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Mobile marketers should ‘budget for failure’ and think more like startups, says Mobext boss

Mobext boss Arthur Policarpio

Mobext boss Arthur Policarpio

Advertisers need to be more prepared for mobile projects to go wrong than traditional media campaigns, the regional head of mobile marketing agency Mobext said today.

Speaking at Spikes Asia in Singapore, Arthur Policarpio, head of Mobext Asia Pacific, the mobile arm of media agency Havas Media, said that agencies and advertisers should create a “budget for failure” when using mobile to build brands.

“As agencies, we think too much about whether or not things will work. But with mobile, failure equals progress,” he said.

“A TVC has to be perfectly produced. A print ad has to be perfectly written. But failure is a good thing in mobile. There is no such thing as the perfect app. There will always be errors and bugs. But you need to see them as learning experiences.”

Advertisers should look to develop a “minimum viable product” quickly, then improve upon it based on feedback from users. “Don’t wait five years to wait the perfect product,” he said.

Policarpio said that advertisers need to heed lessons from the startup world in their approach to mobile.

“Startups do not think about awards [like advertising agencies]. It’s a different mentality in their world – creating a mobile campaign versus creating a mobile product that stands the test of time,” he said.

In answer to a question from Mumbrella about how much failure advertisers should be prepared to budget for, Policarpio said that media agencies should give their mobile divisions more leeway to experiment with mobile. Returns are often high with mobile projects, he argued, pointing to the TV show Indonesian Idol, which charged fans IDR 2,000 (17 cents) to vote for their favourite contestant via SMS or Twitter.

On what is holding mobile back in terms of marketing spend in APAC, Policarpio said that the number one reason is a lack of measurement and data around ROI.

“As brand managers, we want to understand brand equity scores alongside the usual metrics such as impressions and clicks. But we haven’t made that connection yet. We need to to give clients more confidence in mobile.

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