Why It Matters by Tim Hayden.
With recent new product announcements from major smartphone manufacturers and rumors abound for surprise market entrants (Amazon, really?), no one can deny that desktop computing will one day go the way of the dinosaur. (Thinking about that, isn’t it funny that ostriches, alligators and lizards survived all this time in a smaller, more “mobile” physical form?)
While topics like the size of a device are what catch most of the headlines, all too often marketers overlook- and need to respect- how mobility is a game-changer for consumer behavior.
Here are five things to keep in mind as more of the world goes mobile:
1. Engaging the Offline World:
The “offline” physical world, including traditional media (print, outdoor, broadcast), is one of the major catalysts to mobile engagement. Much of mobile search, and the ensuing mobile web (sometime apps) experience, starts with media and messaging seen on television, in-store, in magazines and on billboards (in that order of declining frequency). So much of what is existing, that we already do today, should be seen as a responsibility to compel the audience to pull out her/his phone and engage the message in front of them…better yet, physically act upon that message!
2. Communicate via Text:
The mobile channel is as much an intimate medium as it is a social medium. Response rates for text messaging dwarf those of social media and email, and there is no greater use of smartphones than in sending these private SMS/MMS messages to our friends and family. If we aren’t allowing consumers to opt-in for such notifications like updates, deals and other communication, we are ignoring the most direct channel we have to reach them.
3. A Picture Tells a Thousand Words:
Ever wonder why Facebook has made photos larger on the mobile app/web version of the network? Don’t forget, there’s a camera on board that smartphone. The rise of supply-side applications such as Instagram, Path and Foursquare is being fueled primarily by photo sharing to relate a visual story, rather than text. This presents a challenge to traditional social listening (“Yum! [pic]”, “Look at this! [photo]”…), while giving community managers a stronger weapon to engage community members with visual-storytelling.
4. The Smartphone is Still a Phone:
Did we forget that the smartphone is STILL A PHONE? Within apps and on mobile websites, sometimes the simplest tactic to convert a visitor to a customer is to include a “Click-to-Call” button and/or ensure there is a phone number on each mobile web page. The moment that someone lands on a mobile web page is brief. If the information is not found immediately, a phone call may be the next best thing to engage a would-be-customer or purchase.
5. Brevity Rules the “Mobile Moment”:
Since the majority of the cell phone-owning world is carrying a smartphone, we must account for what the liberation from the desktop means. We have better things to do, places to go and people to see. It is illegal in almost every state (U.S.) to look at/touch your phone while driving. Mobile is a busy place— with apps, SMS texts, email, photos—and we have to compete with a sea of options that vie for our time. We can expect that social media attention will decline, as the screen is not just smaller, but the moments we look at it are briefer. Or, as Microsoft labels, “glance and go” behavior is the new norm, not sustained attention in a tabbed browsing environment.
Saddle up, team, and think mobile behavior before mobile technology. The age of mobility is dawning and brings with it a series of respective revivals and arrivals of old and new media. Some exciting announcements for how Edelman sells, plans and fulfills the needs to address this new world are just weeks away. Our lives are going mobile, and so must we.
Businesswomen walking photo courtesy of BigStock.