At our recent Digital Outlook 2015 in Singapore, Meri Rosich offered some new insights about mobile with examples that are useful to every marketer – no matter where your mobile strategy is now.  

In this post I’ll roundup a few highlights from the inspiring talk.

Even in 2015 mobile is a great, new opportunity

One of the first facts that Meri pointed out to us is that 91% of smartphone owners have their device in arms’ reach 24/7.  

And though usage varies, it’s really the first time that we, as marketers, are able to reach our customers on a 24/7 basis.

What this means, though, is that we need to be prepared to handle our customers at all times. Shopping, product support, service issues, and plain ol’ complaints need to be managed so that customers also see you as available when they want you as well.

A growing part of marketing then requires for any gaps in service to be filled or managed appropriately. Mobile ‘dead air’ is simply not tolerated these days!

Finding new ‘mobile habits’ is key

And while you work on being more available, you also have to do more in order to get – and keep – their attention.

One underutilized way of doing so, Meri reports, is to understand that ‘being mobile’ does not just mean being able to access information – but it also means a lot of new habits.  

Habits that are only possible with an ever-present mobile device.

These new habits are so important to marketers that Meri told us that ‘habits are the new viral’.  That is, if you can tap into your customers’ new habits effectively, then you stand to enjoy the organic growth that comes from a viral campaign.

Example 1

As an example, Meri pointed out that consumers now take photos wherever they are – e.g. while shopping for clothes – and can post them on social media to get instant feedback from their networks.

So, your job then is to discover how your customers are using their mobiles and integrate your products into these new habits.

Ikea has done this very well with its augmented reality home planner.

With the Ikea app, customers can take a picture of a place in their house and virtually ‘install’ Ikea furniture there to see how it gels with the room.

That certainly generates interest and lets the customer make a bee-line to the product when they visit the store.

After doing it once, it is hard to think that one would ever just buy furniture again without at least trying it out. Voila – a new habit!

Watch: Ikea’s Augmented Reality Home Planner

Enhance your customers’ mobile experiences

Besides new habits, there are also things that customers have always done, but suddenly with the features available on a smartphone you can enhance – and lodge yourself into – that experience.

Example 2

Though people took pictures of whiteboards and meeting Post-Its previously, 3M cleverly came up with a connection between this existing behavior and a popular app – Evernote.  

To capitalize on its customers’ familiarity with the popular notes storage app, 3M integrated the photo-taking of Post-Its with Evernote – and now Post-It snaps are analyzed for text, arranged by note colour, and then automatically saved in Evernote.

Watch: 3M Integrates with Evernote

Self-expression is another very import part of mobile

A commonly-overlooked fact is that a mobile device is often a person’s only ‘personal’ computer. Desktops are typically shared in a household and IT departments at work have made sure that we never feel too much at home on our office computer.

So, to capitalize on this personal connection, marketers should devise a mobile strategy that helps consumers use their product as a way to express themselves.

Example 3

One company that has excelled at this in a surprising way is Coca-Cola. Its personalized Coke bottles and ‘Share-a-Coke’ selfie campaign have resulted in millions of photos of Coke products which would never have been taken without it.

Watch: Share-a-Coke-selfie

Mobile strategy should be localized

Another very important aspect – tied in with the habits – is that ‘mobile’ means very different things in different countries.

And, because of this, we as marketers should know about and act on regional differences.

For example, WhatsApp is almost required in Singapore to keep in touch with people, but in the US it is seen only as something people use when they are travelling abroad.  

Chinese consumers are, again, different from both Americans and Singaporeans in many ways – including their mobile chat network, WeChat.

Example 4

Meri noted that Nike realized this and developed an amazing campaign for the platform where Chinese consumers could take a picture, send it via WeChat, and have a shoe made in the colors in the picture. Great engagement – and a very shareable experience.

Watch: WeChat Nike shoe with a mobile pic.

Research your strategy

Finally, Meri offered some encouraging words for weary marketers who don’t know where to start. Just look at what other people are doing and get inspired from success stories.

She pointed out that there are some incredibly innovative uses of mobile devices out there and though some may fail – it’s worth taking the risks to benefit from the first-mover advantage.

Being innovative – even on a small scale – is much better than just doing a responsive site and saying that you are ‘mobile’.

Trends in Mobile

So to wrap it up, we asked Meri what trends she saw in mobile that would become popular in 2015:

  • A simpler app experience for consumers.  That is, instead of many apps, brands will combine apps into one central feature-full app.
  • Increased personalization of mobile apps – so that customers can enjoy unique experiences with brands via apps.
  • And finally, wearable technology. It was noted that wearables are projected to be a $30bn-$50bn industry by 2018 – so we should certainly ‘watch’ out for new mobile devices to emerge this year.