Opinions Targeting Wireless

Would you give up your shower and shoes for your mobile phone?

Posted by Glenn Pingul on November 30th, 2011 at 1:23 pm

A flushing toilet in exchange for Facebook? Air conditioning in lieu of Angry Birds? Ranking a list of your most appreciated items is no easy task but when the London Science Museum asked 3,000 British adults to do just that, the results were astonishing.  Only four items ranked above Facebook in terms of appreciation – sunshine, the Internet, clean drinking water, and a fridge – and the mobile phone came in at number ten, ranking just below a flushing toilet!

There were some other shockers as well, including a push-up bra beating out a freezer and painkillers ranking higher than fresh fruit and vegetables. But outside of creating a few gasps and giggles, what can we really learn from this? The appreciation for an Internet connection, Facebook, Email, and mobile phones/smartphones shows the degree of influence that the digital world is having on our culture. As more people shift their behavior in favor of what the digital world has to offer, e.g. a two-click Black Friday purchase from your iPhone versus lining up in front of Target at 4 a.m., sending a neighbor a Facebook message versus knocking on their door to invite them to your holiday party, looking up a recipe on your iPad versus scrolling through a cook book, a major shift in consumer marketing is also well underway.

Look at this year’s “Cyber Monday” – NPD Group Inc. reports that almost 28 percent of consumers reported shopping online compared to 21 percent last year. At the same time, more consumers reported shopping in a store on Cyber Monday this year (20 percent) versus than last year (14 percent). So are we really seeing a shift in behavior if more people are going to retail stores on Cyber Monday? Or are we seeing a shift in how marketers are reaching out to their customers?

I’m not sure about you but this year, instead of the standard Black Friday flyers filling my mailbox, the pre-Black Friday/day before Black Friday/Black Friday/pre-Cyber Monday/Cyber Monday/One More Day Cyber Sale/Extended Just for You deals filled my inbox, as well as my SMS folder. From just one department store alone, I received five SMS from Thanksgiving Day to Tuesday morning promoting a variety of offers.

So what are marketers doing to capitalize on the emotion of the digital age at a time when we’ve become so dependent on our mobile devices that we’re willing to give up our wedding rings? Maybe not enough. It’s not about frequency when it comes to reaching someone on their highly personal mobile device. It’s about relevancy.

Although I took the time to glance at all five messages received throughout the holiday weekend, none seemed to align to my ‘wish list’ (for myself or others). As a result, I was quick to hit Delete. Strangely enough, during a phone call with my brother, he mentioned receiving an offer from the same department store highlighting a discount on Henckel knives. I’m thinking…there have been multiple times that I’ve purchased Henckel products online from the same retailer and I’ve signed up for their SMS offers. So why did I not receive an offer that’s clearly aligned to my needs? One valuable data point – previous purchase history – disregarded and as a result no purchases made from me.

It’s essential that marketers, and companies as a whole, that engage in digital marketing begin more effectively leveraging the data they have to deliver relevant offers at the right time and place. Mobile is upon us – according to IBM, iPhones and iPads accounted for 10.2% of Black Friday online retail traffic – and those who get it right, will reap the benefit of on-demand purchases. And those who don’t, well….

I’m thinking next year a new term will emerge…anyone want to place bets on “Mobile Monday”?

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