The Topline: Mobile FirstLook Summit

As mobile devices continue to capture both a greater percentage of sales and consumer’s daily attention, it is critical for brands to continue their investment in mobile.

At last month’s Mobile Firstlook conference, leaders in the digital and mobile space shared their views on mobile strategy, case studies, key learnings, results and their evolving approach within their organizations. The message was clear – mobile is the future – but brands need to continue the journey of defining, implementing and refining their mobile strategies. Here are some of the top take-aways from the day.




Tom Daly, Global Group Director for Coca Cola, shared his prediction that the companies who are able to optimize and find linkages between mobile advertising + location + beacons + payments, will be the most successful moving forward. The ideal solution is to use the physical world to influence the digital world while creating a path that seamlessly leads to a transaction. For example, a brand can leverage mobile ads that drive to specific retail spaces, then use beacon technology to deliver a contextually relevant and timely message to drive purchase. The growth in mobile payments can then enable a frictionless purchase experience within the retail. The challenge is for brands to leverage their owned and borrowed assets to create this linkage and optimize their own mobile experiences.





According to Julie Ask, VP and Principal Analyst at Forester Research, your app ins’t going to be enough to win in mobile – you need an App + strategy. The average person looks at their mobile devices between 150-200 times a day (better known as mobile moments), and spends about 78% of those moments within apps. However, only 12 categories of apps make up over 72% of those mobile moments. Retail, banking, and travel apps combined only make up approximately 12% of mobile moments. So, in order to increase your count of mobile moments within daily lives, you must incorporate additional solutions to complement your app – an a App + strategy. Some key examples of App + Strategies are :

  • App + Omnichannel – making an app invaluable across multiple use cases, e.g. Delta Airlines app allows you to book flights, contact customer service, and board your flight
  • App + Messaging – using notifications and badges to deliver relevant content to consumers without requiring them open then app is a way to create value and incremental mobile moments.
  • App + Fragments – integrating disparate apps or services to create consumer value, e.g. ordering Domino’s pizza from Twitter or ordering an Uber from the United Airlines app.





Extremely intriguing were the key learnings and approaches to app design shared by HSN and Overstock. Mobile users are task oriented and will leave an app if they are unable to complete their task within :30. Here a few tips and best practices to implement in your mobile strategy:

  • Place the most used features of your app within ergonomic zones of the device. Most people use a single hand to navigate mobile devices and as phones tend to get larger, it’s more important to place the most popular features where they are accessible by a single hand.
  • Don’t forget to make use of swiping gestures to improve the usability and speed. Swiping features can enable a broad list of other features, rather then just “delete”.
  • Make it easy on your user by making tap targets extra large so users don’t need to try multiple times to trigger an in-app object.
  • Lastly, forms are the enemy of mobile; reduce the number of individual form fields to help optimize the user flow or use third-party verification tools such as Facebook Connect or Apple Pay to pre-fill consumer information.




There was a lot of discussion on whether “responsive design was dead”. While better than the alternative of “unresponsive design”, responsive cannot be the end to your mobile strategy. Let the creative and marketing idea drive the form. Mobile for mobile’s sake won’t help achieve results; rather look at the insights and mobile behaviors of your audience and develop an intentional mobile strategy.

– Christa and John

The Four Slides You Need to Know: EMERGE Partner SM(ART) Conference


Last month a few of us from TPN had the chance to attend an all Omnicom agency summit called Emerge: Partner Sm(art).  Emerge focused on digital trends and creating more impactful marketing programs through partnerships with industry thought leaders like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, Vice and Yahoo!.  Knowing it’s hard to get away from the desk for two days, I wanted to share a few key themes from those presentations (spoiler alert, mobile is a key focus).  So here are The Four Slides You Need to Know.



Mobile, mobile, mobile.

There is a seismic shift towards Mobile driven by the rapid adoption of smartphones. As smartphone penetration continues to rise, so will the percentage of the population that is “mobile dominant” or “mobile first”. While only 18% of smart phone users are “mobile dominant” currently, that percentage is estimated to grow to over 70% within the next five years.



Rise of the “Phablet”

Engagement time grows with screen size. This means mobile engagement time is on the rise since Phablets (phone + tablet, think iPhone 6+) experienced a +148% growth in usage.  Phablets in many cases are replacing what we traditionally used tablets for, with full size tablets decreasing by -20%. The rise of the Phablet creates opportunities for richer, more engaging mobile experiences.



Mobile is the Platform, Video is the Medium.

Digital video consumption is on the rise.  18-64 year old Americans doubled their digital video habits while Facebook and Instagram alone saw a 75% growth year over year in video consumption, growing to over 3 billion video views per day.  Mobile is making a big impact; of those 3B video views per day on Facebook and Instagram, an astounding 65% came from mobile.  Part of digital video consumption’s growth is driven by the growth of Over the Top Television (OTT) – services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, or HBO Go.  OTT has given more control and customization to consumers while also allowing for a connected experience across multiple internet enabled devices.





Apps on Apps on Apps

Mobile apps are where we tend to spend the majority of our mobile time.  For app creators, getting on the device seems like the holy grail but staying on it may be equally as hard, as new app downloads are in part driven by replacement.  While 53% of new app downloads are motivated by a need for a specific task, 49% are to replace an existing app.  Of those replacing apps, 34% say they replace apps weekly and 52% replace them monthly.




A Force of Nature: The Nike Free Stride Experience

Earlier this week, I had an incredible opportunity to combine two of my biggest passions. As you’ve probably guessed, shopper marketing is one of them – it’s a field I love thinking, talking, and writing about. I’m also an obsessed runner. So when presented with the opportunity to take part in an innovative launch event for the new Nike Free running shoes, I jumped at it. The Nike Free Stride Speed Run is part product demo, part group treadmill workout, and a completely immersive experience.


To generate interest, Nike kickstarted the Free Stride experience by tapping into it’s NikeNYC Run Club, a training group for runners of all skill levels in major cities across the U.S., by sending members an exclusive early access invitation. Nike also leveraged its local coaches as brand ambassadors, encouraging runners to sign-ups during training sessions and sharinge the experience across social media, a tactic that has proven successful for cultish cycling studio Soul Cycle.


There is no escaping the Free Stride Experience at Nike’s flagship retail store in New York City.  There is amazing stopping power in five runners hammering on treadmills – music blaring – in front of a jaw-dropping, two-story LED screen.  All along the stage, Nike Free running shoes are displayed pedestals and with plenty of room to stand and watch, shoppers gather and turn into spectators.


As I get ready to start my own Free Stride experience, I check-in and am escorted to a changing room and outfitted for my workout.  Nike associates explain the key product features of the new Nike Free and ask questions about my running preferences to help select the best style for me to demo during the workout.


The workout itself, a grueling set of speed intervals, is guided by both the massive LED screen and Nike coach. Sight, sound, and motion work together to create a completely immersive experience for runners and spectators alike. As we move through exotic, environments created by the LED screen, LED lights in the floor change and pulse to the beat of the music while nature sounds are subtly mixed in. I actually feel transported to the places on the screen in front of me and despite the intensity of the workout, I find a huge grin on my face.

The workout ends, high fives are exchanged and we return to the changing area. This is a perfect occasion for Nike associates to chat with us about how the Nike Free’s felt during the workout. It’s easy to forget this is a selling occasion for Nike but throughout the experience, the branding and selling all feels very subtle. I don’t feel pressured, but there are certainly clear buying opportunities and Nike associates made sure we walk away with a fantastic understanding of the product.


Nike is able to extend the reach of the Free Stride experience by “evangelizing” Free Stride participants into social ambassadors. Photographers and videographers capture each session and participants receive a post-event email recap complete with links to download photos and videos from their session. By providing social media worthy assets and encouraging sharing using designated hashtags, Nike can effectively turn the early adopters into the social influencer’s for the next wave of runners.

In the end, it was an incredible experience to have been a part of. The Nike Free Stride Speed Run is a beautiful case study in blending product demos, social influencers, experiential marketing, and retail technology into one integrated experience. It will be exciting to see if this strategy is employed in future launches. The marketer and runner in me certainly hopes it will.


Lessons From Target Too

By now, most of you have probably already heard about Target Too. The industry went abuzz for the pop-up design-meets-digital playground that came to the Chelsea Galleries from March 25 – 31. And for good reason – Target Too is a beautiful mixture of experiential, augmented reality, social integration and creative design.  But underneath all the glitz and glamour, there are lessons we can all learn and apply to our own businesses about being intentional with technology.

A reason for mobile

From the moment you step foot in Target Too, your entire experience is guided and enhanced by the Target Too mobile app.



Their app is not an after thought nor technology for technology’s sake; it is integral to the consumer’s experience. As we consider the role of mobile apps in our own businesses, the best examples provide consumers a unique value and differentiated experience.  In the below examples from Target, consumers can use the app to discover augmented reality experiences or upload and share their own pixelated selfie to social media.



Make mobile commerce feel seamless

Beyond entertainment, the app allowed Target to seamlessly integrate commerce into the consumer’s experience.  As consumers used the app to learn about and interact with each exhibit, they are also given the opportunity to discover and shop the individual components that made it up.


serveitup1 serveitup2

My favorite example of this mobile commerce integration was Get Framed (seen below).  Leveraging the same form of visual search technology that powers Target’s In a Snap mobile app, consumers could shop the components of each piece simply by “framing it” inside the app with their camera.  Far more convenient and natural than QR codes, this type of visual search will continue to grow in retail.  Retailers like JC Penny and Macy’s are leveraging visual search through their mobile apps and earlier in March, Shazam announced plans to enter the visual search market as well.


Make it personal

The benefits of personalized marketing are far reaching.  From creating shareable content to building loyalty and increasing conversion – personalization helps move the conversation from “you and me” to “us”.  Target Too offered a variety of ways to personalize the experience.  The Play My Jam module of the app allowed consumers to play DJ, setting the mood for the exhibit through select playlists.  The exhibit also leveraged touch screen kiosks to allow consumers to build their own t-shirts, tote bags, or iPhone cases to take home.

playmyjam playmyjam2


Target Too is a grand work of art.  It brilliantly blurs the lines between “consumer” and “shopper”.  But if creating a pop-up art gallery isn’t in the budget, we can still look at the execution and apply the strategic principles it was built on to our everyday business.