Mobile Marketing
iPad, iPad, iPad...
That's all we seem to hear at the moment - and other manufacturers are also getting involved. But the gadget is not the market!
For many years I have been telling people that the future of marketing was mobile. The Internet has gone mobile, with smartphones (or if you want the Apple branding - iPhone) and now gadgets like the iPad mean that people access the web on the go. Vehicles are being fitted with WiFi equipment, MP3 players and Sat Nav software.
The example I gave was of a WiFi enabled vehicle that displayed the message that in 1 mile the driver can stop for a McDonalds. A few hundred yards away from the restaurant, the driver receives a voucher to their computer and on via bluetooth on their mobile phone for an offer related to a meal.
So what does that mean in terms of Marketing?
Marketing is returning to its local roots. Before the days of mass media, local posters, local offers, etc were all the rage. Marketers could not reach customers further afield! We now have the ability to reach out internationally as well as using local services such as Bluetooth, WiFi and WiMax. Gadgets such as smartphones and tablet computers will lead the way and marketers will follow - often too slowly.
Many years ago I undertook a trial using MMS-enabled phones and bar-code vouchers. Back then (2001) it was a failure because the infrastructure was not in place, and the technology did not provide the quality needed. Now such technology allows airlines to send boarding cards to smartphones saving paper and negating the need for a device with a printer attached.
In this blog, I am not telling marketers how to work in this new world (I am learning myself, and it is my USP), but I am trying to get marketers to understand that they will need to adapt to this changing marketplace. We need to remain relevant, and it is not about the technology, so start thinking...
iPhone hype
So the iPhone has finally been launched! The 'geeks' were sleeping on the pavements of London in anticipation of the launch - to the amusement of 'normal' shoppers. But why the hype?
iphone_homeApple has consistently been a major innovator in the field of electronic gadgetry, and their following has grown from the loyal computing community to which I belong. The iPod has become an iconic fashion item, undergoing three revamps since its launch. But will the iPhone cannibalise the iPod market? The iPhone does include a touch-screen iTunes players (iTunes is the computer-based player for the iPod), so the owner can listen to their music, browse the Internet and phone and text friends.
So far so good. So why is it hype? The iPhone uses an old technology for the mobile internet - namely GPRS - the telecoms industry is now focused on 3G (GPRS is 2.5G), so connections are not as fast as they could be - this will mean that downloading music and movies will take longer, therefore costing the user more.
The interface, whilst used on the new touch-screen iPod, is relatively untested, and could be subject to some teething problems. Touch screens also appear to have problems when they age, though it is interesting that the iPhone makes use of 'finger' power, rather than the PDA stylus - the sharp point on the stylus being a major contributor to the scratching of the screen. I don't know how useful 'finger' power is in cases such as mine, where I have fat fingers! Some keyboards cause my fingers problems!
So, will I be buying an iPhone? Not yet. I have just upgraded my phone to the new XDA - a smaller PDA, as I found that for 'normal use', the old XDAII was too large and cumbersome - it has a similar footprint to the iPhone! Whilst I am an Apple fanatic, I will be waiting until the release of the iPhone2. A tried and tested interface and 3G connectivity will provide the features I will be looking for. My iPod will probably need updating/replacing by then, and I am not the sort of person who needs the newest gadget - just the best!