Friday, October 23, 2009

Living in a pocket

A new survey by Synovate reveals that 82% of Americans never leave home without their cell phones. Once upon a time, it was the American Express card. But it’s not just us in North America – half of Russian mobile users would rather lose their wallets than their phones, and 32% of people across the world surveyed said that they “couldn’t live without it.” By the end of 2010, 70% of all people will own one. Carriers everywhere rejoice!

Seems not so long ago we were carting around “mobile” devices the size of bricks – I used to own one.

But we’re no longer using our mobile phones solely for conversations and texts. These have become pocket-sized assistants, and are the thread that keeps our business and personal lives sewn together. Banking, dining, shopping, research, etc. I’ve written lengthy articles and submitted to editors from mine. So there’s no denying the importance of mobile in our daily lives, and the growing impact that mobile is having on the way businesses communicate and connect with their audiences.

Marketing research firm The Kelsey Group expects an increase in the mobile advertising market from $160 million in 2008, to $3.1 billion in 2013. That’s a HUGE increase. And in the next few years, millions of us (who haven’t already) will be opting for smartphones over PC’s – for both cost and convenience.

Smartphones have already forged ahead into the social media arena. According to USA today, about 65 million of Facebook's 300 million members are mobile users – that’s more than triple the amount of just eight months ago.

These numbers more than suggest that mobile marketing has moved far beyond the experimental stage – this is fantastic news for marketers in just about every industry. The limitations to mobile’s use and capabilities are really only limited by our inability to imagine the future.

Mobile is giving businesses and brands the ability to live in their customers’ pocket. What’s so bad about that? To me, this is an exciting moment. Despite the very challenging environment we’re in, mobile - like social media – is proving that it’s a powerful communication tool that is here to stay.

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