Commentary

The Next Revolution Will Not Be Televised, But Instant-Messaged

eMarketer released its Media Usage Around the World report this month. If you love data and stats, this is one for you. Also check it out if you're in charge of figuring out where to place your next bet for connecting with where your consumers already are.

Here are five data points:

-- By the end of this year, 3.3 billion people globally will use the Internet at least once a month. That is almost half the global population.
-- The vast majority will do so via a mobile device.
-- This year will be the first year more than half of the USA will stream at least some TV online at least once a month.
-- Android remains the largest mobile platform worldwide.
-- Germany still loves its desktops and laptops more than any other platform — including mobile devices. For a country that calls a mobile phone a “Handy,” this is surprising!

It is clear that the mobile Internet is now the world’s most important mass delivery platform. But a marketing platform it is still not. Marketers are mightily struggling to figure out what to do with mobile within the marketing mix.

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I frequently remind marketers that it is not important to have a mobile strategy (or a digital one, for that matter). What is important is to have a consumer-centric strategy in a mobile-digital world.

This means that if you build a Web site, you need to make sure it works horizontally and vertically on tilt-screens. And that when you plan and implement your social and search plans, you need to make sure they’re also optimized for delivering results on a mobile device.

I would suggest you do a simple check on your mobile device right now: check your Web page for access and functionality for someone on the go. Use Google search and Facebook to see what is served when you tap in your brand name with your thumb. Do this while you’re walking a busy sidewalk as a reality check — or on the toilet.

Where we have witnessed the most progress in terms of using mobile platforms effectively is with those marketers that sell directly to consumers, as well as in the service industry. I was doing a lot of flying last week, and was in frequent contact with @Delta and @AmericanAir. Delta impressed me by solving a problem midway across the Atlantic in the dead of night, via a mobile-phone-connected flight attendant.

American Airlines deserves the “best sense of humor award” for a response to one of my tweets. When we reached our gate at JFK, the American flight attendant merely announced “All rise”-- which was pretty funny, so I tweeted some props to American. Its Twitter account responded almost immediately with “It sounds like our attendant's comedy career is really #takingoff!” Bazinga!

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ social media hub manager Gert Wim ter Haar has predicted that most of these interactions are moving away from “public” social media to direct-messenger interactions on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Line, etc. They are becoming more and more real-time conversations. These direct-messenger apps are also the platforms that are growing fastest of all social media, and they are primarily designed for a mobile world.

The question is: Are you ready for that world?

This column was previously published in the
Online Spin on March 21, 2016.

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