Already in 2013, smartphone ownership for U.S. consumers has surpassed 125 million, and smartphone adoption worldwide has hit the "mobile majority." While these numbers may not come as a surprise, it is important to consider that staying connected through mobile devices is a priority for consumers. But as technology becomes more sophisticated, mobile marketing isn't just about creating a mobile-friendly Web site, or even about sending a mobile message to your customers.
Mobile is far more than a marketing channel -- it's an experience that transcends every interaction companies have with their customers in-store, online and on-the-go. As marketers, we must embrace mobile and move quickly to incorporate tactics and technologies to deliver relevant 1-to-1 experiences for every customer.
If we want to keep up with consumers, we need to focus on what's ahead and not just hitting send. Given that one in three minutes spent online is now spent on a device other than PCs, we know customers are on-the-go and moving from app, to email, to browser. Looking ahead, the next evolution for marketers will be to penetrate peer-to-peer messaging apps, creating another customer touchpoint.
A few other upcoming trends to consider:
Is there an app for that? There probably should be. If our customers are spending four out of five minutes on a smartphones engaged with apps (according to comScore), there is a tremendous opportunity to connect with mobile push messaging. The conversation is no longer whether or not to have an app or a mobile Web site because by only choosing one, marketers run the risk of alienating their customer base.
With its broad adoption, email continues to thrive and is more often than not, the preferred channels for marketing messages. Now more than 40 percent of emails are opened on a mobile device. Responsive design is an integral part of building, maintaining and growing your customer base and engaging customers throughout life cycle marketing. If you are not optimizing your emails for viewing on a mobile device, you have already fallen behind your competitors.
However, we can't talk about the proliferation of mobile devices without considering the growth of tablets. With more than 50 million consumers now owning a tablet, it's important to have a strategy for both smartphones and tables. Smartphones may drive showrooming which creates a tremendous opportunity for competitive pricing, but tablets are driving in-home purchases. In fact, comScore finds that tablet users are twice as likely to purchase an item using their device than a smartphone owner.
The difference in uses highlights the need for individual strategies for each device in order to increase business results.
Today's hyper-connected consumers are not limited to smartphones and tablets. From connected cars to connected homes, connected devices and even connected toothbrushes, the technology that initially took root in business (shipping, logistics) is transitioning into everyday consumer use. Imagine receiving a text message from your car when it is about to overheat, is ready for an oil change, or that powers a messages to 911 when you have been in an accident. Connectivity will continue to evolve and brands that leverage this new technology will continue to lead the transformation of customer experiences.
What's even more fascinating is the growth of wearable technology. Wearable technology offers unprecedented engagement opportunities for marketers to connect physical activities from exercising to shopping back to consumers and their smart devices, collecting and using data to create highly personalized experiences. Consider the following points from Forrester Research, Inc. senior analyst Sarah Rotman Epps' June 5, 2013 blog post, "The App Wars Come to Wearables - Consumers will be the Winners":
Mobility and connectively will create a tremendous opportunity for brands to usher in the next generation of innovation. Today’s consumer is the most connected in history, creating an opportunity for marketers to optimize online and offline interactions multiple point solutions, technologies and teams to deliver a true 1-to-1 experience that is relevant, builds customer loyalty and drives sales.