The journey of transport is a rapidly evolving one; as quickly as the car replaced the horse and carriage and the plane advanced the ferry, we are seeing the devices we rely on adapt to an increasingly tech-savvy society.
Ordering food at the click of a button, requesting a cab at a desired time and even locating co-ordinates of moving vehicles, are just a few of the advantages of mobility service currently in use. Immediate service is something we rely on and the use of our cars, although still in demand, are becoming an inferior alternative; as the number of cars being leased on finance increases and the popularity of personalised services such as Uber become more popular, it becomes easier to picture a world run on Mobility as Service.
Clarity, an integrated marketing agency which specialises in automotive, put together The Journey to Mobility on Demand – a Whitepaper which discusses the developments of autonomous transport and how it will affect our society’s function. Developed organically through different projects, the Whitepaper explains the workings of the rise of this evolution in a digestible format.
Speaking to The Drum, Clarity explains some key facts about this technology and how it is likely to change the marketing world:
What is Mobility on Demand?
New technology is starting to creep into the market in less obvious ways. Most of us have used an Uber at some point and the introduction of vehicle sharing and vehicle clubs has given urban drivers options when it comes to owning or accessing a vehicle. There is also a generation of people who are less likely to learn to drive and have a less emotional connection to owning a vehicle.
The adoption of autonomous driving technology will be the event that triggers an irreversible paradigm shift in the automotive world. A vehicle that drives itself but because it unlocks the potential of Mobility on Demand, the ability to get the right device to the consumer at the right time.
Out of sight of the customers there is a second automotive market developing, one that is about autonomous vehicles, as the main tech players and biggest companies in the world start to develop their own vehicles. This kind of development by tech giants such as Uber and Google is driving the concept of 'new mobility', ‘mobility as a service’ or what we describe as Mobility on Demand.
What is the current state of this technology?
In town people are less wedded to idea of owning a car and often use Uber or ZipCar to get around, so it exists already in urban areas. Yet, it doesn’t exist in the consumer’s mind; we see Uber as an additional service rather than accepting it as the beginning of Mobility on demand – but this is the start.
We at Clarity predict that Mobility on Demand will take 10 years to come into fruition. The process will be a chain of effect and will rely heavily on the government, which is a potential blocker or facilitator of the process. Autonomous cars are already here. It’s difficult to predict a precise time frame, but we think the end product that the consumer will purchase is significantly better than owning a car. The cost of Mobility on Demand is likely to be 30% of the cost today. But it depends on how quickly that cheaper cost will transfer into the mainstream. Interestingly, although it would be safer to test in less congested roads in the country, demand is higher in city so it is likely to start there.
Singapore and India are less developed markets and could possibly take on the challenge first; the larger markets may not embrace it if it drastically effects their automotive industry because they will be protective over their assets, and therefore less inclined to change.
What are the marketing opportunities for agencies?
The companies that collectively form the automotive industry today face a significant threat from Mobility on Demand, including mechanics, car salesmen, car washes, petrol stations and garages. This has been identified by many of the top players and some of the large automotive manufactures have invested in some companies that are developing solutions for Mobility on Demand.
Although it seems that the obliteration of these sectors will have a decaying effect on the marketing industry, Mobility on Demand will actually open up a huge number of prospects to play with. As a marketer, there are so many new opportunities looming. The most exciting being the opportunity to play with data. This changes how you attribute the journey between physical and online. For example, if a person looks up a retail website and then uses Mobility on Demand to drive to that company’s shop to buy something, marketers will be able to see this. We will have the challenge of getting attribution between online and offline by recording people’s reactions in more depth. The world of advertising, audience and conversion rate will be a whole new ball game.
A fantastic opportunity will be merging with other tech, like machine learning. Re-targeting websites is common but this allows you to get ahead. It can put a product in front of a customer before they even know they want it. It will be possible to switch it off – it will only help relevance and timeliness, but the ability to play and think ahead is very exciting.
Appealing to children will also be a new learning curve. In a space where entertainment can be integrated into the travel experience, children may become a new user group, and this opens up new marketing avenues. Being inventive with what to target directly to a seven year old will be an interesting challenge.
What will this mean for non digital natives?
By the time this comes to fruition it is most likely to be AI voice command, so not only will it be simple and time-saving, it will be beneficial to non-digital natives, and allow us hands-free access, so there will be no limit on which audiences can be targeted.
The advances of this development are still a work in progress and will not turn overnight, but it is steadily embedding itself into our routine. Is this a beneficial change? For a driver, it’s a no brainer; it offers a cheaper and safer alternative which will value travelling time. For a marketer, the opportunities are limitless. Using the information for Mobility on Demand hands over the source to human behaviour, it's just about playing with different techniques to ensure conversion.