Mobile As A Technology Platform
When assessing mobile as a technology platform and how it impacts communications, we must consider three main factors: connectivity, location awareness and the enabling of transactions. This article started with the claim that mobile is ‘always on’. Take that one step further and consider how the mobile consumer is always accessible. It’s not just that the device is always powered on; it’s also that the consumer is always available. The expectation is that you can reach someone no matter where they are or what they are doing.
There are many ways to connect to that someone. Voice calls for something personal, important or even entertaining. Text messages can be for concise messages and emails for something that requires more explanation. But mobile is not a one-way broadcast. Mobile enables two way communications. Calls are answered, messages replied to, actions taken as a result of content that’s consumed or instructions that are received. The public relations industry has embraced social media for its ability to create conversations between organizations and their stakeholders. While there are limitations to the mobile platform that make ‘conversations’ difficult, mobile stands beside the internet as a channel offering the tools for a genuine dialogue, a connection, between parties. For the PR professional, the key is to understand that mobile enables consumer response in real -time, no matter where they are or what they are doing. However, context cannot be ignored. Connectivity leads to contextual relevance.
Many newer model handsets come equipped with GPS technology that adds a new layer to consumer location and context. Even without such spatial awareness, the personal nature of the mobile device implies consideration of what the consumer is doing and where they might be and crafting messaging and calls to action that exploit a consumer’s context and environment. The Canadian Marketing Association’s white paper on mobile, Personal, Powerful, Pervasive: Future of Mobile is ‘In Hand’, notes that “The marketing trifecta for mobile is immediacy, location and personalization.”
The ability to deliver a message that is directly relevant to a consumer’s context is powerful as it enables a customized response that can potentially motivate a specific behaviour in response to experienced circumstances. David Jones, vice president, digital at Hill & Knowlton Canada, rates location-awareness as one of the most important mobile features saying, “Anything you can provide to someone on the go to make the experience hyper-local is incredibly useful. It adds relevance and responsiveness to a real-world experience.”
Along with being a self-sustained media channel, mobile can also act as a bridge to other things and places. Mobile enables transactions. On the self-sustaining side, mobile can take a consumer through a series of actions. A banner ad click or a sent SMS can lead to a phone call, a web visit or a download to the handset. But what is even more interesting is how mobile can spur action outside the confines of the handset. “Mobile’s presence at the consumer’s side means it can serve as a powerful gateway where a marketer is taking the consumer from a point of interaction to a point of action,” says Mr. Murphy. “Marketers are starting to leverage mobile’s transactional nature through mobile coupons and tickets to drive a consumer from a media interaction to a retail visit, for example. I’d say that PR people can use those same principles to spur cause-based actions, enhance event experiences or to aid response in certain crisis situations like product recalls.”
A study by market research firm Razorfish supports this point of view by arguing in its 2008 digital outlook report that SMS is a perfect example of a very personal and relevant communication form that can be used to facilitate direct response into the upper rungs of a consumer’s social hierarchy. If a message is allowed onto a consumer’s mobile device it is because it is meaningful for them in an immediate and satisfying way.
For the public relations professional, the key lesson is that you can use mobile to move very quickly from message acceptance to consumer action provided you are providing an experience where the value exchange (on either a commercial or psychological level) is weighted in favour of the user.
Next up: Mobile as a content platform
Possibly Related Posts:
- Four Mobile Web Experiences You Can Offer Customers
- The 3 Dimensions Of Effective Mobile Email
- Launch and Learn – Driving Campaign Success with In-Flight Optimization
- 5 Steps To Address Mobile Customer Fragmentation
- Mobile + The New Direct White paper