August 20, 2013 12:25 PM

Is Smart Marketing An Oxymoron?

We need to forget about the idea of mobile marketing and start focusing on smart marketing.

In my second business book, CTRL ALT Delete, I lay out the case for the one screen world. It's not about three screens (TV, Web and mobile) or four screens (some people like to say that the tablet is the fourth screen)... it's about one screen: whatever screen is in front of me. Too many brands continue to build digital ghettos where the Web, mobile, social and even e-commerce occupy and have their own, unique, strategies. These strategies are often run through different departments, managers and teams. Sometimes, the only unifying quality is that they all represent the same brand. In a world where screens are connected, ubiquitous, cheap and in the palms of our hands, perhaps all of those strategies are stupid, and what brands are in dire need of is a smart marketing strategy.

When mobile is less about where you are and much more about who you are.

The indication of mobile used to be about portability and location. Knowing who the consumer is, where they are and what they're doing. In 2013, it really has become about that last part: what we're doing. The context of the situation. In theory, you can be on your mobile device, but sitting on the coach at home. Trying to market against this using a mobile strategy seems almost as ridiculous as trying to get conversion from a QR code that's lambasted on a billboard that is situated on the interstate. So many brands are struggling to understand that mobile is less about the fact that everyone has a phone on them and much more about the fact that these phones are not phones at all. They are, as my good friend Andy Nulman likes to call them: the remote control for our lives. To this day, too many brands are looking at the advertising opportunity (how to get a message in front of these users), instead of the marketing opportunity (how to create something that will add value to their consumers lives) that these connected screens offer the world.

Are we still talking about the need for brands to embrace mobile marketing?

In fact, we are but we should not be. The truth is that the consumers have already made the choice and now brands are woefully behind. You would think that they would have learned their lesson after watching the adoption of websites, then e-commerce, and then social media over the past two decades, but they have not. Just last week, there were a handful of interesting factoids that point us to a post-PC and post-Web browser world that should make brands stand up straight and take notice.

We need to get over the words "mobile," "Web" and "social media."

What this data points to is a smart consumer using smart devices. These could be connected televisions, smartphones, tablets, laptops or anything else. These devices - in a one screen world - are smart. They're getting smarter and more connected and the only thing that brands need to be paying much closer attention to, is just how well they are building a Smart Marketing plan around these consumers. The digital strategy ghettos are rampant in most organizations (both B2C and B2B), and this is primarily because brands don't see smart devices as a business strategy. Sadly, they see them as engines of advertising or engines of commerce instead of being what they truly are: a digital representation of the the business entity.

Let's see if smart marketing can become something more than an oxymoron.

The above posting is my twice-monthly column for The Huffington Post. I cross-post it here with all the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original version online here: