I go into each Seller Forum gathering with at least one big open question in mind. As we head into our mid-year meeting on June 30th, I'm obsessing about this one: Who's really ready for a mobile-dominant ad business?
Once upon a time - last year perhaps? - we joked that 'mobile is the future of the online ad business - and always will be.' We'd listened to the same endless loop of stories about how big mobile was in Northern Europe and Asia and cringed as yet another panelist trotted out the lame "Starbucks can send you an ad when you're walking near one of their stores!" example. But now the day of mobile reckoning is here, and ad businesses will be evaluated simply and without emotion: Is yours built for the mobile consumer or not?
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The dirty secret is that while we've been busily obsessing over the latest programmatic press release, consumers just ran ahead of us. Usage of the internet and consumption of video has flipped and the phone quickly became the dominant screen. As a result, the legacy desktop-oriented businesses will start to look bloated and out of date: PCs are the new newspapers.
So are publishers and ad sellers truly prepared? I don't know for sure. But within the context of our next Forum, I'd sure like to talk about it. We're convening a panel of mobile stakeholders for a rolling discussion of the five dimensions that - I believe - are the keys to mobile readiness: Video, Monetization, Creative, Measurement and Infrastructure. I'm sure the results will be illuminating.
As I wrote two weeks ago ("You've Got Phone!") the acquisition of AOL by Verizon is a wake-up call. To date we've been executing mobile advertising with the tools of the desktop, and the results overall have been less than spectacular. If we're late getting out of bed on this issue, the agencies sharing our beds have also been hitting the snooze button. Who can blame us? After 20 years of hard work building the desktop advertising infrastructure, can't we be forgiven for wanting to let the machine run for a while?
But the consumer won't wait. They have voted with their thumbs, and marketers are close behind. The next wave of business reinvention in digital marketing is happening today and full participation is not optional. Is your business ready?
If you're CRO, EVP, SVP or VP of national sales for a company that sells media and would like to attend this important discussion at The Seller Forum on Tuesday June 30th, reach out to me right away. Seating is limited and most of our spots are already spoken for.