Wireless communication has witnessed unimaginable adoption rates across all the geographies and the most promising markets are now the developing world countries. The reasons for the impressive outreach of the mobile communication are not difficult to guess – affordability, low technology barrier and portability. New blocks of economic resurgence like India, China, Brazil and Indonesia have witnessed unprecedented mobile technology adoption in terms of new subscribers and technological adoption. The number of land line users has long been surpassed by the number of cell phone subscribers in places like China and India and the annual growth rate of mobile phone owners is more than 30% in these fastest growing economies.
Evaluate: The need to go mobile
The advertising and marketing war games have moved beyond the hallowed screens of our PCs, MACs and Laptops. Mobile browsing is adopted rapidly with 3G and 4Gservices being offered commonly in US and many European countries. Countries like China, India and Brazil have seen the maximum surge in mobile phone usage and with more than 30% increase in annual subscriptions, mobile browsing is set to become the standard. While the mobile phenomena took roots in US and Europe, the markets which are catching the eye of every business think-tank are the emerging economies – China, India, pockets of South-East Asia and Asia Pacific.
With mobile phones and mobile browsing rates getting cheaper by the hour, the numbers of mobile internet subscribers have gone way past the traditional internet users. Can this mobile web community be ignored anymore? And the numbers do point to a higher number of mobile compatible websites. To account for the region as a whole, Asia pacific had a telecommunication budget of $405 billion in 2009 – And analysts are predicting an expenditure of $815 billion in 2015. China and India will jointly account for $369 billion spend on communications. In terms of mobile phone subscriptions, Asia Pacific will have 3.1 billion mobile phone subscriptions in 2015 – up from 2.1 billion in 2009.
The above industry facts, statistics, business trends and expert opinions can be valuable inputs for evaluating the mobile domain needs for a company. So, if you are a business owner and have plans to utilize the mobile space, then the following aspects of the products / services should be put under the scanner…
- Industry characteristics: Mobile utilization / adoption rate
- Consumer browsing habits / purchasing trends: Where are your customers?
- Regional mobile / wireless adoption rate
- Demography of the customers: Who are your customers?
Analyze & Understand: The mobile domain
Go mobile: Functional & Technical
Mobile phones are no longer restricted to voice and text communication – it has become a hub of information, research, inquiry, commerce and other location-based services, with just a couple of touches.
Starting from hotel reservations to Car booking, purchasing event tickets to booking a restaurant table – everything is bundled inside the various apps on your mobile phone. Some of the top hotel chains who were the earliest proponents of M-commerce have reported a 70% – 90% surge in their traffic.
Location-based advertising has garnered the maximum attention from marketers as well as customers because of its no-nonsense and targeted message delivery – The cornerstone of LBS-based marketing is the utilization of ‘Location & Need’ of a traveler. Advertising is tailored to the Geo-location of the mobile user, thus creating an opportunity for the most targeted form of direct marketing in the marketplace. Examples might include – discount coupons of a nearby Pizza hut or Burger king, discounted room rates in Holiday inn, coupons for the Water Park on the next exit or even an invitation for a wine tour – The options are endless.
Mobile boarding passes – Mobile bar-code hotel room activation – Mobile payments for on-site charges – Real time weather update on arrival – Mobile valet service – Mobile airport pick-ups…AND MANY MORE
Before dedicating resources and funds towards your mobile strategy, it is prudent that we know what the consumers are engaged in – whether making the best use of time; utilizing mobile web to monitor stocks, scores on-the-go; use mobile to get instant information. The expectations and needs of a mobile customer is remarkably different from an online wired consumer – A mobile customer might just be interested in small and instant information snippets (Flight schedule, Airport / ATM locations, departure / arrival gates / platforms, account balances, debit / credit information etc…) – While a wired customer might have a more detailed browsing agenda with a larger objective (research & comparison, Company info & management details, download brochure / whitepapers, comprehensive service offerings etc…)
Depending upon the function that we want our mobile site / application to perform, the following course can be undertaken….
- A partial / adaptive layout of the original website is created: So, that it can be served effectively through all the device formats, OS and sizes
- A dedicated mobile architecture is created: This requires an exhaustive planning and strategy as you would do for an online portal
- A mobile application is launched: In case of a greater customer engagement and higher interactivity, an application can be created for various mobile OS (iOS, Android, Windows7, Blackberry)
- Utilize various customer touch-points: Mobile customers can be engaged through SMS, QR codes, mobile Videos, mobile apps, LBS (Location based services), mobile coupons etc.
Customers have to be mobile and brands need to follow in their footsteps – if they have to catch their eye.