Firstly, don’t think of your mobile as just a phone, think of it as your mini 24/7 computer, as with the right device, you can be connected anytime, anywhere. Now some people might see this as an invasion of privacy and a bit big brotherish, but you can’t get way from the fact that mobile will be the future of our online world.
I’ve been chatting with a couple of well known experts in the world of mobile – the two Jennifer’s that run the popular Swedish Beer mobile networking nights. Jen Wilson, director of The Project Factory, a digital media productions and cross-platform narratives consultancy says “the important thing to understand is how prevalent mobile is” It’s with us 24 hours a day, it’s with us on the way to work, during work, whilst we shop, at the restaurant, the pub, soccer practice, in the garden, and some people even sleep with it. “so being connected 24/7 allows business to reach their consumer when they are doing other things, often even when they are engaged with other content – such as watching TV or on the internet. Now that’s an amazing connection and never before has a medium allowed such an intimate relationship with their customer.”
There’s a bit of a misconception in the market though as some people think that it’s just the web viewed from a mobile device, which it sort of is but as Wilson says “you can’t just build a website and expect it to be mobile compatible. Obvious reasons, the navigation is very different on a mobile compared to a pc, secondly the site needs to be rendered very differently for the smaller mobile screen.” So this is where size matters!
Jen also says “Serving an ad on a mobile is very different from ads on websites. On the mobile, the consumer can immediately respond using click to call. Similarly, using sms shortcode or QRcodes, the consumer has the ability to take your message away with them on their handset and react to it at a later stage. Now, that’s a really unique experience to mobile which you wouldn’t find on the web.”
Jennifer Hiley of Hyperfactory, a specialist mobile integration and brand agency agrees that “so many businesses are using mobile as part of their integrated campaign these days as it’s such an effective way of connecting with your customers in an intimate way.”
We got chatting about industry stats and you might be interested to know that there are almost 22 million hand sets in Australia and roughly 9 million of these are 3G enabled, which is more than there is fixed broadband connections to the Australian home. What’s 3G? it means you have broadband access to your phone, which means your phone becomes a smartphone as you can use it as your voice and data connection.
So you can see how big this mobile thing can be. Most businesses have a website these days and I bet a lot of small business websites aren’t really mobile compatible but if the reach of mobile is much more than the connection to a desktop, you can start to see the absolute relevance of mobile marketing and how you can connect to your consumer beyond what you’re doing now. We were talking about does that mean the WWW is dead? “No way” says Hiley “mobile is the real world wide web.” And Wilson agrees “Web 3.0 includes the idea of the ‘ubiquitous, portable web’ so in some ways, the mobile is the future of the web, not a poor cousin.”
There are some issues that we face in achieving critical mass though - Hiley says “although the consumer is much more savvy these days, we do face issues in mass adoption due to Telco data plans being expensive and confusing.” A lot of consumers don’t know whether they are browsing on or off deck, in fact a lot of consumers wouldn’t entirely know what that means! On deck is connecting with carrier portals such as Telstra, Optus and off deck is mobile internet anywhere. The confusing bit is what do you get charged for but that’s another story?
So why all the hype about mobile marketing, what’s so different about it from what we do online now? Hiley says “it allows consumers to interact with your brand in an intimate way. For example you can send targeted marketing material with an sms call to action, you may create a rewards programme, creating a dialogue with your customers through sms or mms alerts, you can create a database, you can build clever applications that sit on your customers phones that offer many services from general info about shops, rewards and vouchers to joining a forum.
“Mobile is about delivering byte size chunks of information that are relevant to you, and that allow you to respond instantly. It’s a very different environment from accessing the web from an 18” screen.”
Also Wilson says “consumers these days are more and more curious about what the mobile phone can do for them and businesses are starting to realise that mobile is one of their greatest connections to their consumer.”
So words of wisdom – don’t worry if you haven’t jumped on the band wagon yet as we’re not quite there with consumer mass adoption but you should seriously give consideration to how you can use mobile as part of your marketing strategy. An interesting place to learn more is through the likes of AIMIA www.aimia.com.au and MOMO, the Mobile Monday www.mobilemondaysydney.com (they run them across Australia).