That I founded a digital marketing company in India in late 1997 is mildly unfortunate. For about 14 years, we kept saying that the future is digital. While I kept doggedly reiterating “future is Digital, it always will be,” much to our dismay, digital arrived in India in 2011. It was akin to the end of 14-year long vanvas (penance) and arrival of a grand Diwali.
Until last year, mobile seemed to be suffering from a similar fate as well. For the last five years, we kept hearing that “the future is Mobile”; however, not until 2014 did we witness this come to pass. Now everyone is fairly convinced that Mobile is going to be the future of many more domains than just Marketing.
Following are some trends that I foresee in the Mobile industry:
The early days of mobile marketing were marred by pesky text messages, Tele-calling etc. The future of Mobile marketing will have to be strictly permission-based; any brand that violates the permission aspect of mobile marketing shall lose the war of Mobile marketing.
Right Person, Right Place, Right Time – Mobile marketing is all about precise segmentation of consumers and then ensuring that one reaches out to them at the right location and right time. No other advertising medium ever had the capability of accomplishing the above; it is critical that marketers effectively use these strengths of mobile.
Catalyst across organisations – One can argue that, “It is not about mobile marketing anymore, it is marketing in the mobile age.” Mobile can be effective for marketing—it is great for information dissemination, for cross-selling and upselling, and can help in understanding consumer trends, etc. Marketers would need to play a role that is beyond traditional marketing; great marketers would need to learn how they can use Mobile as a multiplier across every aspect of the organisation.
Currently, broadcast content is being delivered on mobile. In order for content to work on mobile, it would need to be created for mobile. Just shortening the duration would not be adequate; it would need to be made interactive as well as optimised to use up the full capability of mobile devices.
Experience rather than Sales – Mobile is an amazing engagement medium. Imagine a landing page of an automobile wherein one can rotate the car through motion of the device, swipe through different colours, click to see video of the interiors, change the seat covers through a pinch. Having said that, would a consumer buy a car through his mobile device? Probably not. The key is to understand that just because a medium has ecommerce capability, it does not mean that its strengths are e-commerce.
It is a matter of time before we witness ‘plastic’ die out. Mobile will act as a wallet, but also act like a virtual credit card. Mobile device manufacturers are already becoming payment platforms, e.g., Apple Pay. I fail to see why mobile phone/wearables would not replace plastic credit cards.
Ubiquitous consumption of Content
Today, the sight of someone watching a video on an escalator is fairly ubiquitous; even if there is an opportunity of 30 seconds to consume content, consumers will jump at it.
Location-based marketing would go to the next level. The ability of mobile devices to pinpoint the exact location of the user would transform the way we engage with consumers.
Although Google Glass is widely seen as an experiment that did not take off all that well, augmented reality shall become the way of life. Imagine a possibility wherein you could point your phone to an office building and it would show you what jobs are vacant in that building. Every morning you find yourself looking at the building opposite your house.
Connection of Internet of things with Mobile Devices
As internet of things become a reality, mobile devices shall become a hub through which one would operate the internet of things; for example, I just bought the Harmony Hub—it makes my phone become a universal remote for all my home devices, air conditioners, Tata Sky, my Gamut Amp, etc.
Google Glass next
Unfortunately, I was among the first bunch of people in India to have invested USD 2000 on Google Glass. The only purpose it served was that it helped 1000 people take selfies with it. However, the possibilities that Google Glass engenders are mind-blowing. Imagine Google Glass telling you whether the person you are speaking is telling the truth or lying… God save the husbands of the world!