Marketers know better than most how a turn of phrase can alter perception, not only for a cleverly worded ad campaign, but for big-picture trends affecting their industry.
For example, two years ago, CMO.com wrote about the evolution of digital marketing to marketing in a digital world. The alteration (and slight addition) of a few words drove home an important distinction, one that holds true to this day.
Now it’s time to put another stake in the ground, this time regarding mobile. Or at least what we used to call mobile. These days, marketers should be thinking “mobility” instead.
So how did we get here? And what’s the difference between mobile and mobility, anyway?
According to Julie Ask, vice president at Forrester Research, mobility represents the third stage of mobile marketing. The first stage, she said, is when marketers realize they need a mobile presence. This often results in the launch of a mobile website. Stage two is the move to a “mobile-first” mindset, in which marketing initiatives are designed assuming consumers are viewing them primarily on a mobile device, as opposed to the desktop. Mobile apps are typically developed at this point, too.
The third, and most mature, stage is when marketers make the shift from mobile to “mobility.”
“This is where the best companies are today,” Ask said. “This is where they say, ‘You know what? It’s not really about mobile. What we really need to think about is leaning toward the customer and how we can provide a phenomenal customer experience.’ This move from mobile to mobility is really about thinking less about mobile as a standalone and more about how mobile fits into the overall customer journey.”
Matt Asay, VP of mobile at Adobe (CMO.com’s parent company), provided an example to distinguish between mobile and mobility. Imagine “Jill Smith” sitting on the train browsing through clothes on an online site. That experience is mobile, he told CMO.com. Mobility is when Jill downloads the retailer’s app and walks around her town “with the store in her pocket.”
“If I’ve downloaded a Best Buy app or some other retail app, and I’m walking, or even driving, by the store, what is the experience or the notification I get that draws me in either through a discount or just a reminder that I have something to pick up there?” Asay explained. “How can a retailer enhance that experience while I’m in the store, blend the physical and the digital worlds? That, to me, speaks to mobility. ... It’s really about that brand’s experience for the consumer as she goes about her day.”
Planning For Mobile Moments
Mobility introduces a companion concept: the mobile moment. This represents the brief time a marketer has to transform a customer experience when a person reaches for his mobile device. “We say the battleground to win, serve, and retain your customers is in their mobile moments,” Forrester’s Ask explained.
Mobile moments are about what somebody can do with the brand in the 15 seconds at the light, or 60 seconds on line in the store, Adobe’s Asay added.
“Brands are busy building these apps, these deep immersive experiences that are heavy on information, and while there is a time and place for that type of engagement, a lot of the time, consumers, we just don't have time for that,” he said.
Brands should strive for three types of mobile moments—owned, manufactured, and borrowed, Ask said.
An owned mobile moment is when a brand’s customers raise their hands and indicate they’d like to engage. Examples include downloading a brand’s app, signing up for mobile alerts, and going to the brand’s website. Owned mobile moments are the most basic and common, Ask said.
Next, a manufactured mobile moment occurs when a brand creates some sort of entertainment or utility to entice consumers. Examples include Clorox’s MyStain app, which contains a library of tips and tricks to eliminate stains, and Zyrtec’s AllergyCast app, which helps users manage their allergies.
Finally, a borrowed mobile moment is when a brand engages with consumers where they already are, such as in a Facebook stream. According to Forrester, consumers spend about 72% of their time on their mobile phones within about 12 different app categories, such as social media, video, instant messaging, music, email, and maps.
For now, most mobile moments occur within standalone brand apps, but eventually, Ask said, they’ll happen on third-party platforms, such as Facebook—i.e., a borrowed mobile moment. She also predicted that the move from mobile to mobility will eventually bring people into the world of a virtual assistant.
“Amazon Echo is a good, early example of this,” Ask said. “I suspect in the future I will say to my Amazon Echo, ‘Hey, book me a flight from San Francisco to Chicago,’ and while Amazon doesn’t sell airline tickets, Amazon is going to be able to tap into that section of the United Airlines app and book me that ticket because it knows who I am, it knows my frequent flyer number, I’ve given it permission to access my credit card, and it’s just going to be able to get that done for me.”
Brian Wong, founder of Kiip, said the concept of mobile moments is a long-term strategy, agnostic of device and platform, that lets marketers focus on the core moments their product services.
“The moments strategy allows them to tap into connected-device activity across categories,” Wong told CMO.com. “For example, if you want to own ‘tired’ moments, your Apple Watch may know that through your biometrics and your connected car may know it through the reaction time it’s detecting. Both are moments Red Bull can serve.”
Marketing, in general, is moving to service and addressing needs, he added. “Real estate and impressions are becoming inadequate,” Wong said. “It comes down to the moments of need that we can find and address.”
Michael Becker, founder of MCordis, has been preaching about the need for a shift from mobile to mobility for several years. Mobile is really about technology, he said, while mobility is the experiences an individual can have with a brand through a mobile device. And now he’s talking about what comes after mobility.
“I see it going from mobile to mobility to connectivity, and connectivity happens when mobility starts occurring across multiple devices, multiple networks, and multiple sensors. You essentially start creating what many refer to as the mesh network,” Becker told CMO.com.
That will lead marketers to the “age of the connected individual.”
“This is where marketers really need to start going forward,” Becker said. “The implications are profound. If you think about the way marketers have used the functions of marketing to engage and interact with the world, starting at the turn of the century, it was really about broadcasting messages and getting the word out. Then slowly, over time, it has become more and more targeted to getting that message out to specific audiences, down to specific segments, down to, now, specific individuals.”
Becker said he expects marketers will start to close the gap between the upper funnel and lower-level paid and owned media advertising. In between, they will drop the idea of intelligent, individualized communication. And as they build up their own databases and capabilities to serve and engage individuals on their own terms, intelligent, individualized communication will come to fruition.
By 2020, the average individual will have 10 connected devices and probably 140 different sensors, all of which will be collecting data about the individual.
“That data will either be under the control of the marketer, or the market, or the individual themselves, and there will be a three-pronged administration model of data happening in the future,” Becker said. “Marketer controls the data, individuals control data, and market controls data. That’s really going to be the battleground of the future. That’s what everybody’s fighting for because it’s the information that has the value that will ultimately drive the future of marketing.”
The connected individual already exists, Becker said, and, therefore, so must the “connected marketer.”
“Going forward, the next stage of evolution is from mobile, to mobility, to connectivity, and the emergence of the connected marketer,” he predicted.
See what the Twitterverse is saying about mobile marketing: