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Mobile Magic: A Book Review
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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We had the pleasure of being asked to review Tom Eslinger's Mobile Magic: The Saatchi & Saatchi Guide to Mobile Marketing to help our readers either decide to get the book, or to glean certain bits of information that we thought was beneficial.

Mr. Eslinger is Saatchi's Worldwide Director of Digital and Social, so if anyone had the credentials to write this kind of book, he would. As fans of the study of rhetoric and persuasion, we enjoyed the very beginning of the book. Eslinger described how he was on the forefront of the whole digital and mobile movement with clients in New Zealand, years before the American industry started to take it seriously.

If anyone studied Aristotle's Rhetoric, one would know that ethos, or the character of the speaker/writer, is the most important element in an argument. He won us over with his "first mover advantage" story, and we were happy to give our poetic faith and see openly what he had to say.

What We Liked

The Layout
We enjoyed the sleek layout of the book. Thankfully, this isn't a drawn-out, long-winded piece of jumbled ideas. One who has literally no idea about mobile marketing could read it from cover to cover and actually leave with a basic understanding. Granted, it will take practice and a great team to implement the concepts Eslinger advocates, but at least one would leave with a starting point.

The "Five Things To Do Right Now"-
If you've ever been through an agency meeting, the most annoying meetings are those without action items or takeaways. The same with thought papers and industry books; after they wow you with information, if there aren't pieces of application, one will forget. After every chapter, Eslinger provides action items for the reader to do in order to take the information to heart. It is a guide; after all, a guide without directions would be pretty pointless. Thankfully Eslinger knew that. 

Chapter 6: Marketer, Know Thyself (And Thy Audience)! Five Things (paraphrased)
1. Keep an eye on trends before jumping right into them. Take the time to make an informed decision
2. Bring in your marketing team to decide on the brand's persona and the brand voice
3. The people in charge of putting the messages out need to be able to join topical conversations in brand voice and persona to get new audiences
4. Invest in digital and social media personnel; don't rely on interns; it's a job, not a summer gig
5. Create a brand playbook; the guidelines aren't restrictive, but they help keep the brand voice, look, and feel consistent amongst channels

The Emphasis on Testing
We realize the time crunch product and brand managers have when it comes to delivering results. But Eslinger, throughout the book, emphasizes researching trends and memes, taking time to see if certain channels are right for the brand, experimenting with mobile shopping, using different brands and apps as benchmarks, and not being afraid to bring a team together to decide what was good, what was bad, and how they can improve them both.

Success depends the amount of quality research and testing before actual launch. Why the pushback on research continues to be around is beyond our understanding.

Planned Obsolescence
The joy of reading the musings from people who actually know what they're talking about is the reality of the futility of campaigns and activities. Sometimes it's time to just shut it down and move on. We see time and time again marketers trying to use trends and marketing elements that are way past their expiration dates. The same applies to mobile; many campaigns on mobile will have a date to end. And that's okay.

What We're on the Fence About

We'd be the first to say that we've always been big fans of Saatchi & Saatchi. Yes, when we were bright-eyed college pre-professionals, our dream job consisted of being a marketing manager for Burson-Marstellar or a marketing scientist for Saatchi & Saatchi. 

But that doesn't mean we come with no criticism.

Kevin Roberts, the Worldwide CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi and the writer of the Foreword for Mobile Magic, wrote a book several years ago called Lovemarks. Lovemarks, Roberts claims, will be the next evolution for brands. We appreciate the concept that lovemarks are those companies with both high love and high respect from consumers, while brands only receive high respect. We agree that certain brands hold spots in people's consideration sets better than others, but in the realm of consumer behavior, the jury is still out on the formula. Roberts and Eslinger advocate for the formula of:

Mystery + Sensuality + Intimacy = Lovemarks. 

We believe their formula can be more easily described as: the story + the interaction + the experience.

Either way, we think it simplifies the way brands influence and communicate with the consumer to a fault. Perhaps we're just being picky. It's an interesting idea, but the heavy emphasis on Lovemarks in Mobile Magic encouraged us to do further research on the success of the formula. And we're on the fence. If the point is to spark debate and lead others to explore the interaction, then we hope it works.

Overall Impression

In the age of blogs, webinars, and e-marketing tutorials, nothing beats a good book with good writing and clear takeaways. 

In short, we liked it.

Yes, we caught some elements in it we can use in our classroom. It's insightful, intelligent, and yet reachable for the small business owner to the brand manager in a Fortune 500 company. 


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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