Marketing Needs to Be Authentic, Personalized, Made for Mobile

By Rahul Vaidyanath, Epoch Times
June 10, 2015 5:35 pm Last Updated: June 11, 2015 11:04 am

OTTAWA—”We will never go back to a world where we will be treated as one in a million,” Fab Dolan said about the changing landscape of marketing.

Companies have to realize that old marketing models were built in a bygone era and that today’s increasingly digital world demands new strategies. And companies have to embrace the power of the mobile Internet.

Dolan, Head of Large Advertiser & Agency Marketing at Google Canada, was the keynote speaker at MARCOM‘s annual marketing and communications forum on Wednesday, June 10, at the Shaw Centre.

Dolan is a frequent guest lecturer at Canadian universities; his talks explore digital marketing, business strategy, ad technology, and more.

In addition to mobile, “authenticity is the new production value,” Dolan said. Companies and brands have to connect with their audiences—and this doesn’t necessarily require large production budgets and deep resources. It’s no longer about Nike’s venerable “Just Do It” ads with a catchy phrase.

Authenticity is the new production value.

Dolan said this is a challenge for companies who look at the Internet through the same lens that they’d look at other creative endeavours.

“The truth is, from a production value standpoint, often just having valuable information and providing utility to your audience is the best thing,” Dolan told Epoch Times after his presentation.

This is something certain bloggers and Youtube creators have excelled at, and it flies in the face of the traditional non-personalized ad for the masses.

He gave an example of a real estate agent’s low-tech Youtube video about the top 10 things to know when applying for a mortgage as being far more effective than a large billboard or bus shelter ad.

“It’s not about the production value; it’s about giving something of value to that audience,” Dolan said.

About Data and Customer Experience

With websites capturing our every click, ads can be designed to target our preferences. Digital data is far more powerful and valuable than ad designs and arrangements.

Dolan talked about machine learning and how, by varying everything from types of ads to times of day, online analytics can optimize the productivity of advertising. It’s akin to a simple game where a subject discovers what actions generate a higher score.


Marketers want to know how long people look at an ad as a measure of engagement. Or do they skip it? Do they share it?

The journey from seeing an ad to becoming a loyal customer used to be “fairly linear and discrete,” as Dolan puts it. The consumer would watch a big ad for 60 seconds, then go into the store and buy the product.

Now, in today’s increasingly connected world, people are never far from the Internet, and so that journey is typically broken up into many tiny interactions—on the cellphone, then back home at the desktop, and even a week later when a customer wants to actually talk to a company salesperson.

“What’s important for marketers to realize is that they need to be present at all those stages in the journey, not just have one big ad, one key moment in the store, and a great product,” Dolan explained.

“We can do that journey at our convenience. It’s immediate. It’s personalized, tactile, and immersive.”

People seem to have shorter attention spans in today’s world and advertising needs to adjust to that.

And Dolan emphasized the power of mobile in this journey. It’s gone from being the third or fourth screen (after television and desktop) to the only screen that matters.

Mobile is immediate and far more action-oriented. With mobile, 80 percent of mobile searches take place at home or at work, 75 percent of “conversions” take place within an hour, and 41 percent of searches are goal-oriented, according to the Google Canada/Nielsen 2015 Mobile Search Moments study.

“The main driver is mobile–it’s fundamentally changed behaviour to be much smaller in nature and much more action-oriented,” Dolan said.

Also critical for success is an excellent customer experience, without frustration, through mobile platforms.

Follow Rahul on Twitter @RV_ETBiz