Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Doing Digital - Going Mobile


The Whole World’s Gone Global!

The late 20th and early 21st centuries were typified by fundamental changes in consumer behaviour and in markets. These were largely enabled by two significant technological advances; the Personal Computer and the Internet.

The first allowed users in business, and later the home, to access unrivalled computing power, without the restrictions and control of an IT department.

Secondly, during this period, the Internet evolved into a fully functional platform for global information exchange, communications and commerce.

Mobile technology represents the third wave of this technological tsunami and builds upon it. It puts significant, compact computer processing power literally in the hands of all of us, connecting everything together across the World Wide Web.


It is estimated that about 30% of the world’s 7 Billion population have access to the Internet, while globally there are about 5.8 billion mobile subscriptions. In the UK there are now more mobile devices than people! Imagine the potential that this level of technology penetration gives to marketers.

A striking feature of Mobile and Mobile Marketing is its ubiquity. Mobile devices are always connected and in contact. This allows consumers to access the functionality that they want, at the time, location and in the form in which they want it.

We are moving away from a world where media owners and marketers strive to get their message across just at the times and places of their choosing. Whether in advertising, news or entertainment, the consumer is now the final arbiter.

As consumers, we increasingly expect to be addressed and serviced as individuals, rather than just ‘one of the crowd’. We are conceptually moving from ‘one market of a million’ to ‘a million markets of one’.

A far cry from the days when Henry Ford offered his cars in ‘any color you want, as long as it’s black’!

 

In time, I believe that the mobile devices of today will evolve to become a kind of digital ‘Swiss army knife of the future. Imagine a device which; holds your money and id, captures or delivers media, communicates, navigates, scans, entertains, informs and educates.

Geo-location allows our Mobile device to be ‘aware’ of where it is and what is around it. With a device that goes everywhere with the consumer and which ‘knows’ where they are, there are many potential benefits for advertisers. Combining geo-targeted Mobile advertising with known customer data, for example from a web based CRM system, can provide highly relevant messaging which will add value to the recipient.

Delivered through a Concierge or PA application, services can be envisaged that advise the consumer of where to go and what to do, based on their location and predicted or specified preferences and tastes.

A further growth area will be in the case where the Mobile device acts as a ‘Social Object Controller’. With the development of web 3.0, more and more ‘inanimate’ objects will have web connectivity. These will include; cars, household appliances, games and media devices. In future, most of these will interact with, or be accessible and controllable from, the consumer’s Mobile device(s).

Consider a retail environment where your Mobile ‘knew’ where you were and could guide your shopping trip to nearby outlets and stores which stocked the items in which you were interested, alerted staff when you had arrived in the shop, performed a price-check and delivered personalised  offers, discounts and deals, uniquely tailored to you.



Imagine a world where your car not only had a sat-nav but would also generate active recommendations for restaurants, rest stops and places of interest en route, all based on your personal preferences and diary. When it became time for a vehicle service, the embedded Mobile device could notify the driver, contact the garage to inform them of areas for attention, and book the appointment. Bugatti Veyron technology today – in most vehicles in the future.

In a recent discussion with some of my students, these ideas raised some concerns about safety and security, with so much of a user’s personal information on one Mobile device. Today, with services such as Apple’s iCloud it is possible to remotely locate, lock or wipe a misplaced iPhone. Compare that with the nightmare of trying to contact all of the credit, debit and store card companies, after your purse or wallet is lost or stolen.



At present, many of these predictions may seem far-fetched or fanciful. In the past, many of us marvelled at the first ‘green screen’ PC’s, mobile phones the size and weight of a house-brick and even ‘Space Invaders’ or ‘Pong’ on the games machine in our local pub.

In future, the next generation of consumers will adopt and adapt to ubiquitous Mobile devices as an accepted and expected aspect of everyday life.

I, for one, can’t wait to join them!

Peter Rees DipM FCIM FRSA MCIPR MIDM, Chartered Marketer
Principal
City Digital Marketing Academy

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