Smartphones are on the rise again…is your digital marketing strategy equipped to respond?
The following is a post from Kristen Poillon, TIG Global Marketing Manager.
It’s no surprise that cell phones have become a standard, and a staple, for the majority of consumers out there today. Stop where you are at any given moment and look around; you are bound to see someone in proximity to you chatting away while on-the-go, or weaving haphazardly down the sidewalk in an attempt to walk and text all at the same time (I don’t suggest this, by the way). And as times progress and consumers rely more heavily on being connected, standard cell phones are proving to be a gateway to the ultimate mobile device – the smartphone.
We have all seen the commercials that give way to the ferocious rivalry of mobile phone providers in a rush to beat their competitor to the punch with the new “it” phone, almost to the point of brand cannibalism. Take your pick from the iPhone, the Droid, Blackberry, Backflip, Torch (the list is endless), all in a race to be the next bigger and better thing. From a personal standpoint, I have a range of friends and family members that speak of their smartphones as proud parents would of their children at a little league game, boasting to one another with claims of how much better each person’s phone is than another’s in terms of speed, apps, graphics and sleek appearance, just to name a few. I suppose when they start to name their phones, I will begin to worry. So, all that aside, what does this mean for your businesses?
Pause and rewind. All of the latter leads to evidence that smartphones have become an indispensible extension of ourselves at this juncture. People have a need for instant access to information, for both necessity and convenience sake. With that in mind, enter the rise of the smartphone. As recent statistics from eMarketer indicate, smartphones have been gaining popularity for years, but they look to see the popularity and reliance grow even greater in the approaching years. So just how great is the growth expected to be?
According to Nielsen, smartphones were used by 25% of the US mobile phone audience in Q2 2010, up from 23% the previous quarter and 16% in Q2 2009. The research firm predicts they will overtake feature phones by the end of 2011.
And it makes sense that as the pace of life quickens and the expectation for people to be wired and in touch at any given moment continues to generate a greater need for access to information. These factors combined likely give way to a whole lot more people out there using their phones to search, research, communicate and purchase while on-the-go.
In fact, as eMarketer predicts in their latest study, the anticipated increase in ownership of smart devices is driving growth in mobile internet usage at a rapid rate. The acceleration of this trend has led the statistics powerhouse to raise its forecast relative to their estimates, released in November 2009. According to eMarketer projections, 85.5 million mobile users will access the web from their mobile devices in 2010, versus 83.5 million in the previous forecast.
Additionally, in 2013, penetration will reach the halfway mark, and by 2014, 142.1 million users, representing 53.9% of the US mobile user population, will access the internet using mobile browsers or applications.
In April 2010, comScore found a total of 72.8 million mobile internet users, representing an average for the three-month period prior to reporting. This falls in line with eMarketer’s estimates, which are for December of each year: comScore’s figure is an improvement over eMarketer’s 2009 estimate of 68.6 million users and well on the way to the 85.5 million predicted by the end of the year.
The stats are impressive, and as these devices slowly become the norm, the time to up the ante on your mobile marketing strategy is now, in order to reap the full rewards of this trend. To get started, make sure that you have developed a mobile version of your website that mimics the look, feel and branding of your current website, but with the addition of mobile friendly navigation and information that is easy to find for users in transit.
You may also consider building a social media following through the mobile revolution using tools such a Foursquare, an online social gaming site that encourages users to get out and explore local businesses in person, and offers check-in capabilities that result in unique rewards. You might also build an app that places your business or destination only a screen tap away from online mobile accessibility. Hotels have also jumped in the game by providing guests with tools that maximize convenience and ease of use. For example…getting in to your hotel from a late flight and want to arrive at your hotel, already checked-in with dinner waiting in your room? Special mobile tools, such as TIG Global and MICROS’s myStayManager, make this dream a reality, allowing guests to check-in, order room service, unlock their room door, arrange for dining reservations and more, directly from their phones. The possibilities are endless, and as these devices grow in popularity, look to see the offerings become all of the more impressive.
Are you using a smartphone application for your business, or have you had an experience with an application that you would like to share? Sound off in the comments section!
Interested in ramping up your mobile strategy. TIG Global has a full suite of interactive marketing tools to get your customers on the go wired to your business. Click here to learn more, send us an email, or give us a call at 301-841-4700.