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Mobile industry
careers guide

Fancy a career in the mobile industry? We have all the knowledge and tips to help you become a mobile pro.




What is mobile?

"Mobile media agencies specialise in mobile marketing."

A recent study by Cisco Systems found that there are roughly 4.8 billion mobile phone users currently, and that number is expected to grow to close to 5.4 billion by 2020. This means that by 2020 there will probably be more mobile users than people with running water, electricity or a car. Mobile can not be ignored. Another study showed that by 2019 over a third of the global population will have a smartphone. Given the enormity of the mobile phone industry, brands are looking at specific marketing strategies geared to mobile phones to interact with customers and grow their business.

Since the release of the Apple iPhone in 2007, the technology behind mobile phones has developed rapidly. As a result specific mobile media agencies have sprung up which specialise in mobile phone marketing and are able to adapt and integrate new technologies. Mobile marketing opens up the possibilities of having time and location-specific, personalised marketing, offering brands a whole new channel and form of communication.

Social media and mobile marketing are closely linked because the majority of social media users use mobile phone apps to access those platforms. Mobile media personnel or organisations will work closely with a variety of other departments to ensure the correct content is created to convey the message as effectively as possible.

The mobile industry also includes the technical roles such as application developers and mobile technicians. These roles require coding knowledge and increasingly important and beneficial with app developers earning big salaries pretty quickly. The nature of the mobile industry means these roles are continually developing and growing - there is no better time to learn coding and get stuck into the mobile industry! On top of that, the mobile industry is expanding to include gadgets such as wearables and VR technologies, opening up a host of new opportunities. That these technologies are more recent than mobile phones means that the technologies in them are fresher and developing incredibly quickly, opening up job opportunities for developers and technicians.

How mobile works

Mobile media marketing encompasses a variety of different channels, all of which run through some form of personal mobile device. The different options range from SMS and in-app marketing to location-based services and in-app brand promotion. The former head of Coca-Cola marketing, Wendy Clark, once said “If your plans don’t include mobile, your plans are not finished”. Evidently mobile is very much the ‘thing’ of the moment and all types of businesses are jumping on the mobile media wagon, from local start-ups to multinational companies.

Why mobile media? Simply put, the mobile phone is the single item which connects the most amount of people globally. Mobile is no more a thing of the future, it is very much the here and now and it is set to stay. Businesses can capitalise on the widespread use of mobile phones in combination with in-app technologies and location services to target consumers. Mobile media marketing strategies vary in type and will be tied into the wider marketing strategy of the company. A lot of marketing strategies these days will integrate mobile media, however certain businesses will have specialists in mobile/app development or may look to external agencies.

App design and development is a fast-growing industry and requires people to programme mobile phone applications using specific software. The two most popular mobile device brands are Apple and Google meaning that businesses looking to create an app for their business often will have applications available on both platforms. The two companies have their own operating systems - iOS and Android - which each require a different form of programming language, iOS uses Objective C whilst Android requires Java. Application budgets range from a few thousand pounds to millions of pounds depending on the content, ambitions and purpose of the applications. Businesses may have in-house app developers or they will consult with external developers to plan and execute the app which best suits their business.

Mobile marketing personnel and app developers rely on mobile technology and are constantly having to renew their ideas as technology evolves. Therefore, jobs in the mobile technology sector are at the very frontline of technological innovation. These jobs are for people with a computer science background and programming skills and an interest in development and progress in the industry. The fast-changing nature of the mobile tech industry means these people will constantly be refreshing and refining their skills and be at the forefront of the continuing digital revolution. In the past few years, VR technologies have achieved a spectacular rise in popularity. The release of Google Cardboard in 2014 offered a financially viable, usable VR experience for smartphone users. As a result, companies are looking to enter into the VR industry meaning there are lots of exciting job opportunities.




Mobile examples

  • 02 Priortity Moments
    02 Mobile (Campaign)

  • Audi start-stop app
    Audi, Android & Google (Mobile App)

  • New York Times VR
    New York Times & Vrse.works, 2016 (VR App/Film)

Jobs in mobile

Within the mobile technology industry there are three main sectors which are suited to people holding a variety of different skills and experience. Mobile marketing comprises similar jobs to the marketing/advertising industries - there may be account handlers, planners and creatives. On the other side of the spectrum are app developers who programme mobile phone apps and mobile technicians who deal with the development and creation of the technologies which make mobile phones.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing often falls within the general marketing team in a company, especially as the majority of campaigns nowadays will include elements of mobile output. However, many companies are opening up specific digital and mobile roles to deal with the ever-growing nature of those industries. Media planners will often be in charge of selecting the relevant media outputs for a marketing strategy and will have to have knowledge of the mobile media industry. Sometimes called ‘media planners and/or buyers’, these people select and negotiate the best possible rates for their clients from media suppliers. Another aspect of mobile marketing is the creative side - the majority of creatives in the advertising industry will be aware of and integrate mobile media into their proposals. Some digital agencies specialise in mobile marketing and will have creatives who focus on developing and producing the most effective mobile marketing ideas.

Mobile Planner

This entails sourcing and selecting the best media outputs for a client’s brand to use in the marketing strategies. Often involves negotiating the purchase of media space to get the best deal for the client. Contacting app developers and negotiating a deal would entail combining the traditional media planning role with the mobile marketing industry.

Skills required:

  • Negotiating
  • Media research knowledge
  • Digital/social/mobile advertising savvy
  • Adaptability
  • Excellent communication

Roles:

  • Media Planner/Buyer
    £18k to £25k
  • Media Planning Manager
    £30k to £40k
  • Mobile Strategist
    £35k to £45k
  • Product Owner
    £25k to £35k


App Developer

App developers understand coding languages and combine that with a creative edge in order to develop useful and usable applications for clients and customers. App developers often work in teams and advertising agencies will usually outsource app development, unless they have in-house teams. Being able to use coding language is a prerequisite for these positions.

Skills required:

  • Coding language competency
  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Analytical skills
  • Communication

Roles:

  • App Developer
    £40k to £50k
  • Product Design
    £20k to £30k
  • Head of Product Design
    £40k to £50k


User Experience

A user experience (UX) designer is tasked with the process of monitoring and improving how a user and a product interact. Using a variety of techniques and analysis UX designers will make sure the usability and enjoyment of a product - such as a mobile phone, an application or an integrated campaign using various mobile platforms.

Skills required:

  • Analytical skills
  • UX Design Software Competency
  • Idea Creation
  • Brand awareness

Roles:

  • UX Designer
    £35k to £45k

Virtual Reality

VR has taken the creative industries by storm forcing business and agencies alike to sit up and take notice. Having a marketing strategy which incorporates elements of VR can make a business look incredibly progressive. VR also allows businesses with the perfect opportunity for customer interaction by making them experience something, such as wearing a VR headset. VR development is closely linked with product design however VR technology is somewhat different to mobile technologies.

Skills required:

  • Graphics programming
  • Software development kit (SDK) competency
  • Creativity
  • Film/sound direction/editing

Roles:

  • VR Developer
    £20k to £30k

Technical

Mobile technicians will be working with the latest technology to develop new software and products in the mobile industry. As well as working with existing technologies, they may be at the front of technological change by creating new technology. Either way, they will need to be flexible and adaptable because technological change is developing rapidly.

Skills required:

  • Product knowledge (modern tech)
  • Soldering skills
  • Adaptability
  • Time management
  • Problem solving

Roles:

  • Mobile Technician
    £20k to £25k
  • Mobile Engingeer
    £25k to £40k
  • Senior Engineer
    £40k to £60k



Mobile companies

A host of different agencies specialise in mobile media, either from a marketing point-of-view, or specialising in app development or even mobile technologies.

  • Saatchi Mobile
  • Somo Global
  • Fetch
  • Locassa
  • Nice
  • Within
  • The App Business
  • Monetise Create



  • “Mobile First” by Luke Wroblewski
  • “iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide” by Christian Keur, Aaron Hillegass & Joe Conway
  • “Mobile Marketing: Finding Your Customers No Matter Where They Are” by Cindy Krum
  • “The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly” by David Meerman Scott
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