For some time now, the power of mobile has been very evident. The past few years have been full of headlines boasting “Mobile Is the Future” and how “Mobile Is Taking Over the World.” Despite these catchy headlines, oftentimes the meaning behind them is perceived as simply media hype. In this case, it is anything but puff from the media.
Mobile is incredibly powerful and is growing. Think about your own personal use. For me, I use my mobile device constantly, for professional and personal reasons. In fact, be it good or bad, I almost develop a twitch when I don’t have it nearby. J
Beyond my own obsession with mobile, the whole mobile market – the hardware, software, apps, services, infrastructure, etc. – and its reach is absolutely mind-blowing. Mobile essentially connects the entire world in real time all the time. It’s actually quite amazing when you think about it. Not only is mobile impacting the tech space, but it is also affecting healthcare, finance, retail, and numerous other industries. In other words, mobile plays a critical role in the whole economy. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) conducted a study on the full correlation between mobile and the economy and found the following key points regarding the mobile marketing ecosystem:
– …exhibits remarkable levels of investment for an industry so young: $6.7 billion spent on it by client-side marketers and retailers across all industries in 2012, a figure likely to reach almost $20 billion by 2015;
– …contributes even more impressive levels of incremental output to the U.S. economy: $139 billion in 2012, and reaching $400 billion by 2015, with at least 85% of this sales impact taking place in “off-line”, “brick and mortar” locations;
– …currently sustains over a half million jobs in 2012, and will likely support upwards of a million and a half workers by 2015, including both direct and indirect employees; in fact, every single employee in a direct mobile marketing communications role will support over 23 workers in non-mobile occupations throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia in that year.
Furthermore, Pew Internet and American Life Project recently released a report that shows how many people use cell phones and what they use them for. The usage, which include texting, accessing the Internet, email, apps, maps and directions, music, video calls, and check-in and location sharing all showed year over year growth in recent years.
For businesses today and going forward, mobile is one of the most essential means, if not the primary resource that users utilize for email, social media, search, shopping, notes and more. When businesses do not accommodate these trends, they miss out.
While this may sound obvious, unfortunately, many businesses don’t seem to grasp that emails are still being sent that aren’t optimized for mobile. This lack of recognition or whatever you want to call it also carries over to social media as businesses seemingly ignore the fact that the majority of Facebook and Twitter users access these sites via mobile devices.
To make sure that you don’t fall into this missed boat category, there are a few things you can do to get on board with mobile. First of all, you need to do some research. Test your site out on multiple mobile devices. Make sure everything is working how you want it to work. Tools such as Screenfly and iPad Peek, among others may help speed this testing process along.
It could also be helpful to have someone who is not familiar with your web properties to be involved in the testing to really check usability. Speed is another factor that should be tested in this process, as our society has grown incredibly impatient in this real-time world.
Secondly, to make the job of marketing visibility easier, businesses really need to consider implementing a responsive design. Late last year, Pete Cashmore over on Mashable wrote convincing piece on Why 2013 Is the Year for Responsive Web Design. In the report, he explained that a responsive web design “uses ‘media queries’ to figure out what resolution of device it’s being served on.”
Very simply put, such a design allows the content to automatically resize when the browser size changes. Responsive design has become wildly popular over the past year not because it’s the latest trend, but largely because it is very useful.
The third area that businesses need to think about is social media related to mobile. Now, while marketers can’t control speed or the backend of the apps, you can control the message you’re putting out. Basically, you have to make your message as accessible as possible.
Users aren’t interested in reading a dissertation only to be led to a link and another article. Instead, you need to produce content that catches their eye quickly and that doesn’t waste their time. In addition to making your message accessible, you need to be accessible. For instance, if someone comments to you on a Facebook post, you should not wait days to respond. Again, we are living in a society when people expect real-time results.
We say this a lot around here, but monitoring is absolutely critical in social media. And for marketers, the mobile capabilities are advancing right along with the user apps, making it difficult to find excuses not to react.
While the computer will not disappear any time in the near future, the value and convenience of mobile is only going to grow. There’s no turning back now. So, you can either jump on board, or fall behind. What’s it going to be?
Images courtesy of AskingSmarterQuestions.com and Pew respectively.