Clarifying digital and mobile

It is about time that the industry stopped referring to digital and mobile as channels or as media; we are mature enough now to understand that these are not specific enough and do not group together a set of channels that can, or should, necessarily be used together.

The mobile handset exists in a number of different forms and includes a variety of different channels ranging from the basic voice and SMS, up through MMS, Bluetooth and now mobile broadband internet to apps, dependant on the OS in place – so finally mobile is purely the equipment and when we say mobile, we really mean handset and we don’t refer to the PC when we mean either an installed-from-CD application, something downloaded from the internet or a cloud based service.

Similarly, digital (and for that matter interactive) is not a channel, nor is it a technology or even a piece of equipment – it is a change to the way we live, work and interact and as such we need to be very careful – today outdoor, radio and even TV have become digital and to varying degrees they have also become interactive with certain services.

So this is a call to arms, to all agencies, planners, creatives and marketers to create a new list, a new list of basic media channels that used to simply be TV, radio, print and outdoor and to add a few new basics, a few new core menu items that are a must have:

  • Website: Be it for viewing on a PC, a tablet or a mobile device, and likely is that it will need to be adapted differently for each.
  • Social media: This isn’t just Facebook & MySpace, but a whole host of media that may well be paid and un-paid – from blogs to forums to private label networks; think about how the consumer interacts with other users.
  • Mobile applications: The way people consumer on their mobile (or even iPad) is changing so make sure the message and content are changing too.
  • SMS, MMS, email & now FB messaging: Don’t forget these core media which might just well be the saving grace of your direct campaign.

For each of these we need a plan and a strategy – how is the message delivered? How does the medium make the message more or less relevant to the consumer? How can they engage and respond?

Digital and mobile were words of yesterday, and we are already in tomorrow – so if we know how to segment a market by geographics, demographics and psychographics, let us also break down the media landscape into the different channels that it really entails.

By Lex Bradshaw-Zanger

A digital native and integrated brand marketer with a passion for marketing-communications and product design, Lex has a truly international outlook and experience, having worked both in major marketing agencies and client-side brands across Europe, the US and the Middle East.

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