Barely a day goes past without an announcement of a new application for the Apple iPhone. Insurance companies, TV chefs
, publishers, fitness companies
, rail companies
and games developers. You name it and there is an iPhone application for it.
You would think that the whole of the British population had an iPhone judging by the amount of media attention the device receives each week. The iPhone does deserve the attention it is getting. It has completely revolutionised the way in which people use their mobile phone. It is much for a 'lifestyle device' now because it goes beyond mere communication. It is now something which is helpful beyond talking.
There is also much talk in the digital media industry where 2009 was deemed to be the year of the mobile when, finally, the mobile phone became the avenue through which we conducted much of our lives and through which marketers communicated with their customers.
But, the reality is that mobile phones like the iPhone are still 'minority sports' in so much that only a small percentage of users have an iPhone or competing 'smartphones' in the UK.Most of the UK population still has a regular phone which they use for calling people and sending text messages.
The gulf between the hope and expectation of the marketers and the reality of customers is understandable. An iPhone is quite an expensive item to buy and run, despite the recently introduced competition to carrier O2 of Orange
, and Tesco
However, improvements in the availability of mobile internet access, competitive devices to the iPhone and the increasing usage of mobile devices for social networking, emailing and shopping look set to make smartphone usage grow in the UK more rapidly than has been seen in 2009.
However, marketers have to be careful how they approach customers through their mobile phones. The traditional 'push marketing' is going to have a negative effect through mobiles in a society which is increasingly used to social media where customers are recommended to products, brands and services by their peer group. Increasingly, people are experiencing products not through direct advertising but through games, tools and useful applications provided by companies when they are online.
So, if 2010 is to be the year of the mobile, then make sure you provide great experiences of your product or service to your audience through their mobile phones to make it a mutually delightful moment. Otherwise, the year of the mobile will become the year of mobile spam.
New Business Director