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This is a guest post by Tom Burgess, CEO and co-founder of Linkable Networks.

If there is one thing I know about advertisers from my career in the industry, it’s that we’re always chasing something. Like some people say about the dating game, it’s all about the chase in advertising: tracking down the latest trends, channels, and platforms to distribute your message.

But ultimately, we’re chasing attribution. Brand managers and advertisers want to know their media spend is being allocated efficiently and want to know that it is actually driving consumers to buy the product.

By now, most marketers and brand managers have probably heard the phrase “lead with mobile.” I agree with this, but what does it really mean? Should brands only focus on mobile advertising? Should all your media efforts should be derived from the mobile experience?

It’s easy to get this wrong. At first you might think mobile advertising makes sense because the ad will be where the many connected consumers are. But this isn’t right. Who really watches a video mobile ad all the way through and then goes to the brand’s Facebook page to learn more?

The answer, rather, is “mobile enablement” and looking for ways to add mobile components to more traditional ads.

Mobile Enablement

Imagine this. Take every ad across every medium and give it a mobile component. Give every ad a consumer call to action to be completed via their mobile device. These calls to action must be simple with low barriers to entry, such as texting a promotional code, scanning a QR code, or encouraging consumers to access a brand’s mobile app.

By enabling a mobile component to your ad (whether print, TV, or any other kind), opportunities for consumer engagement increase because you’re engaging with a consumer where they’re already paying attention –- and it’s simple, quick and easy. It’s more likely to be a good use of your marketing dollars because now, the print ad that originally would just have created consumer awareness of your brand –- at best -– is now encouraging the consumer to get out there and do something as a result.

Those who take charge are now becoming active participants rather than passive viewers. And let’s face it: aren’t we all looking for active brand advocates at the end of the day? With mobile enablement, you can get just that: a consumer interacting with the brand you are marketing.

Some companies like Starbucks are increasingly using location-based networks such as Foursquare to highlight an offer, coupon, or just a reminder to stop by. These are similar to a push notification you get on your smartphone when you receive a text or a new email, but they’re only triggered by a person who comes near a specific location, making it worthwhile for the consumer and the company. Companies like Placecast make this easy for brands to implement into their marketing efforts.


Disney, one of the most famous brands in the world, successfully deployed an advertising campaign over the summer featuring a mobile call-to-action, encouraging consumers to download its new mobile app. Disney’s Mobile Magic app allows users to search its amusement parks for attractions, check wait times, and look at exclusive photos and videos.

The Disney campaign’s ads were placed in print, radio, and television, featuring a StarStar code. To download the app, users are asked to dial the StarStar code. When they dial the code, users hear an automated message and simultaneously receive a text, directing them right to the download page. This call-to-action is seamless, easy, and satisfies both parties. The consumer and company both accomplish what they set out for, almost instantaneously.

Consumer engagement is what the advertising industry needs to ensure ad spend is targeted, effective, and worth every penny –- especially as the mobile industry continues to evolve. The winners in the field will be those who continue to distribute advertising funds across all mediums but with mobile enablement. Nobody leaves home without their phone these days and advertisers must adapt to the new mobile normal.

So, you can “lead with mobile” by adding mobile to all the media you already work with.

tom burgessTom Burgess is the CEO and co-founder of Linkable Networks. He is a seasoned executive with deep interactive advertising and digital media technology experience. In 2001, Burgess founded Third Screen Media, the world’s first mobile advertising network, and it was acquired by AOL in 2007. Prior to his tenure at Third Screen Media, Burgess served as President of internet portal where he guided the company to a successful public offering and later orchestrated sale of the company to

Businessman using smartphone via Digital Genetics/Shutterstock


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