Everyone Has One

Greetings from the "Duh" factor. Can we have a moment for mobile phones? Many of us don't think about them too much. Well rest assured, I'm not here to talk about either.

As a tried and true media person, I spend countless hours thinking about clutter (yes I'm a geek). You've probably seen me on my soapbox before. I often write about getting back to the basics in ad strategy. It's all about the right message at the right time in the right place.

With online advertising, this can often be more of an art than a science. Oh sure, we toot our own horns as well as delve into usage statistics, click streaming, and play time. However, what happens before all of this?

Consumers are busier than ever today. They have more and more distractions. They go about their days weaving in and out of a sea of advertising clutter from TV, to PCs to handheld devices to transit and outdoor, taxi tops, and elevators. The list goes on.

Think about this for a moment: What might these things have in common -- waiting for a train; going into work; a local pub; a party; a coffee shop; your kid's play; a sporting event? In just about every situation today, if you look around there are several people on cell phones. It is one of the most widely used devices today. (I told you this was coming from the 'duh' factor.)



Of course I don't have to convince you of this. However, how does this effect media consumption? Do we, as digital marketers, have to compete with the mobile phone? Do we incorporate mobile advertising into our media mix? Can we pave the way for such advertising? Is the discipline ours to own?

You may have heard the Japanese mobile phone company DoCoMo earlier this month announced the launch of its Mobile Society Research Institute. It's also no surprise that the Japanese are ahead of the curve on this. This initiative will study the social impact of mobile phone usage.

Apparently the research institute will remain separate from the business. According to a recent press release, specific themes of research are as follows:

1) Impact on society and culture Research will focus on the cultural and social impact of mobile phones, both positive and negative. Emerging social issues that will be studied include mobile phone usage etiquette and the increasing popularity of a "mail culture" that features a wide usage of emoticons.

2) Legal systems As mobile phones become more useful, crimes such as spam mail and "digital shoplifting" (stealing published information by using a phone's digital camera) are continuing to increase. The institute will study countermeasures, including the consolidation of a legal system with which to address mobile phone-oriented crimes.

3) Impact on industry The institute will study the industrial impact from the dissemination of mobile phones on a variety of sectors.

4) Mobile phones as a social infrastructure Mobile phones will also be studied as a type of social infrastructure by taking social psychology into account. This will include their role as indispensable tools for information distribution during times of natural disasters.

It is my firm belief that there has been a shift in consumer media/device consumption from PC-first to mobile-first. Look at just about anyone from a kid to a colleague to a taxi driver. Most people go to their phone first. Phones allow for controlled, quick bursts of communication.

As brand marketers and advertisers, we must pay close attention to how the mobile phone fits into everyday life. I'll leave you with a question. Are mobile devices taking time away from our media? Tell me. Post to the Spin board.

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