In its first year, in 2009, the MMA Forum Asia was broadly centered on technology, last year was on how to engage technology with the brands and the agencies, and this year consumer-centric engagement is in the limelight, with brands and agencies coming together to address the need to put consumers first when it comes to delivering value through their campaigns.

In the third year now, the Forum will once again see a stellar line-up of international speakers and cover topics of regional and global relevance, with more than 250 delegates and leading sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Ericsson, Google, and Microsoft Advertising.

According to Rohit Dadwal, MMA Asia Pacific MD, mobile demonstrates perfectly that consumer demand is driving the industry and not the other way around, “So, if consumers are driving it, their need would have to be valued from a handset perspective and a service perspective.”

Rohit DadwalIn its continuing efforts to encourage innovation in the industry, MMA has added two new components this year: The Pitch and The Mobile Experience Lab. Both are geared to help showcase upcoming mobile innovations and existing successful campaigns by entrepreneurs and industry pioneers.

The Pitch is a 50-minute session where six companies will get a chance to show off their mobile innovation, product or service by way of a six-minute on-stage demonstration. The idea is to encourage original concepts from the young, bright minds in the industry by providing visibility to their ideas in front of a focused and highly networked audience.

The Mobile Experience Lab, in turn, offers an interactive way for attendees to learn from mobile marketing innovators, observe successful mobile campaigns, and communicate with brands using mobile as a function of their integrated marketing strategy. Handpicked by a jury of industry peers, each mobile campaign station will offer a practical opportunity to experience the campaign from a consumer’s viewpoint.

Rohit explains: “We created this year an environment for innovation. What usually happens in conferences is that people like to hear what the big players are doing, what way the market is evolving, how the industry players within the ecosystem are evolving the marketplace, however, there are not a lot of places where you get to see the smaller companies or the innovative, cutting edge prototype kind of organisations who have great ideas but don’t get showcased. For that reason we came up with The Pitch and The Experience Lab. We intend to spur innovation, help motivate start-ups, provide a stage and more importantly define that these companies, products and services also need to have a voice and can sit at the big table with the big brands.”

Expect to see some engagement with the audience as well, such as polling for the best demo. In general, the engagement and learning that participants gain from each other will be invaluable. The call for entries is still open till 25 April, 2011, and announcement of the selected companies will only take place at the conference.

On closer inspection, 2011 is just continuing with last year’s theme, considering the byline of the conference which is “Consumers are mobile, are you?” The intention of MMA in asking such a pivotal question is to force the industry to reflect on whether they are really as mobile as their consumers are and to help trigger extraordinary debates during their event.

For the latest updates on the Forum, please visit: Mobile Marketing Association (Asia Pacific) or

By Daniela La Marca