Screens, they are all around us; flat screens, single screens, second screens... all fighting for our attention. And also fighting for a share of the marketing budget.
As businesses become more customer journey focussed, the more ubiquitous mobile screen will get (if it isn't already there) on top of every job list across the country. The investment in Mobile marketing in India is at $250 million. That's about 50 per cent of all digital spends. And this number is pegged to grow by a whopping 85 per cent this year. There are a broad range of issues being addressed about mobile marketing right now: insufficient metrics, more transparency and accountability etc. But a more fundamental issue needs addressing too, one which is rooted in the quality of the output, what we create for the mobile medium.
Conversations around mobile often start big - "Can we create a first of its kind mobil (the 'e' goes silent sometimes) experience?" and "Let's create an immersive video experience," and these conversations almost always end small... the budget I mean.
Somehow, it's now an accepted belief that a smaller screen means a smaller budget. This will continue to haunt many of us who are trying to create compelling communication, experiences or interventions on and for the mobile medium. While there is investment in Data and Logic, there seems to be very little understanding of and investment in Production and Magic. So, for all the talk that happens around mobile, more often than not, you end up creating a bleeding banner.
Some of the best examples that we talk about from around the world are not just well conceived but they are also beautifully crafted and executed. And great execution isn't cheap. Somehow, we bring up these brilliant campaigns and executions as examples only when we talk about effectiveness. But we seldom speak about the investment (in time and money) that went behind them.
It is important to look at the work that sets the benchmark in this medium and be realistic about what it took to get there. Good investment in production and craft will reap great returns. We have great examples that validate this. And we should get more proficient about this side of the Grand Prix winners. What it cost to create them and what was the investment that went behind these famous pieces. Maybe it's time that case studies also start documenting this end of campaigns. We should get more price-literate and push for better investment in production and build.
When you invest in craft, you insure engagement. Craft is a catalyst for feeling. If we invest in it we will end up with work that does more than just fill inventory. We get work that cuts through and connects; work that delivers.
So the next time you hear "But it's only a digital film," or "It's a video for mobile," or my personal favourite, "Shoot it on someone's phone," arm yourself with the right knowledge and go nuclear.
(Arvind Krishnan is managing director, BBH India)