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From an American and continental perspective it's easy to think that "we are the world" when it comes to mobile phone usage and marketing. Jeremy Wright, Nokia's global director of brand solutions, looked to reset that misconception during a presentation at Digiday's mobile event on Thursday. Seems there's more to mobile than Facebook, iFarts and text messages for emerging markets.
With more than four billion mobile phones on the market, Nokia has also positioned itself as a content provider and mobile network infrastructure owner. Wright sees different attitudes developing among the global perception of devices and advertising.
"The mobile device plays a different role in emerging markets than it does in the US, UK, and other countries," he said. "In developed countries consumers tend to be very cynical about mobile ads, for example. In emerging markets we find people are more optimistic about how mobile communication and advertising can add to their lives."
Wright picked out seven trends that define the short term future of the mobile marketplace. Most have the global view in mind.
- Smartphones rising: Wright pointed out that iPhones and their 3G competitors are not as ubiquitous as media coverage might suggest. However, he said, Nokia claims 44 percent of the total smartphone global market. He says that will increase as applications increase. He said only 2 percent of the total global mobile population has ever downloaded a mobile app. The company is introducing a new ad serving platform called Ovi in May to move that number worldwide.
- Death of patience: No secret that consumers have no time to wait for anything, but that societal quirk will mean rapid deployment for contactless payment systems and quick response codes.
- Rewarding engagement: "Brands must reward engagement on the mobile platform," Wright said. "The blurring of the lines between advertising and useful services will continue, so basic services will continue to move toward the free model." Cash, free minutes, and content downloads have been used by Nokia and its advertisers to reward engagement.
- Personal expression: Phones are defining individuals, Wright said. Not only the way the handset looks, but the applications on them and the content on them. Nokia has developed proprietary designs for at least one cosmetic brand in Brazil.
- New learning economy: Personal development tools will fill the mobile content pipeline, and brands will embrace that trend. He pointed to the GPS-based Nokia Sports Tracker as an example. He also predicted that the next billion digital customers will use the mobile device before they ever access the internet from a PC.
- Clickable world: "Rather than mass media moving online, mobile will become pervasive and all media will become interactive," Wright said.
- Personal relevance: Wright predicted that global consumers will become more comfortable releasing personal information to brands about their behavior and purchase preferences. That will enable more relevant personal ads.