Villing & Company

Leaving the Station-ary: The Rush to Mobile Marketing

Two articles ago I referenced a startling fact. Experts tell us that by 2014, more people will access the Internet via mobile devices than with desktop computers. I had planned to follow up on that amazing trend by addressing its implications, but interrupted those plans to reflect on the passing of Steve Jobs. Given his role in the growth of smartphones, my decision seems all the more appropriate. But now I want to get back on track with a discussion of what the move to mobile means to virtually everyone involved in marketing.

For the record, I am not an expert on these matters. Far from it. I must defer to others smarter about all things technology based. But as Thoreau famously said, "Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk." While the statistics about mobile growth are far from circumstantial, even I can see the implications. And they are many.

  • Your website better work effectively on mobile devices. My colleague, Nathan DeSelm, has written extensively on this subject. Comprehensive and complex sites may be wonderful for the desktop visitor, but you better have your essential information clearly prioritized and presented so that the mobile user will quickly find what you want him or her to see. Apps are one option, but mobile websites are an appropriate and less expensive choice in many circumstances.
  • Know where your customers are coming from. Mobile market share numbers can be a bit misleading at times. While Android has the largest market share, the total reach of the Apple iOS platform, which resides on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches, is about 60% greater than the Android platform.
  • Nearly one-third of U.S. consumers have made at least one purchase via a mobile device. And that statistic is almost a year old (December 2010) – representing a 123 percent increase over the previous year.
  • Mobile banking activities, navigation and location services are all growing fast. While the preponderance of mobile usage is still heavily in the entertainment and social networking arena, activities such as mobile banking grew by 55 percent in the last year, navigation by 63 percent and location services by 33 percent.
  • Would you buy your groceries through your smartphone? 25 percent of consumers say they would. About 20 percent would also buy clothes, pay a bill or buy coffee. 
  • Nearly half of consumers used their mobile devices to browse and research products while in a physical store in 2010 and this activity is accelerating fast. This is big news for anyone who sells through traditional retail outlets.
  • Mobile shoppers tend to be young and affluent. No real surprises there but it has real implications when targeting these audiences.
  • Hispanics use mobile devices more frequently than the general population. Not only that but they are much more likely to do their Internet searches via cell phones.

Well, enough for statistics. You get the picture.  If you aren't getting on board the mobile marketing bandwagon, the train is about to leave to leave the station.

Note: In case you are wondering where all this information came from, it is part of a presentation called More than Talk: Action in Mobile Marketing sponsored by HubSpot and is available as a download on their website.

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