Mobile Saturday at SXSW Panel Preview: Economic Realities — Ad Blocking & Consumer Control

In anticipation of our March 12 Mobile Saturday event at SXSW, we’re spotlighting our speakers, their panels and discussion topics for the day.

Mobile is our most personal screen, and has been for quite some time. As such, consumers want more control of what they see and when, leading to technologies like ad blocking — which experts like Doc Searles call the largest boycott of anything in human history. So how do successful brands balance consumer control with getting their message across?

Join us for “Economic Realities: Ad Blocking and Consumer Control,” to hear discussion and recommendations on how to thrive in a world where consumers hold all the power in the palm of their hands. Hosted by Mobile Saturday alumna, Arlie Sisson, vice president of emerging products at Condé Nast, this panel will discuss the current environment, trends and mindsets that make it clear you can’t rely on old-age tactics.

The experts will discuss how advertisers, marketers, brands and publishers are tackling challenges and seizing new opportunities in mobile. Panelists include:

We asked Kunal (KM) and Merrill (MB) to answer a few questions about their own mobile engagement perspectives to help set the stage.

What mobile developments or trends are you most excited or concerned about?
KM: I continue to look forward to more wide-scale mobile wallet solutions. I think it’s a simple, but incredibly impactful trend in how we live our day-to-day lives. My only concern? That we’ll continue calling every year “the year of mobile” … someone please put an end to the madness.

If you could only bring three things with you on a month long trip, what would they be and why?
MB: Tablet, good sports shoes and ibuprofen. The device is for reading and staying up-to-date. Shoes for lots of walking, etc. And Ibuprofen for aching knees.

How do you stay up-to-date within a quickly changing industry? Is there a particular LinkedIn group, blog/website, other online community or physical event that you’ve found particularly helpful?
KM: Honestly, I’m a little old school. There are a lot of great blogs and online communities and websites – but I find that they tend to all communicate one general view of the world/industry. The best way I stay in touch is by talking to people, and particularly younger people. How are they using technology, what are they looking forward to, what frustrations do they have, etc. It keeps me connected — not just to the capability of tech, but the consumer expectation of it, which is much more compelling.

Do you have a few nuggets of general advice for companies embarking on mobile initiatives?
MB: Always try to capitalize on geography. Imagine users in constant transit. Make access to navigational components very, very intuitive.

KM: Remember that “mobile” initiatives, are really just “good consumer experience” initiatives. They shouldn’t feel disconnected from everything else you’re doing, and are not innovation projects. They should be core to your customer experience. And lastly, remember to think through a native app AND mobile web strategy.

If you’re in Austin, TX for SXSW Interactive on March 12, come join our fourth year of mobile magic! We’ll be just a block away from the Convention Center at the Courtyard Austin Downtown.

To learn more about our other panels and our Mobile Saturday event, check out our Mobile Saturday @ SXSW event page and sign up for updates. During the event, we’ll be sharing insights from @urbanairship using #MobileSat on Twitter. And be sure to check back for post-event content!