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Capital Region Business Journal Article

Article Originally published in the Captial Region Business Journal - November 2010

Title: You can't avoid mobile revolution, so plan your strategy carefully

By: Jonny Buroker

Millions more are mobile

According to a recent report from eMarketer, the number of people in the U.S. who will access the Internet from their web-enabled smartphones is accelerating.  eMarketer revised their November 2009 forecast and now estimate that 85.5 million will use their mobile device to access the Web in 2010.  That’s 28 percent of the U.S. population, an increase from 17 percent in 2009.  By 2014, the number of mobile web users will reach 142.1 million people! 

Not impressed yet?  Consider these outtakes from Mobile Marketing Day, held in New York on March 5, 2010:

·         According to Alex Barza, a New York-based mobile ad sales lead at Google, “Mobile will soon have more reach than TV, radio or the Internet.”  Mr. Barza went on to say “Search has been our core business for many years now, and we (Google) actually receive many more searches on mobile than we do desktops in developing markets.”

·         Morgan Stanley predicts that more users will access the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs within five years. Market researcher IDC is even more bullish, predicting this will happen by 2013.

what is driving the smartphone revolution?

The first smartphone (the iPhone from Apple) came out in 2007, cost $600 and only ran on the Edge network.  Today, consumers have several smartphones to choose from, they are one-third the cost and are 20 times faster than the originals.  With the deployment of the fourth generation (4G) cellular wireless network and its gigabit access speed, the performance of mobile Internet will rival the desktop.

how are people using their smartphones?

Predictably, email has been the most heavily used feature, followed by access to portals (e.g., Yahoo, AOL, MSN.com, etc.), social networks/blogs (e.g., Facebook, Twitter), search, news, entertainment, and several smaller categories.  However, when it comes to the amount of time spent using their smartphone features, social networking tops the list with 22.7 percent of total time spent on their smartphone (August 2, 2010 nielsenwire blog), followed by online games at 10.2 percent and email at 8.3 percent.

why should my business have a mobile strategy?

What this all points to is that mobile Internet access and usage will eventually overtake usage via laptops and desktops.  Mobile devices have freed consumers to access information anytime and anywhere. The question your business should be asking is, “are we ready to take advantage of this mobile revolution?” 

If your business hasn’t develop a strategy and a plan for this growing segment of consumers, you could be missing out on a tremendous opportunity to grow your business and gain an advantage over your competition (assuming they haven’t already started implementing their own mobile strategy). 

Keep in mind that your mobile strategy is an extension of your entire company, including your brand, your products, your image, your reputation and your people.  Make sure that when you develop and implement your mobile strategy that you don’t forget why and for whom the strategy is being implemented: your mobile customer.  If your mobile strategy negatively impacts them, it’s time to revisit your strategy.

what to include in mobile Marketing strategy

There are several areas that need to be addressed by your mobile strategy, including:

1.      Website strategy: The mobile web is a wide open field in web development and web design.  Businesses are converting their existing websites to be mobile compatible (e.g., fast loading, less graphics, less clutter).

2.      Search strategy: in addition to your existing SEO and/or PPC strategies for showing up near the top of the search engines, businesses with local operations (e.g., dentists, auto dealers, restaurants, retailers, and any other business that consumers are looking for in their area) should focus on getting their sites to the top of Google, Yahoo, and Bing local map listings (see May 2010 and June 2010 CRBJ articles,  Big Three search engines offer a business perk: local search”, and “Yes, local search is a handy tool; now, focus on getting to first page”).

3.      Social Media strategy: with consumers spending most of their mobile time on the social networks, now is a great time to implement or fine tune your own social media strategy. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube are four of the biggest, fastest growing and most visited sites.

4.      Advertising strategy: the growth of smartphone web browsing will create a very different type of mobile usage. Advertisers will be able to reach consumers with both mobile search and display ad campaigns.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Develop your strategy and implementation plan now so you can capture your share of the mobile market.

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