I’m at an event, ‘Winning the Race: Chasing the Money in Decade 2’, organized by Results International, a corporate finance and consulting business specialising in marketing communications and digital media. Currently, we have a panel debate involving Howard Furr-Barton, ex-MD of online marketing agency Brand Attention, but now Head of Mobile at below the line agency Baber Smith, and Barry Houlihan, CEO of Mobile Interactive Group.
They are talking about winners and losers in the media world, and Furr-Barton is proclaiming NFC payments and 2D barcodes as winners, with some passion, telling the audience that mobile is such a big pond, he can’t believe there are not more brands swimming in it.
He’s just scanned a barcode on a bottle of Marks & Spencer fruit juice to show the delegates, who include some agency people, but also a lot of finance types, how it takes you through to the M&S mobile site. I didn’t hear any gasps, but I think some in the audience, at least, were impressed. Haven’t had chance to ask yet how big a deal it is that most people don’t have the necessary barcode reader on their phones, but hopefully, will do so later.
Houlihan is talking about the “massive opportunity” for mobile payments, so long as the operators embrace it. Oh well. Asked about mobile advertising, he said the last year has been fairly flat for display advertising, but said things are picking up, adding: “The AdMob Google transaction has caused a few backsides to shift in a few boardrooms.”
Actually, just asked that question and Furr-Barton conceded that it is an issue:
“In excess of half the audience can scan barcodes and don’t know about it,” he said. A show of hands in response to the question: ‘How many people in the room know whether their phone can scan barcodes?’ saw around 10 hands raised out of a room of around 80-90 people.
The debate has moved on now; they’re not even talking about mobile. But this is a very well-attended event and it’s great to see mobile given such a prominent profile in it.