Mobile, Social Media

Mind the mobile gap: fast-moving Caribbean customers threaten to leave their marketers behind

mobile gap

Saying mobile is a fast moving technology is a statement all marketers will nod to. Less agreeable would be to say that while today’s customer is mobile, the marketer is slower; sat at his or her desk, contributing to the ‘Mobile Gap’. This gap separates marketers not just from their customers but also from opportunities to connect mobile with other marketing channels.

Research into Caribbean smartphone users on the Digicel mobile network shows that the average user is looking at their screen for 3.8 hours a day. Therefore, mobile isn’t just the first screen, it actually owns an entire day of the week! While marketers are gradually adapting — “This is my billboard!” a smartphone-wielding auto dealership manager recently told this writer — the reality is that many marketers are yet to grasp the disruption taking place around them.

Is this them you? Then reconsider the size of your budget item marked mobile in relation to your target audience? Chances are it probably didn’t keep pace with growth in smartphone usage. Especially if you’re a brand already grappling with the difficulty in reaching younger customers then the answer to your problems shouldn’t be too far away.

The customer is constantly moving, constantly using their personal device in ways businesses just weren’t built to deal with. Consider the simple but serious implications that customers are constantly searching for information, but are you publishing content to provide that and perhaps investing in Google Adwords search-based advertising to exploit potentially cheap keywords due to a lack of awareness by your competitor?

google micro moments mobile search

In fairness, this is not purely the responsibility of marketers, as mobile disrupts the entire business from sales to customer care. Certainly in larger companies responsibility for digital should cut across and connect departments. But then responsibility tends to be left solely for marketing departments.

Often you might be faced with reporting to a CEO with a traditional mindset. Understandably perhaps, he still can’t quite forgive you for the time the social media agency you hired recommended Snapchatting your next management meetings among other “out of the box” ideas made in response to his demand to generate marketing return on investment.

At Silverstone Solutions, where I work as a consultant, a case study we’re especially proud of is Beer Ballaz, the campaign we did with Digicel MORE for Diageo (now Heineken) in Jamaica. The key elements were under the bottle cap codes; SMS and programmatic advertising; all leading to a custom web-based application.

red stripe jamaican beer

The point there is yes you do need to shift spend from traditional to mobile, because this works, but in no way is this also to suggest you abandon traditional marketing altogether. Rather you can look at ways in which you fully integrate mobile within a comprehensive 360-marketing campaign because mobile is unique in being able to connect all of them.

Additionally, you can even help fix a problem with traditional media, namely a lack of measurability among your existing media channels. By using unique calls to action for each channel — whether it be an SMS prompt on TV; a weblink on social media; or a code on your physical product — you can then test which drives the most traffic.

Post condensed from a guest lecture I gave to Integrated Marketing Communications MA students at CARIMAC, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona.


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