PMG Digital Made for Humans

Rethinking "WIIFM" to Drive More Mobile Revenue

3 MINUTE READ | October 15, 2013

Rethinking "WIIFM" to Drive More Mobile Revenue

Author's headshot

David Gong

With PMG since 2012, David Gong has led marketing initiatives at PMG, drawing on his past experience at agencies, publishers, and industry partners.


WIIFM stands for What’s In It For Me? This is a question that most companies and individuals ask themselves when evaluating opportunities, and naturally so. Too many companies, however, aren’t asking that question appropriately when it comes to mobile. Misaligned benefits between teams is causing advertisers to miss significant opportunity in the rapidly expanding channel.

Look Back to Look Ahead – A History Lesson

Let’s first review what happened when e-commerce first came, well, online. Retailers understandably felt compelled to protect their brick-and-mortar investments, but also wanted growth from online sales. Costs were more efficient, and distribution significantly broader, in that channel. Back then, there typically were two distinct teams that had separate P&Ls managing their respective online/offline channels.

These teams were not inclined to help one another (e.g., a geo-targeted paid search ad to drive in-store traffic during a sale) simply because there was no good reason they thought of when they asked WIIFM. Never mind that tighter channel integration was good for the company as a whole – more revenue and less waste.

The teams, and the employees within those teams, had few incentives because each P&L was scrutinized separate from one another. Consumer consideration initiated by their channel that led to a purchase in another gave them zero credit in the eyes of the attribution gods. They would incur cost, but revenue would be credited elsewhere.

Déjà vu All Over Again?

Fast forward to today, and many companies have learned the wisdom of giving credit where credit’s due when it comes to store/online integration. However, similar mistakes are now being made in mobile, and that’s a big reason why mobile adoption hasn’t been as strong as it could and should be.

Today, many marketers find themselves in one of two situations – they either outsource to a digital agency and a mobile agency, or they have a single agency/internal team handling both mobile and online. In both scenarios, the online and mobile channels usually have discrete goals and are usually measured and judged separate of one another.

Hmm – two channels that have increasing interplay between one another, but are seen as silos when it comes to financial reporting. Do you see where this is going?

Avoid Yesterday’s Mistakes Today

The experience of marrying store and online revealed to us how the larger WIIFM benefits for the company outweigh fiefdom-like accounting at the channel level. Marketers thus need to enable their teams (whether they be separate agencies or just sit at different pods in the same office) to have a good answer when they ask, at their level, WIIFM.

Run the calculations to determine the lifecycle value of a lead generated in one channel vs. another. Otherwise, it’s a losing proposition from the get-go for mobile. The fact is that while many people shop and do research in mobile today, a disproportionate amount “close the deal” on their laptops or desktops. If the mobile team is rewarded only for mobile conversions, then why should they integrate? They wouldn’t, since WIIFM is nothing but benefits for others.

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Attribute the value generated by mobile that’s realized in other channels when reviewing mobile’s performance. There are myriad ways of doing that, even if you’re not yet working with a vendor that helps with cross-device attribution. At the most basic level, see if total revenue and conversions increase once mobile was layered into the plan. Obviously, that’s only a first step, but no step is easier in the process to align team goals to match company-level goals.

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