Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell Calls Mobile Apps A 'Holy Grail' For Marketers

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 15, 2011

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, the world's largest advertising and marketing group, is a keen advocate of the power of mobile apps to help marketers better target consumers.

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in a talk titled "The Power of Apps" Mr Sorrell said that apps had become very important for marketers.

Stuart Dredge, reporting for The Guardian newspaper: WPP's Sorrell hails the power of apps

"Apps are a classic example of this shift from broadcast to multifaceted engagement," he said. "They enable brands to connect with consumers at numerous touchpoints, whether at home or in the shops ... It opens a lot of opportunities for our clients, but also challenges."

His mention of shops was deliberate, for Sorrell said WPP sees huge potential for retailers and consumer brands for apps that tap into location and commerce. "Location targeting is the holy grail that we as advisers on behalf of our clients are looking for," he said.

Mr Sorrell admitted that the last time he was at the conference he had missed forecasting the importance of apps.

"We warned at the time that if the networks and handset manufacturers didn't get together, somebody would push them together," he told the audience during a keynote speech this afternoon. "We identified Google at that time, but we frankly didn't see the Apple revolution coming."

However, there is considerable disagreement about mobile apps versus mobile web sites. Critics of mobile apps say that consumers won't want to carry large numbers of mobile apps on their phones. Keeping such large numbers of apps updated, and then trying to find the right one to interact with retailers, is not a feasible retail strategy.

He defended mobile apps, saying that they were not "an evolutionary dead end."

"It is likely that mobile apps will be the fat part of the curve in terms of usage, whereas the mobile Internet will be the long tail," said Sorrell.

Read more here: WPP's Sorrell hails the power of apps | Technology |

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