Some contradictions and variables with mobile sales: How much do they apply to your own business?

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mobile device marketing

Harvey Schachter ┬áhas written an article in the Globe and Mail: Rethink your strategies for mobile success,” which raises some challenging questions about marketing through mobile device media.

Hindering growth are four contradictions yet to be sorted out. People seek spontaneity but are predictable and value certainty in their shopping and favor stores they are familiar with. People find advertising annoying, but they are missing out on great buys. People want choice and freedom, but are easily overwhelmed. People protect their privacy, but they increasingly use their personal data as currency.

Schachter quotes Anindya Ghose at New York University’s Stern School of Business, as placing the mobile economy at 4 per cent of global GDP, with significant growth on the way. “People spend about a quarter of their time with media on mobiles these days, but companies are spending only about 12 per cent of their ad dollars on that avenue, so growth is inevitable.”

Obviously, these results apply to the general/consumer economy rather than the AEC world, which has always been slower than most to change because of marketing and social trends. In any case, I doubt anyone will give your business a contract to design or build a new school because of a mobile phone ad; and even if you are a residential renovator working with a more mass-market audience, the scale of decision and time to decide goes beyond any impulsive purchases you might elect to make while you are fiddling with your tablet device on a subway.

Still, here are some of the interesting variables that researchers have discovered so far:

Crowdedness. It turns out that commuters on a crowded subway train are about twice as likely to respond to a mobile offer by making a purchase as people on non-crowded trains. And the more crowded, the better for marketing. (Though I wonder if there is a limit to this — I can’t imagine it being very easy to answer any kind of offer when you are crammed standing-room into a tight train compartment.)

Trajectory: If you know where the person is coming from, you can sometimes see trends for the future. For example, a visitor to a mall which visits three high-end stores is more likely to respond to a “high-end” offer from a similar retailer than someone who hasn’t been in the other stores.

Social dynamics: “We respond differently to cues when we are alone, with family or with friends.” It turns out people are ready to spend more when travelling with friends than family.

Weather: It’s good to be sunny — purchases increase by 9 per cent over wet weather. “Time to purchase from receipt of a mobile ad in 42-per faster in sunny weather.”

How do you interpret this data? Again, I think the marketing dynamics are quite different for high-end business-to-business (or business to institutional) sales than for impulsive consumer purchases, but the fact remains that mobile tools are increasingly important in the remote-based AEC industry.

I’m reminded of a meeting some five years ago at a major high technology company, where staff said: “Mobile is important and we’re investing major resources in it.” The observations were prophetic and thankfully I’ve bought into that business with a profitable shares investment. Keep mobile communications and marketing in mind and give it a priority.

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