28 Feb 2012

[This entry is post one in a two-part series about utilizing mobile strategies for your business.]

Believe it or not, mobile usage now rivals that of print, and is fast becoming go-to method for customers to gather and publish information.

Consumers are going mobile for their various everyday activities and entertainment needs, trading traditional media like books, magazines, and newspapers for a portable device. Even more? Smartphones and other handheld systems (like iPads) are starting to replace household computers.

More and more, people are turning to their mobile device for tasks such as bill paying, finding new restaurants and activities, and offering instantaneous reviews of their experiences at traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Reactions to and announcements of breaking news, secret sales, or a gathering of people can happen anytime, anywhere with the help of mobile technology.

Of all recent trends in digital technology, mobile seems to be the most important for businesses. It’s vital for marketers and business owners to understand how mobile will affect the way customers interact with their business through a mobile device and develop a strategy to harness this evolving medium.

First: understand who uses mobile devices.

Did you know that of all mobile phone users, approximately 42% of them own a smart phone? Of those smart phone users, 61% conduct local business searches on their phone? And, that’s just the start. Most initial research about a company occurs on the mobile phone, with more detailed analysis being conducted on a tablet-type device.

Over 60% of mobile shoppers are under 35 years old. Mobile shoppers tend to be more affluent than most consumers: over 70% of mobile shoppers earn more than $50,000 each year with 34% earning more than $100,000 annually.

And, while younger folks are leading the surge in mobile marketplace, each age group shows rapid growth in their mobile usage. These trends suggest that no matter your target demographic, you should probably count on a significant percentage of your customers using mobile devices to access information about your business. 

Second: understand how customers use mobile.

The most popular applications for searching are Google and Yahoo! (not reallly a surprise). From there, customers can read reviews, visit your website (if they can find it), and access information. Then, when they want to share information about you, customers turn to third party applications like:

Google Maps (64%)
Yahoo (52%)
Yelp (31%)

Customer behavior is the most important aspect of new technology. When it comes to your business, you need to understand how your target customer is using mobile and how your business can adapt to make your customer more satisfied during the process of gathering information. In addition, it’s critical that you make it easy to spread the word about you as their experience unfolds.

Mobile device users are consuming and producing content. They’re using their phones to write reviews, interact with companies, get directions or location hours, compare prices and accomplish practical tasks like making payments via apps and web browsers.

But, to understand how mobile will impact your business you need to start with an understanding of your customer and figure out how they’ll interact with your brand through a mobile device. Then, you can develop a mobile strategy that works for your company.

Stay tuned. Monday, we'll reveal the questions every company should ask in relation to their mobile presence and give you the basics you need to get started developing a mobile strategy.