itself within ad land…..as soon as possible.
This was no more evident than visiting Cisco and IBM at their respective booths (I should say they more resembled small suburbs than booths). Like many of their brethren, Cisco and IBM are focusing a great deal of their products and services on the marketing ecosystem as they have realised stuff like Real Time Analytics, Platform Development, Database Architecture and other related tech services will be increasingly demanded from the marketing team of a business as consumers, their devices, the content they consume and the objects around them become perpetually interconnected.
Cisco in particular had some amazing real time data visualisation tools (part of their new Mobile IQ offering) that could benefit the industry enormously vs. the old Excel spreadsheet (I can hear many of you shudder at the mere mention of spreadsheet!).
Another strong indicator of big tech arriving in ad land was the recent announcement that WPP has signed a $1.2B, 7 year contract with IBM to help them develop and scale new platforms and services across the WPP group to improve organisational efficiency as well as create new opportunities to monetise products and services to their customers that are enabled by IBM technologies. Imagine 3-5 years ago and hearing that news, you would have thought Sorrell and his posse were off their heads, today you realise those heads are firmly screwed on.
If you’re a marketer, ad / media executive or even part of the back office IT department at an ad agency I would advise you the arrival of big tech in ad land should be welcomed with open arms rather than closed eyes. Tech giants like IBM, Cisco and SAP can add a huge amount of value to the marketing and advertising industry just like we can to theirs.
When new relationships are formed in any ecosystem exciting things usually follow, they accelerate ideas and innovative ways of doing things that before seemed like utter fantasy.
Today, all of us within the marketing and communications industry fulfil 90% our daily work via technology from the creation of a marketing plan, writing a creative brief, filling out timesheets or making a TV booking. All of these things can be enormously improved by opening the door to big tech…..if you let them.
I would recommend you send at least 1 of your staff there next year as the value one gets from attending is more than worth the cost of a ticket and airfare (provided they don’t fly 1st class and stay at the W Hotel).