We've all been there and gone through it at some point in our lifetime. Searching for that perfect partner who makes you a better person. That companion who is always by your side, listening to everything you say and does what you want. Sometimes there may indeed be disagreements, yet the two of you always find a way to work it out. You find some you end up breaking up with while some just drop you, but when you find the right one, you just know it. And although there may be younger ones out there that do different things “better,” you have committed to the one that you know best and wouldn't trade the relationship for anything in the world. That's right; the relationship between you and your mobile device is amazing!
Whether we would like to admit it or not, the connections we have with our mobile device is just as strong as the one we have with a living, breathing person. It is the first thing most of us probably look at when we wake up in the morning and the last thing our eyes see before we go to sleep. The enduring bond that has formed between a person and their mobile device is the single most attractive influence brands are attempting to tap into on a daily basis. With there being more mobile devices on this planet than there are televisions -- some countries actually having more mobile subscriptions than citizens -- it is the dominating entertainment and communication medium today. It is personal, intimate and the most coveted medium for advertisers today. However, like any relationship, it takes time to develop a rapport and can end just as fast as it started.
Relationships take work and the one between advertisers and their consumers through their mobile device is no different. Brands look at a mobile device and go from first date to the altar faster than their cars can go from 0-60 mph. Automotive brands for example are notorious for pushing offers on vehicles instantly rather than finding out more about the consumer they are talking to. When engaging with a consumer via mobile, you have to pace yourself. The example I always use relates back to a time when I lived in New York City.
A friend of mine at the ad agency we worked at had his eye on this girl who was his “type.” After trying to get noticed, he finally did and she gave him her number to call and have drinks. I talked to him a few days after the date and he said it went well but couldn’t understand why she wasn’t calling him back. After some probing, I come to find out that at that first date, he asked this young woman if she wanted be his date to an upcoming wedding…in Florida. Really?! Date number 2 is a trip to Florida? To quote ESPN's Chris Carter, "C'mon man!"
This is a perfect analogy of how brands can fall victim to “type casting” people on mobile devices as well as not taking the time to get to know the customer first. Getting permission from a person to contact them or advertise to them on their mobile device is not carte blanche to pop the big question with your first “date.” Social and mobile marketing on wireless devices should be calculated and strategic that builds a relationship with between your brand and the consumer. That way, when it comes time to “propose” to them, the chances of them saying “yes” are much better than just letting you go straight to voicemail. By the way, 8 years later, my friend still single…shocker!
Establishing a rapport with a consumer via their mobile phone is just as important as understanding how they use their device in order to effectively market to them. With almost half of America owning a Smartphone now, mobile phones are no longer meant for just talking or texting, for that matter. Actually, according to a comScore Device Essentials study back in August of 2011, nearly 7% of visits to websites came from a “non-computer” device with more than 50% of that traffic coming from a mobile device. Brands must learn how to speak the language of the medium they are using. From character limitations with SMS and Twitter to designing their mobile websites properly, there is an art form to how you communicate on the mobile device. As recent as late last year, 79% of large online retailers still didn’t have a mobile optimized website not only creating an experience that is not optimized for their mobile device but also preventing the consumer from potential delivering thousands if not millions of dollars in revenue.
Understanding the relationship between a person and the mobile phone is vital for brands, if they wish to tap into this coveted space. Unlike the Internet, which was subsidized with advertising from the start as you dialed up to AOL, the mobile device is a more personalized channel to individuals. Brands have come to understand that the courting process of a consumer on their mobile device is something that requires patience and insight. Since we are able to find out more and more about consumers and their behaviors, we now have insight into how to approach them with messages based upon their behaviors, reactions from other messages they've received and their interests. Mobile is not a magic bullet, but when approached the right way, what Apple, Android, AT&T, Verizon or any other device or carrier has created, no man can separate.