I focus a lot of my research on marketing innovation and have been working on mobile (first as a marketing guy at a telco in 1998, then as an analyst) for more than 20 years. However, it is still fascinating to me to see how many marketers wrongly think their company has fixed mobile basics or believe they can leapfrog to AI, voice, and other new technologies.
I think a mobile-first focus on screen size, instead of the possibilities of personal interactions, prevents CMOs from thinking holistically about mobile as a core component of their engagement strategy. The sad reality is that most brands are still not mature at integrating and implementing mobile into their marketing strategy.
Mobile Will Integrate The Personal And The Branded
Mobile has just begun to serve as a platform for innovation — the glue that will bring together AI, voice-based assistants, visual search, mixed reality, and more. In the next three to five years, expect the following:
Mobile usage matures to mobility-always. Despite saturation in mature economies, Forrester expects the number of global smartphone subscribers to reach 3.9 billion by 2023, with Asia Pacific accounting for 73% of new subscribers in the next five years. More importantly, usage of mobile services will continue to spread across all generations, and more and more consumers will use video/TV, wallets, and health services on mobile.
Mobile is the glue that connects new technologies at scale. Mobile is like electricity in the second industrial revolution: It will enable and unleash a new wave of innovation, especially for AI, voice, visual search, or augmented reality.
Mobile is less remote-control and more real-time. With voice and sensors exploding into the world around us, the role of mobile will evolve. Mobile will thus slowly act less like a remote control to initiate our experiences. And foldable screens will drive the emergence of new mobile form factors. Coupled with 5G, we will instantly connect with the world around us and share real-time physical and virtual experiences.
Mobile remains the most friction-free interface. Despite rapid technology evolution, no new device will overtake the massive scale and popularity of mobile phones in the next 10 years. As explained here by my colleagues Julie Ask and Michael Facemire, mobile itself will become the choreographer of the next revolution in digital experience that powers and orchestrates an omnichannel blended user ecosystem.
CMOs should take four steps to make mobile the catalyst that activates and connects the total brand experience:
Define the role of mobile to achieve growth objectives.
Measure offline media impact (almost) in real time.
Leverage the power of traditional media.
Optimize the mobile share in the total marketing mix.