The ‘Mobile Industry’ has possibly recorded the fastest growth in the world for any technology or device adoption. According to research data, the total number of SIM connections has equalled the total population of planet earth, breaching a staggering seven billion. This phenomenal growth comes as no surprise considering the functionalities that a mobile phone serves in today’s age.
Summarizing the trend aptly is a quote from the gsma report, “The mobile industry is continuing to see rapid growth in connections, subscribers and data traffic, and is playing a pivotal role in unlocking socio-economic progress across the world. Many industry sectors are increasingly digitizing and mobilizing their products and services, reducing costs and providing compelling new experiences for consumers.”
Marketers on the other hand are scrambling to keep pace with this spiralling phenomenon which threatens to rewrite the rules of consumer marketing. We are currently witnessing a profusion of ‘digital marketing’ companies offering services ranging from Banner Ads to Website Development to Graphical User Interface toSocial Media Management etc. This trend can be attributed to the steady growth of the internet and its access through desk top devices including Laptops and PC’s. However emerging market data is presenting a marked shift by registering a steady drop in PC and laptop adoption as opposed to mobile penetration. This is clearly a sign of things to come by opening the flood gates to an industry of specialist ‘Mobile Marketing’ companies.
Hence this is the era of the ‘mobile’ and ‘mobility’ and marketers have to quickly ramp up to stay ahead of the curve. What is adding to their woes is that mobile phones are an extremely functional habit which is only gradually evolving from a fundamental function of communication. Marketers in their efforts have to be cautious not to be labelled intrusive in tapping into this medium as clearly it can backfire for a brand. Hence one has to look at opportunities that are less intrusive avenues for marketing communication, but are accessed on the mobile nevertheless such as browsing, social media, mobile apps, etc. While this is an emerging segment with varied nuances, featured below are key trends to help marketers better understand ‘Mobile Marketing’:
- Customer life will practically be driven out of the mobile – The varied uses of a smart phone from communication, to gaming, to socializing, to surfing to many more will make the mobile phone a universal device to accompany an individual. This is also likely to open up the market for smart phone associated accessories such as smart watches.
- Mobile Apps – The internet has witnessed a cycle in its growth over the years starting from communication formats such as email to knowledge platforms such as websites to networking such as social media to ecommerce etc. Similarly the mobile era has fuelled the growth of applications more commonly known as apps, which is also a reflection of the functionality of a mobile device. Apps can serve varied purposes from gaming to ecommerce to music to hobbies to fitness and so on. Individuals download apps on to their personal handsets depending on their usage patterns and preferences. Hence developing suitable apps from consumer insights that are not overtly commercial but appeal to its purposeful audience is an ideal route to tapping mobile consumers.
- Customized Experiences will make the difference –Clearly different individuals have varied usage patterns on the smart phone. Just take an average family for instance representing a working father, a working mother, a college going daughter and a son in high school. It is easy to visualize the varying mobile phone usage habits among these 4 distinct user groups basis their age, gender and social status. Hence marketers have to factor this in carefully to provide customized experiences that suit each audience cluster.
- Multimedia Usage on mobile – A recent study reported that 75% of data traffic on mobile phones is used for video and browsing. Big Data and Cloud Services have supported this spurt along with social media and other internet based communication applications. Modern day devices are improving by the minute allowing exceptional multimedia access and experiences on a variety of devices and this is only bound to increase. This is a lesson for marketers to develop multimedia ready content that is suitable for consumption by its users across a cross section of devices.
- Multi Screen Experience – On a device level they represent a range of screened devices such as TV’s, Laptops, Smart Phones, Tablet, etc. Consumers today have access to a variety of such devices at home and at office to connect with the digital world thereby creating this trend.
- Connected Living – Interoperability with other devices is the mantra in an increasingly digital world. With Smart phones being the undisputed leader in functionality it is only obvious to try and link the mobile to as many devices and appliances as possible. Today some of the common functions are internet sharing, accessing media files, media projection, etc. However this is only the tip- of- the- ice- berg and there is immense potential in developing this technology for purposes such as Smart Homes.
- Personal Data -Consumer access to a range of digital services could be authenticated by a mobile operator provided digital identity, linked to the phone number and secured via the SIM. This is no surprise considering the high usage potential and diversity in transaction which can easily map an individual’s user key and pattern to provide a unique digital identity.
- Digital Commerce -Mobile devices will be at the heart of the digital commerce ecosystem, with the potential to complete all types of purchases on connected devices using mobile digital wallets. Banks and financial institutions on their part are providing secure gateways for ecommerce transactions to fuel this trend.
- Nomophobia – The spiking trend in Cell phone usage brings with it, its fair share of challenges and one such resultant phobia is Nomophobia. This is the fear of losing access to your phone or losing charge on the phone.
- Gazing into 2020 – mobile networks are expected be at the heart of the all-IP mobile broadband era, connecting devices and acting as the key interface between the physical and digital worlds.
In summary, mobile phones are just at the beginning of a cycle that is bound to revolutionize the way we operate permanently. The growth of broadband, increased penetration of mobile phones, improved connectivity, advances in technology etc. are in reality spearheading this revolutionary trend.