Being a perpetual learner, I’m always looking for new ideas and new ways to do things. As of late I’ve been immersed in mobile technology and the impact it’s having on the way people behave. This changing behaviour is at the precipice of a new age in instant marketing with Smartphone technology taking center stage.
The evolution of the Smartphone is catapulting the mobile Internet to new heights. According to the US research firm comScore, the Americans have seen a 111% increase in mobile Internet usage over the last year (2009 – 2010). Faster networks, smarter phones, mobile tablets and better browsing experiences are enabling the user to make decisions in the moment. The days of sitting at your computer and researching a decision are quickly coming to an end. People now have all the information they need in their pocket and are using it whenever a need pops into their mind.
Human behaviour is changing and as it does there will be a need to change how we market products and services. The following 7 items are mobile trends that are set to change the stage for marketers. Ignoring them may be bad for business.
- Geo-identification – Every marketer’s dream date is to develop a message that is relevant to the target audience and is delivered at the right time in the right location. Smartphones allow the marketer to find the location of the audience using Geo-identification and based on that location deliver a message relevant for that moment in time. This style of marketing is going to reduce the back channel noise created by all the broadcast ads and increase conversion rate by delivering information at the point in the decision process when it will have the most influence. Based on a pay-per-message model it will be cost effective and have a high ROI. Tom Cruise nailed this 8 years ago in his movie The Minority Report.
- Bar/QR Code Readers – Scanning bar and QR codes is now easy with a Smartphone and a Code reader app. All the user has to do is take a quick snapshot of the code and voila! they’re redirected to a web page or a video with all the information they need to make an informed decision. As Smartphones and code readers evolve more and more people are going to use them to get information when making purchasing decisions. We’re going to see these data mazes on everything over the next 2-3 years.
- MMS – Good bye SMS, hello Multimedia Messaging Services. This is the HTML email of text messages. You can send photos and videos with your 160 character messages. As marketers built their permission-based text messaging databases the growth of MMS enable phones will allow them to be more creative in the deliver of mobile messaging.
- Mobile Social Media – marketers are harnessing the power of Facebook and Twitter to provide new levels of service to consumers. Mobile social media applications will allow them to extend this offering making it easy for consumers to get answers wherever and whenever they need them.
Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla are redefining how people socialize with Geo-location. The future of these platforms will be built on a advertising model that will allow small business to target potential consumers based on their location. Check-in at a Starbucks and get 10% off their carrot cake when you buy a latte. Groupon is probably hard at work building an application that will allow them to leverage Geo-location so they can delivery coupons when people are on location.
- Mobile e-Commerce – with the help of bar/QR code readers the mobile device will bring a new meaning to e-Commerce and self-checkout. Some retailers currently have mobile applications designed to scan product codes and process electronic transactions in store, while your shopping, eliminating the need to stand in line at the checkout counter. You simply swipe the items you want, put them in your bag and show your receipt to the person at the door as you leave. Again, providing the consumer with the option to act in the moment at the point when they are making a decision.
- Mobile Search – the importance of mobile search engine optimization is going to get ramped up a notch as mobile Internet usage grows. Google’s stats show that mobile searches are often done within 4 hours of a purchase decision; whereas, desktop search is often 2-3 days. People are “Googling” items on their phones just before they buy. Having your website optimized for mobile search will ensure they can get to your site quickly when a little bit more information is needed to make the final decision.
- Behavourial Analytics (BA) – the next generation of measurement tools will allow marketers to study how people act and respond to different messages. BA is not a new form of measurement, there are lots of business who currently study behaviour on the web mapping anticipated outcomes. Mobile will make it easier for these tools to keep track of offline actions and tie them back to a unique person. The more we know about how people act, the easer it is to develop the right marketing message.