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MarTech Interview with Alex Campbell, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Vibes

Alex Campbell chats about the growing benefits of mobile marketing.

The Vibes Team
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Alex, tell us more about yourself and what inspired the Vibes platform? How has it evolved over the years?

I co-founded Vibes in 1998 right out of college with my childhood friend Jack Philbin. At the time mobile devices were still flip phones. My co-founder and I always knew mobile and marketing would eventually intersect. It’s interesting because although we’ve been doing this for a while now, mobile marketing is still a relatively new way for brands to reach out to consumers and brands have only scratched the surface in terms of the marketing strategies available to them via mobile.

Now, I oversee innovation, strategy, marketing, and our customers at Vibes – always looking for the next great mobile technology that brands and retailers can leverage to drive deeper customer engagement and revenue opportunities. Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked to educate marketers on the value of mobile marketing and how best to use mobile to create and nurture long-lasting relationships with consumers.

In terms of evolution, the tools that brands can use to market to people have evolved so rapidly in the past decade. If you think about it, the iPhone came out in 2007, and that changed everything. Since then, there have been so many updates with smart devices and with that, there are so many innovative tools available for marketers to take advantage of.

How are you seeing mobile marketing evolve today? What are some of the biggest ways in which leading brands are using this medium to drive impact?

Mobile marketing is constantly evolving to keep up with the acceleration of mobile engagement. As mobile continues to evolve, it has become even more evident that it is the connection between a person’s digital and physical world, as mobile can instantly link someone’s digital information to other channels of engagement.

In terms of impact, this digital and physical connection opens up a whole world of possibility. Retailers can know who their customers are as soon as they walk into a physical store. As well, brands can use mobile during the buyer journey and communicate to the shopper one-to-one with personalized connections that make sense and create value for shoppers. Really, there’s no such thing as eCommerce or mCommerce anymore – it’s just commerce.

Can you talk about the growth of mobile marketing in recent years and how you feel this space will shape up to become prominent to the overall marketing mix?

The growth of mobile marketing in recent years has been driven by the consumer’s use of smartphones and the related functionality those smartphones create. Going back to the introduction of the app store itself, Apple and Google are continuously adding new tools and features to their devices, including mobile apps. Before apps, everything was on the mobile web, which wasn’t easy to use and didn’t use the phone’s inherent benefits like location or messaging. Apps bring out the functionality in a device into the overall experience, and it makes a phone a more integrated tool in the buyer journey.

As to how that’s going to shape the overall marketing mix, I believe that marketers will begin to use mobile to increase functionality in their own business. As well, brands will start to address how to talk to consumers when they’re in-store and online, and how to use mobile to increase functionality throughout the customer shopping experience.

What are some of the top challenges you still see brands face when implementing mobile marketing campaigns with the aim of boosting customer engagement?

The biggest challenge I see is that the infrastructure for many brands isn’t set up for mobile. For example, a brand that wants to implement mobile wallet into its marketing campaign might not have a POS system that supports wallet in the store or at checkout. All the tools are there, but in order to take advantage of these tools, brands have to update their infrastructure to fully integrate mobile marketing campaigns.

A hotel, for example, needs to build the infrastructure before using mobile keys. It has to update its internal systems to be able to process mobile tools, as well as fix the doors in the hotel to accept mobile keys. Implementing mobile capabilities requires a big infrastructure undertaking, and it’s going to take a while for brands to get up to speed.

Five thoughts on the future of B2C marketing?

1. There will be big changes in data.

As brands begin to gather more data and consumers become more aware of companies using their data, there will continue to be ongoing data privacy updates, ranging from how data privacy is managed and how it’s owned, to how it’s set up and who can access the information.

2. Brands need to update their marketing stacks faster to cater to mobile.

A brand’s overall tech stack needs to place mobile first. As mobile continues to update, so should brands’ marketing campaigns. For example, how can a brand think about mobile in the checkout process? Brands need to update their marketing stacks to keep up with evolving technology and improve the customer experience.

3. API usage needs to be common among brands.

As brands continue to ramp up their mobile marketing strategy, the use of APIs needs to become the standard practice in order for brands to succeed in their mobile marketing strategies. Many brands lag when it comes to API usage which creates an obstacle for data and services.

4. Algorithms will be regulated by the government.

We’re seeing a big backlash toward social media platforms’ algorithms and the role they play in the overall consumer experience with social media. For example, on TikTok specifically, many brands and creators have issues with their content being flagged and banned although they have done no harm, while inappropriate content that is often triggering to many users is being promoted and shared. We can either rely on social companies to police themselves or somehow regulate the usage of algorithms to curate content. Personally, I don’t like the government getting involved in anything, but this could be a public health issue. Just take a look at the teen suicide rate over the past 10 years. It’s alarming.

5. The wild west of consumer data will come to an end.

All of our data is in the hands of the companies that we work with and buy from. That’s going to come to an end. I don’t know if that’s within the next three to five years, but at some point, individuals are going to figure out that they can and should own their own data. Individuals should have a say in who gets to profit from their data and how they get paid by companies who want to use it. I think blockchain can play a really valuable role here.

Some last thoughts, takeaways, before we wrap up!

Mobile has grown rapidly over the last two decades. Think about the world of Dotcom and when that started. Since then, no one has really been paying attention to the consumer advocacy space. It’s evolving to be big enough that it will be impossible to ignore. In terms of algorithm regulation and data ownership, there’s going to be a reckoning in the world of social media in the next decade.

With that, consumers are going to get more control. We will see this shift throughout consumer-facing verticals within the next decade. Once consumers realize what they’re giving up for free and how much their data is worth, they will be more interested in this growing concept.


This article was published by Paroma Sen on MarTech Series. Find the original article here.

The Vibes Team
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