Mobile Mind Shift

If 20 years ago, or even 30 years ago you had asked a group of consumers how they would prefer businesses to contact them, the overwhelming response would have been, by email!

Last year (Feb 2018) GSMA the world’s largest organisation of mobile companies asked the same question of a consumer audience stretching across 4 continents and published the data. No surprises here, 89% of consumer respondents advised that they prefer to deal with a company by direct messaging above any other form of communication. 79% of that same survey group said they would prefer if the messaging was visual. See this article on the The Pictorial Superiority Effect.

Now I don’t know how many of you are “frogs in pots”1 reading this right now. However, 89% of consumers is a big number, it is probably about the time that you recognise that there has been a massive consumer expectation shift toward instant messaging and abundance of marketing communication systems.

When I refer to “this aspect” of the mobile mind shift, I am not saying that marketers aren’t into mobile big time, I know everybody gets Instagram, Facebook, WhatsAPP etc. Marketers have done a great job in adjusting their broad based marketing activities (what we use to call display) to mobile, this is now a huge component of the current marketers activity and will remain so as the role of social marketing continues to explode.

When I refer to “this aspect” of the mobile mind shift I am actually referring to direct to consumer communications. These communications are the best efforts at 1:1 component of business communications – these are the direct business communications we send out to a consumer address with as much personalisation as we can draw together containing as much context as our systems will allow us access to and we trust to be correct.

This is the area that needs a re-think. If email is not the way consumers want to receive this information then there has to be an alternative approach. We are not going to stop emailing, it works, it produces revenue and everything is in place in most organisations – so we are not going to stop turning that handle. However, as a marketing tool it’s time to recognise that email has shifted from direct to display and organisations need to seriously consider their strategy for alternate direct engagement channel that is consistent with consumers mobile engagement expectations.

This is perhaps one of the most important issues that marketers and ecommerce professionals need to come to grips with. How will companies have direct contact with consumers that is personal, contextual, trusted and authentic.

The mobile user is a completely different being to a desktop user – even the terminology speaks to the differences – we are not browsing on mobile we are using – the terminology of mobile is more participatory, more involved, more “I am doing something”.

Just look around you and compare a desktop browser to a mobile user. Our posture changes when we look into our small screen. We submerge into our mobile world and as a consequence we become absorbed and almost ignorant of the things around us. We become impatient, information hungry, screen flicking, fast absorbing, switching topic, input greedy, self interested information seeking islands where instant gratification is not fast enough.

I am reminded of the Microsoft Canada Study into attention span of screen using humans with the research claiming that in 2013 the average attention span was 8 seconds, one less than a goldfish.

The study, which specifically looked at how Canadians’ attention spans have been affected by digital lifestyles, was aimed at marketers as it is apparently harder than ever to snag and keep consumers’ attention. “Canadians lose interest, FAST,” the research states. “They’re suckers for novelty. It’s more exciting to jump from subject to subject or device to device than to concentrate on a single thing at any one time.”

I have attached some data that supports we are different beings when on the mobile. We spend about half the time on sites, and about half the time on each visit when on mobile than on desktop.

The Summary

  • 90% of Consumers over 4 continents prefer to deal with a business using messaging above phone, email, direct mail
  • Mobile users spend about half the time on a mobile transaction than they do when on a desktop transaction
  • Mobile users are greedy for content and lose attention fast
  • You have about 8 seconds to gain the attention of a mobile user
  • 79% of consumers prefer visual messages above text
  • Probably time to consider what the Mobile Mind Shift really means and implement strategies accordingly.

1Referring to the frog in a pot that dies peacefully as the water is heated gradually up to the point where it falls asleep as is boiled to death, as opposed to the frog who is thrown into boiling water and immediately realises the dangerous situation.

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