ad:tech 2011 – Tablet Marketing: Innovations Beyond the Screen

As part of its mobile marketing programming, ad:tech examined how brands are leveraging the rapid growth of the tablet market to engage their customers in a new channel.  “To be sure”, the ad:tech program describes, “tablets will be a hotbed of technological innovations with cool swipes, fly-ins and other gee-whiz bells and whistles.”  This panel asks what kinds of innovations brands and developers are creating “beyond those on the screen.”


Mike Yonker, VP/GM Mobile, Rockfish

Joy Robbins, VP of Digital Ad Sales, BBC Worldwide Americas

Brandon Berger, Chief Digital Officer, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

Brad Locke, Marketing Director, The Nutro Group

Kate Sirkin, Execuitve VP, Global Research Director, Starcom MediaVest Group

Technological evolution is essentially a disenfranchisement of previous ways of doing things.  Mike Yonker described this by sharing the story of an experiment of replacing a teen’s iPod with a Walkman for a week.  The youth was relieved that “the majority of technological development happened before” he was born.  Yonkers thought that he missed the point: while iPods are considered cutting edge today, in thirty years, they’ll be as archaic as the early cassette Walkmans.  Tablets like the iPad are disrupting (and disenfranchising) existing channels in areas as broad as in-store sales, video playback, gaming, and even cookbooks.

What’s most interesting about the tablet market evolution, in the opinion of Brandon Berger, is that it’s a global phenomenon.  Tablets have evolved as a dual-driven device, incorporating the power of the desktop computer with the multiple use cases and connectivity of a mobile phone.  When looking at how people use tablets, it’s crucial to look at how they use them in terms of time.  Tablets are an always-on, always accessible device, just like the smartphone.  Still, there are peak usage times (weekday evenings and weekend mornings) that brands and marketers can leverage.

In terms of the tablet environment, Berger asks how tablet usage can change the pitch environment.  You don’t need to plug in or boot up a computer to showcase data, and you can connect face-to-face while doing it.  They’re convenient, the data is consistent, and the information is available for sharing in real-time.

Brad Locke shared his views of tablet usage in terms of in-store leadership.  He described how Nutro has evolved from a company that could focus solely on face-to-face relationships and in-store presence to a multi-national, data-driven brand.  Pet food sales have been “a very analog environment”, with salespeople using printed material to sell to customers.  This is becoming archaic now that the customers are doing more research online before coming into the store.  Nutro is now leveraging tablets as support tools to help salespeople introduce who the company is through customizable information and rich content like video and infographs.


With these tablets, Nutro is seeing a higher level of engagement, they’re selling more, and they are getting stronger metrics about their customer interactions.  Finally, it helps them plan how to continue to reinvent the experience.  It’s critical to know your consumer’s needs, wants, and worries, as well as your brand’s purpose and point of difference.  Nutro is using tablet technology to define the intersection between customer and brand and to fortify their market competencies.  Locke believes that there is very little risk in testing such programs, and more importantly, it creates excitement to help ease in big ideas.

BBC and Starcom MediaVest have examined how tablet adoption has affected news consumption and how publishers can take advantage of the new channel to connect with readers.  Kate Sirkin explained the findings of their studies, focusing on how tablet consumers like to control their own consumption.  Appetite for news consumption is enhanced if users can read or watch at their own pace.  People buy tablets because they’re a cool thing, but then they widen their uses of the technology once they figure out what they can do.


The good news for news providers, according to Joy Robbins, is that tablets are making news more digestible, encouraging users to follow more news stories as well as a wider variety of stories.  While most tablet users download several apps, they tend to use only a few regularly; they tend to stick with those providers that they trust and those apps with which they are familiar.

  • Deniel

    Daniel Milstein

    That is so true  Kevin As an author and business man,I can relate to how you said
    “ad:tech 2011 – Tablet Marketing: Innovations Beyond the Screen”.
    I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about.

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