Andy Hart
Posted on 6/30/2014

According to a study by the European Commission, less than 10 per cent of EU citizens use their mobile phone abroad in the same way they do at home. In an era where the smartphone plays a bigger role in our lives that almost anything else, roaming fees are an unwelcome complication for travellers. Arguably, they are even worse for the companies that want to sell them products and services. That’s why advertisers will be popping champagne corks this morning (July 1st) as the European Commission’s decision to slash prices on roaming calls and text by 21 per cent and 25 per cent respectively, and – more significantly – to cut data costs by a massive 55 per cent comes into effect.

It begs the question; how can advertisers capitalise on this opportunity?

Although brands are able to use the mobile channel to reach and engage customers prior to a trip, in the airport terminal and – since the EU has started to relax its rules on in-flight wi-fi and mobile usage – on the plane, that’s traditionally where the digital journey ends. However, as the steep drop in roaming data prices kicks in, and travellers start to consume 3G or 4G services more readily while abroad, a series of new ‘moments in time’ have opened up for the smart, savvy advertiser.

At Cannes we talked at length about helping advertisers be in ‘moments that matter’. A family holiday, a high-stakes business trip, a honeymoon or an industry event are all examples. With mobile such a key platform in the connected consumer journey – and new solutions like Microsoft’s ‘creative sequencing’ allowing brands to tell unfolding chapters of a story across multiple channels – today’s ruling represents a golden opportunity for advertisers to gain first mover advantage when targeting travellers.

Permit me a word of warning though.  Moments that matter, matter. Every time an advertiser chooses to participate in one, they’d better be sure they are offering genuine value to the consumer. In other words the opportunity isn’t justification in itself. Make sure you are crossing borders with your consumer, not lines. Brands must create beautiful experiences that surprise, delight, reward, enrich. Those that don’t will pay the price.

Read the full article in M&M Global here.


Andy Hart, VP, Advertising, Europe, Microsoft 

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