The mobiThinking five-minute interview – James Connelly, Fetch

James Connelly is the managing director and co-founder of mobile marketing agency Fetch. From offices in London and San Francisco, the agency manages mobile campaigns in over 40 countries for clients that include Hotels.com, William Hill and Sony Music. Fetch won Best Marketing Company at the Mobile Entertainment Awards 2011 and Best Mobile Advertising Campaign at the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards 2011 with Sony Music, among other accolades.

1. What is the one thing that gets you most excited about mobile Web, mobile services and/or mobile marketing?
It’s the fact that the mobile phone is the only connected device that people have on them for practically every waking hour – particularly in North America and Europe. This doesn’t mean that they should be bombarded with mobile marketing every moment of every day – they shouldn’t – but the power of ‘what-if’ excites me.

2. What are your favorite (and least favorite) a) mobile Websites, b) mobile services and c) mobile campaigns? What can the rest of us learn from these?
I am impressed with the success of cab apps, particularly Hailo. This isn’t the only success story in this market, but it happens to be the service I use when I’m out and about in London and I need a taxi (Hailo is also live in Toronto, Chicago, Dublin and Boston). What Hailo has done is improve the way this business works from both a passenger and driver perspective, which I believe is the fundamental value of new technology. Drivers are able to pick up more jobs and become more efficient, while passengers don’t have to wait around trying to hail a passing cab. All payments are streamlined and accounted for digitally.
My biggest bugbear is mobile advertising campaigns, whether that’s display, search or SMS, that do not click through to a mobile-optimized site. It’s a marketing crime! Why pay money to grab a consumer’s attention and then piss them off with a poor experience.

3. Who is the new kid on the block – the mobile site/business to watch for the future?
In this instance, it’s Facebook. It may not be new, but it’s new to mobile advertising. It has recently trialed various ways to monetize mobile traffic with advertising, something it has avoided up until now. There has been a lot of speculation around how the poor performance of the IPO was related to its admitting issues with monetizing their mobile products. However, I do believe that now that Facebook is offering mobile-only advertising, it will tap into some bustling mobile-only budgets from sectors such as social gaming.

4. What (vertical) sector would you say is furthest ahead in mobile Web/mobile marketing? What can the rest of us learn from this sector?
Without doubt, it’s the gaming sector. These guys are the new porn kings (in the nicest possible way!) They have been using mobile advertising for the past seven years, pretty much since when smart phone apps started to take off. They are heavily DR (direct response) focused with tight CPA (cost per action) goals, which can limit creativity, but they are able to scale and drive huge revenues off the back of their campaigns.
After gaming, I’m not sure if there is a particular vertical that stands out. If you look within Travel for example, some companies are miles ahead with mobile, including Hotels.com (a Fetch client), while others don’t even have an optimized site. A lot depends on the leadership team and the agencies who advice them.

5. What’s the most exciting/inspirational country/part of the world for mobile Internet/mobile marketing? What can the rest of us learn from there?
The stats from Africa never cease to amaze me. If you look at some of the recent innovations in the UK such as Pingit (Barclays Bank new mobile payments app), it reminds me of a case study for M-PESA (Safaricom’s legendary mobile money service) I saw in Africa nearly five years ago! Africa is the fastest-growing continent for mobile Web adoption and the second-biggest continent in terms of current volume, after Asia.

Q6. What technology or initiative is most likely to revolutionize mobile Web/marketing? What sites/brands use this to maximum effect?
I don’t believe that the industry has fully utilized the power of location-based marketing and has yet to offer mobile marketing opportunities that really scale, particularly in the US. The closest attempt has been carrier lead opt-in SMS programs in UK and Turkey, or WiFi powered advertising, but I believe that when we are able to geo-target at scale to a pinpoint location, it will change the way businesses, particularly retail, can communicate with their customers and prospects. I think this change will have to be powered by the mobile operators, who possess the most valuable data of users, along with the operating systems.

7. If you could wave your magic wand and change one thing in the industry, what would it be?
I’d improve battery life on smart phones and reduce data roaming charges!

8. What’s the biggest mistake in mobile Web/marketing?
The biggest mistake is expecting mobile consumers to react in the same way as desktop. Too many marketers expect mobile behavior to be an extension of the desktop world. It’s not… They’re using a smaller screen, often on the move and often using the device in different circumstances and or environments to a desktop.

9. What are the most useful resources – sites, must-read books, associations etc – for mobile marketers?
For smaller businesses that may not be able to employ mobile specialists or afford to bring in a mobile agency, Google’s howtogomo.com is a good resource for all things mobile marketing.

Q10. Which mobile-marketing guru would you like to do our five-minute interview next?
That’s a tough one. I think it would be interesting to hear from Omar Hamoui, the founder of Admob (the mobile advertising network now absorbed into Google’s ad network), and get his recent views on the current state of the market.

Recent mobiThinking five-minute interviews:
Kerstin Trikalitis, Out There Media; MMAScott Seaborn, XS2Jay Emmet, OpenMarketChris Bourke, MobextDr KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCityCarsten Frien, MadvertisePam Horan, Online Publishers AssociationBarney Loehnis, OgilvyOne, Asia PacificTom Eslinger, Saatchi & Saatchi

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• The big compendium of global mobile stats

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