From creating an ‘always-on’ mentality in consumers to impacting on the traditional retail experience forever, how is mobile changing the world? The Drum put this question to a cross-section of those operating in the mobile space.
Anthony Diver, director, Mosquito
Mobile is not only changing how we access information, it is technically enabling consumers to be ‘always connected’. For the first time we can truly run businesses, organise socials, transfer money and learn remotely, anywhere. We’re no longer lost due to GPS, we can compare products at point of sale and involve our friends to help choose the right product; from a car to the best mascara – all in real time. This real time engagement is a huge opportunity for brands and marketers to reach consumers, however how and when consumers are reached can make or break a marketing campaign.
With the ‘always connected’ generation, brands must recognise the communication strategy needs to move away from reaching consumers when they are technically available, but rather when consumers are behaviourally ready to engage with a brand. We are in the infancy of embracing the true power of mobile and very few brands are utilising the full extent of mobile engagement. Approximately 50 per cent of users connecting with Facebook access the service via mobile, however on a daily basis consumers see very little location enabled marketing activity; brands aren’t capturing consumers at point of sale or within their territory. Mobile devices are on and used 24/7 in airports, waiting rooms, shopping centres, restaurants. However, despite of this opportunity, we still see many brands develop apps and social pages without a strategy and in turn they are perceived to be nothing more than a vanity project; often used once and left to clutter the user’s screen.
Brands must embrace the seismic shift from traditional interruptive short–term messaging and embrace a long term relationship with their target communities. Community engagement was widely evident from the impressive stats reported by London 2012: mobile communities engaged with Olympic content across 155 countries via the official app, along with 4.7 million social followers. With the success of Britain and Northern Ireland’s achievements, British Rowing report the download for their app increased by 400 per cent. Although an acute example, it demonstrates how globally adopted mobile has become and the power of having the right mobile and social strategy.
Mobile has transposed consumer behaviour from being passive to engaged and connected; presenting the opportunity for brands to be more targeted, resourceful and measurable. The behavioural shift of both consumer and brand is significant; brand communication and engagement now targets a community – not an audience. If brands can adapt as quickly as the consumer does, they will gain trust by delivering to consumer expectation and reap the rewards though a long-term engaged community.
Matt Clark, principal consultant, Amaze
Mobile commerce is a cross-over phenomenon, with online and offline buying patterns meshing with one another and the mobile device acting as an anchor. Leading m-commerce retailers tailor their strategies to help track, map and understand this fluid set of shopping behaviours across real and digital boundaries.
The evolutionary path of a successful m-commerce brand is typified by an initial period of learning, followed by a focused growth in the diversity, sophistication and strength of its mobile presence. It starts with straight selling, but that’s already a crowded arena in which to stand out. The leading operations are well into the next cycle, prioritising research-led optimisation, m-commerce service and loyalty strategies and the diversification of their mobile properties. A successful m-commerce strategy commits significant resources in placing a brand and its products into positions of relevance across every touch-point of the modern consumer’s crossover buying path.
Ilicco Elia, head of mobile, LBi
Mobile is about to get much bigger. The next billion people will come online in the next few years and the majority of them will be connecting via a mobile device rather than on a desktop.
Mobile will also bring your physical and digital existence closer together. Portable devices – be they phones or tablets or something new – are increasingly aware of your surroundings in a way that desktop computers can’t usefully be. Your phone knows where you are, can recognise North, can tell the time, but imagine a phone that knows when it’s dark, reacts to noises, recognises colours, responds to temperature, a small device that knows what you’re doing, who you’re with and how much you paid to do it.
Mobile has already changed the world for many of us. We’ve gone from a world where instant communication is sporadic and the preserve of a few, to a world where most of us can communicate with almost anyone else on the planet, at almost any time. This has profound implications for health, education, governments, entertainment, commerce; almost everything we do.
Hannah Giles, assistant marketing manager, Esendex
The mobile device, a gadget that we check hundreds of times each day, is changing the way we work, live and play. It’s smart and considered an always on, always connected channel. It’s also the most personal item that we carry around with us at all times: even when we’re cooking or watching TV, we will continue to multitask and attend to our mobiles.
The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has stated that there are more mobile phones in the world than there are toothbrushes. Some might say that their mobile is becoming as important as food, air and water.
Apps, NFC and mobile payments are the words on everyone’s lips at the moment but the real contender is SMS – it’s hard to find someone nowadays who doesn’t know what SMS is or has never sent a message before. The Olympics has shown how much SMS has changed how quickly we share our thoughts. Sybase says that there was a 137 per cent increase in SMS traffic as the Parade of Nations entered the stadium, featuring all the countries competing at the Games. There was also a 40 per cent spike in SMS activity when the ‘Queen’ parachuted from the helicopter ahead of James Bond during the Opening Ceremony.
SMS is also reshaping organisational communication all over the globe – in unexpected ways. Emergency SMS, for example, is being used to alert and prepare people when dangerous weather conditions are approaching. But it’s not just people that are benefitting from SMS. Swiss biologists are currently testing a collar wolf- warning device that detects heart rate changes and alerts shepherds of attacks via text message. Who would have thought sheep would be sending SMS?
Bryan Gullan, head of digital development, Heehaw Digital
Recent years have seen an astounding increase in mobile usage. A recent report by the World Bank illustrates that mobile phone usage has spread globally faster than any other technology, now with more than six billion subscriptions worldwide.
One of the most noticeable impacts has to be that on shoppers’ behaviour. You’ve probably seen people standing in shops, checking prices online. Indeed, there are apps to scan barcodes and speed this up. Physical stores have to deal with this new ability to check prices, but getting someone through the door in the first place is half the battle. Ultimately, make a shopper’s experience a good one and they’ll be more likely to buy from you; many will even be willing, to a degree, to pay a small premium for the fact that they can have the product now.
Some stores have explored ways to enhance the in-store experience with mobile. For example, John Lewis has QR codes on the price signs for certain products so that you can access more detailed information. Others are offering things like payment via mobile or ordering of something in a different size.
With 75 per cent of travellers using a mobile device while on the move, many people no longer rely on a guide book and prior research.
We’re seeing increased use of things like QR codes at tourist attractions. For example, the National Museum of Scotland has QR codes to allow visitors to load audio tracks and further information about key exhibits. It’s not just tourism, though: every time I’m in London I find myself using Tube Deluxe on my phone to check tube status and departures, and in my home town the Edinbus app is great for getting to the bus stop at just the right moment.
Garry Partington, CEO, Apadmi
How is mobile changing the world? For retailers and business owners, it’s now possible to know far more about their customers. For mobile phone users it’s becoming increasingly convenient to do things on the move – ordering a card from Moonpig when you’ve forgotten your anniversary, keeping track of your bank balance, or keeping in touch with friends on Facebook or Twitter. None of this is particularly new, but everything is becoming easier and more pervasive. As users, we are now carrying the storefront for our favourite retailers and everything our friends have been doing recently in a single device that is always with us.
The mobile phone is an inseparable part of many people’s lives, but is this a blessing or a curse? On the one hand we are always connected, on the other we rarely focus on one thing. With the advent of ever more aggressive methods for getting mobile-device users’ attention, there’s an increase in indiscriminate and unwelcome noise. In certain areas it’s impossible to walk past a bar or restaurant without receiving adverts directly to your mobile – is that really what end users want? Given all the advantages of being mobile, is this simply a price that we have to pay – the junk-mail equivalent for the mobile world?
It’s easy to point to some real-world examples of how mobile has changed the world on a global scale – capturing and uploading video in close to real-time is a powerful force for openness and accountability. But this in itself raises issues of privacy and even personal safety.
On all scales, mobile is changing the way we behave, but it’s fundamentally not changing behaviour – it simply makes what we always did, much easier and quicker.
Simon Mackenzie, senior planner, STEAK
The internet changed the world. Mobile devices are accelerating that, and have the potential to fulfil its promise. It’s especially exciting to think how much it could drive change and innovation in the developing world, where millions have internet access for the first time as a result.
What about the world of brands? Crucial is understanding cross- device behaviour better and engineering ways to get a single view of the customer. Look at Amazon: while we fret about tracking solutions and voucher systems, they win by making logging in the obvious thing to do. That’s just providing a great online experience, optimised for the use-case.
Most of all we need to recognise that mobile is a quiet kind of revolution. Stop looking for elusive whizz-bang mobile ad solutions, and start focusing on the utility and content people want. That may take a change in mind-set for some, but it will be worth it.
Mobile image via Shutterstock