Mobile Marketing Evolution

Mobile Marketing Evolution - The Future

We kicked off last week with discussing the evolution of mobile marketing and so the question now begs: In what direction is mobile marketing headed for the future?

Considering the rate at which technology is evolving, there is no easy way to answer this question. If you think about how quickly all things tech have progressed hitherto, the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that there is no tangible way to know what lies beyond the horizon. Nevertheless, there is one thing to keep in mind that seems as certain as certain can be: Everything is going mobile.

Remember how at the beginning of this piece I stretched the definition of mobile marketing? Well, the reason we should re-examine the term “mobile marketing” is because everything is quickly becoming mobile.

Once upon a time (less than twenty years ago), telephones and desktop computers rooted into our landlines. Today, we have smartphones, laptops, smart watches, smart glasses, tablets – of all different shapes and sizes, all cuddling together through invisible sharing networks, accessible at anytime, anywhere. Also known as 'the internet of things'.

Game On

To wrap up this idea, I’ll take you back to this year’s Australian Open. In January of this year, Kia and its communication partners collaborated to create an interactive marketing campaign that truly exemplifies the future of mobile, multi-device marketing: Game On.

Using their smartphone as a “racket,” people were able to return an explosive serve from the world’s fastest server (and Australia’s very own), Sam Groth. What happened was this: First, you downloaded Kia's Game On app. When Sam Groth would come on screen, usually during an Aus Open ad-break, you’d pull out your smartphone, open up the app, and try to return his onscreen serve, by swinging your phone at it. If you returned it successfully, you were placed in the running to win a new Kia.

We own this plethora of connected gadgetry – all at once. And it seems that we engage with them, all at once. We send SMS and emails and browse the Internet on our smartphones while we stream television shows on our laptops, while we’re shopping for new shoes or groceries on our tablets, while we’re doing push ups and monitoring our heart-rates on our smart watches… and then showing off how fit we are through social media platforms on all of the aforementioned devices. And in terms of mobile marketing, this means more highly tailored, super personalised, marketing potential.

Hyper Personalised Mobile Marketing

You’ve probably already noticed that when you’re combing through the Internet (on whatever device) using Google, or ogling down your Facebook Feed, that the ads popping out at you reflect quite closely your own personal tastes and interests. If you have noticed this and were wondering why it was happening, the answer is because many larger companies use the information they’ve collected through your browsing habits to customise what you ads you see, ensuring that those ads align with things in which you’re interested.

So, for instance, let’s say on Friday you were Googling ‘outdoor furniture’. If on Sunday you were having a gander through Ebay, or scrolling through your Facebook Feed, or looking for Indian restaurants using Google – there’s a high chance that shops promoting outdoor furniture might pop up on your screen, as a banner ad or something similar. But it doesn’t stop there.

Whenever you use your credit card or debit card or a gift card, make a phone call, send a text, check your email, like someone on Facebook, or retweet a tweet – companies are collecting that data so they can market directly to your habits.

It’s gone so far, in fact, that Target knew of a girl’s pregnancy before her father did.

Target assigns each of their customers a guest ID number, which is linked to their credit card, name, or email address. That number is attributed to all your history with Target – purchase history, along with demographical information, either bought or acquired. Target statistician, Andrew Pole, was asked by his colleagues to create a formula that would be able to analyse the spending habits of people who were expecting a child. That is, a formula able to anticipate, based on shopping patterns, when someone is due. Of course, they did this so that they could send them coupons and pamphlets showcasing everything an expecting parent could possibly want – diaper deals, prams, baby food, cradles, parenting books, etc. And success is what he had.

A dad then started receiving brochures featuring baby stuff, addressed to his high school age daughter. And he was outraged. Initially, he had assumed that Target was encouraging her to get pregnant. (Admittedly, a rather strange conclusion to draw.) After having gone into Target to let his feelings be known, he discovered that his daughter was in fact already pregnant, hence the pamphlets. Target knew this, thanks to their fancy algorithms, before he did.

Myriad devices, all mobile, that understand your habits and patterns better than you yourself do. Which is where mobile marketing is headed.

The icing on the digital cake

Whether we like it or not, we have engineered a world where keeping our private lives private is a difficult thing to do. Everywhere we go we leave a trail of us. Our actions aren’t being monitored through security cameras or telescreens (you were close, Mr Orwell), but rather by the ways in which we communicate with the world through our mobile devices – the things we’re interested, where we’re looking for them, when we’re looking for them, how we’re looking for them. It’s all being logged, collated, and analysed.

And this is only the beginning. It’s useless to think of mobile marketing in terms of smartphone marketing anymore. The world of mobile marketing is only going to keep evolving. And fast. Mobile is everything, and everything is mobile. How you go about adjusting to these changes, and how quickly, is what’s important.