The Magic Circle Gather for MMA Briefing
It was a full house at this morning's MMA Brand and Agency Briefing at London's Magic Circle venue, where a panel of guest speakers, introduced by Sponge founder and MMA chairman Alex Meisl, presented a wealth of strategies and statistics.
First up on the podium was George Berkowski, head of product at Hailo, whose taxi app enables customers to find the nearest black cab - and which we've looked at before. Since its inception, Berkowski said, over 5,000 cab drivers have subscribed with the service - a quarter of the 23,000 cabs registered across London in total. With a 40 per cent monthly growth rate, and over 1m Hailo rides recorded by drivers using the app, Hailo is expanding rapidly. Berkowski stated during a Q&A panel that the biggest challenges the company faced were keeping track with the increasing demands of black cab drivers to ensure the longevity and efficiency of its service.
Second on the podium was Mark Izatt, head of global marketing projects at Vertu, a luxury mobile communications brand and ex-subsidiary of Nokia. Izatt's presentation looked at mobile marketing from a rather different angle - speaking about how to market a mobile brand, on the mobile channel and otherwise.
Izatt did eventually get around to Vertu's current digital strategies - on mobile, Vertu has used an SMS campaign, app sponsorship, mobile site display banners, and location-based marketing. He stated that SMS had proved Vertu's least effective mobile strategy - perhaps not surprising considering the brand's high-end clientele.
Izatt was repeatedly asked about the strange move of advertising Vertu on rival mobile devices, notably the iPhone, to which he replied “honestly, the ads look better on iPhones than our phones” and pointed out that it's difficult to resist advertising on such a ubiquitous channel.
“As smartphones have become more embedded into all levels of society, we're now in a situation where you look at a person without a smartphone in the room and immediately you're asking why,” said Izatt.
Last but not least was Richard Firminger, managing director of app intelligence company Flurry. According to Firminger, over 70,000 brands - Elle, Google and Microsoft - including use Flurry for their analytics. Among a handful of stats, both familiar and new, Firminger also warned against fradulent app promotion. Any company guaranteeing a top 10 category, he said, was not to be trusted - as this can only definitely be achieving using botfarms, which automate mass downloads of apps.
He also mentioned Samsung's sponsorship of a single hidden level on Angry Birds, for which they paid a rumoured £750,000, as an example of the power of Rovio's advertising - even going as far as refer to the Finnish games company as potentially “the next Disney”.