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There's an App for That

  
  
  
  
  
  

The Third ScreenMobile devices generated 12.6% of total website traffic in the fourth quarter of 2011, up 102% from the 6.3% recorded a year earlier, according to the Walker Sands Quarterly Web Traffic Report.  Unlike the using Web, mobile use is not only about visiting and interacting with websites, though that is one of the activities of untethered consumers.  As Chuck Martin points out in his book, The Third Screen, “mobile is about tapping into technology-based platforms while on the go; it's about downloading and using specific, customized features that enhance the mobile consumer's productivity, performance and even entertainment breaks while leveraging locations and time as never before”.

 

With Mobile, Content and Context are King

The World Wide Web has changed how consumers consume.  Now consumers can find content from almost anywhere at any time.  They find what they wanted and consume it when they want.  However, with the advancement of mobile technology, they no longer have to be at a desktop or read a printed static page to consume content.  Nevertheless, as usage increases, content has still proven to be king.

Fasted Growing Mobile Categories

Driven primarily by Facebook, social networking is the fastest-growing mobile content category in the US: Nearly 58 million mobile subscribers accessed a social networking site at least monthly via a mobile device as of December 2010, up 56% from the previous year, according to a report by comScore.

 

It’s All about Consumption

Every new medium tends to initially replicate some features from past media, and mobile is no exception.  When audio capabilities became widespread, books were converted so people could listen to them on tape.  Same content, different delivery mechanism.  A similar move is occurring with mobile, as both video and print media, including television shows, news, books, magazines and promotional materials, are converted for consumption on phones and tablets.  There is no better example of this than the iPad.  In creating the iPad, Apple has created a device that makes it very easy to consume all forms of content.  Publishers of content must become mobile friendly, as that is how consumers wish to consume their content.

 

Location-Based Marketing

There are times when the mobile consumer is at a location - for example, when at the electronics store and trying to decide which brand of LCD TV you want to purchase -  a company can provide value in the form of helpful information, even if the customer is not in a position to make an immediate purchase.  Location-based capabilities built into smartphones allow companies to provide relevant information to a potential customer immediately or even let the customer store multiple locations that he or she can access later.  In specific markets, such as travel, shopping, and dining, customer engagement and purchases will happen more frequently via mobile device.  A recent study found that one-third of all American adults use smartphones, and that percentage will continue to rise.

 

The Bottom Line

More and more people are using their smartphone and mobile devices to engage with and consume content.  Marketers cannot afford to wait any longer to engage in mobile marketing.  Consumers are already moving ahead at great speed and driving the market. Companies must recognize that the mobile revolution is more than just an additional sales channel or one more place to advertise.  It involves fundamental changes in consumer behavior at all levels, and it changes and heightens expectations of customers.  The ultimate impact of this global phenomenon called mobile will be bigger than the impact of television or the personal computer.  It is everywhere, it is personal, and it is always on.  Welcome to the world of the third screen.

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