Forget artificial intelligence and machine learning, getting mobile right should be marketers’ primary focus in 2017. That’s the view of Maureen Morris, Head of Industry Sales Strategy and Insights at Google.

“The truth of the matter is, we often get distracted by the shiny. Especially in marketing. You want to try the new thing, but often we’re not taking full advantage of the things that consumers have already fully adopted,” Morris said during a panel discussion hosted by Marketo in Sydney last week.

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Marketers still have work to do when it comes to optimising mobile user experience, understanding how customers are using mobile and adopting the right metrics, she said.

“Australia has one of the most advanced populations when it comes to smartphones. When I look across all the industries that I work with, I think we’re actually letting the consumers down in a lot of cases. It’s because we haven’t figured out how to make it make sense with the old world of measurements and the old world KPIs,” Morris said.

“Before you get distracted by what’s coming down the pipe — because it won’t have material impact for you as a marketer for a few years — really get focused on what’s here now, today. Mobile is here now, today. It’s behaviour; it’s not a device .”

Mobile pitch

Speaking on the same panel, Jason Juma-Ross, Head of Technology at Facebook, added marketers need to catch up to consumers faster than their competitors.

“Customers have moved and they’re accelerating away in terms of their behaviour, so the question is, can you catch up with customers faster than your competitors? Because if you’re faster than the next person or the next company, then you have a chance of deriving competitive advantage from that. I think that’s super important right now.”

He said the rise of mobile was creating many friction points in the industry, including between marketers and their creative agencies.

“I was sitting in a lunch with a bunch of CMOs a few weeks ago and five out of six of them were complaining that ‘every time I ask my creative agency for an idea, they come back with a TV ad’,” Juma-Ross said.

He explained a few years ago at Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg implemented a policy that all new product presentations must be presented on a smartphone.

“We kicked out a bunch of engineers for six weeks who came in showing things on their desktops. Eventually, everybody got used to coming in and showing their stuff on the mobile phone,” he said.

“But then, come forward to 2016. I sit in on a bunch of creative review meetings with clients and CMOs, and the creative agency comes in and they wheel out the big monitor, with the speakers and sound on, and nobody comes up and presents their idea on a mobile phone.”

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