By: Graeme Sims
We’re at a time when global connectivity is faster, and more prevalent than ever, with broadband internet being almost ubiquitous worldwide since 2014, and 5G expected to eschew in mobile connectivity speeds multitudes faster than ever before by 2020.
Since the induction of the iPhone in 2007, we’ve seen continuous changes in the way we interact with each other and our environments, smartphones have gone from something fringe, that only tech enthusiast with the deepest pockets owned, to almost global adoption, over 35 million people in Canada are expected to own smart phones by 2020.
We like, we share, we form social groups that shape our beliefs and sentiments, and the way we consume media has morphed into something almost indistinguishable from 10 years ago. Gone are the days of a single source for our information, where we would tune into a handful of TV channels, or 1-2 websites every night to catch up on current affairs.
We now turn to our phones for information, or for a quick shot of dopamine from affirmation by friends & strangers, this we do on average 80 times a day (think about your habits for a minute). A dinner with close friends often cannot go more than 15 minutes, without someone checking how many likes they got on that story they posted of their kale salad, or scrolling through our media feeds in between sets at the gym. Long commutes to work have been made slightly more bearable with a selection of over 300,000 gaming apps available on Android alone to fill your time, who knew Flappy Bird would become the sensation it was (rest in piece my feathered friend).
Even our shopping experience is entering into new era of personalization, and connectivity, with retailers introducing supplementary apps to enrich the in-store experience, in an effort to fight the so-called “retailpocalypse”. Consumer shopping habits have changed alongside our media consumption, as people increasingly seek convenience, and availability of their products and information, which has led to non-linear path to purchase.
All this has led to an incredible opportunity for marketers to be savvier than ever in how they reach their consumers. Attaining “universal availability”, which Professor Byron Sharp, the author of How Brands Grow, states is what brands must strive for to achieve growth in a modern world, which means keeping your brand top of mind and increasing purchase opportunities.
You can do this by optimizing your media channels, and being smart in the way you outshout competitors. No longer do you need the largest media budgets to get in front of consumers, the advent of the unique device ID, and persistent mobile GPS & WiFi connectivity, has allowed us to observe those media habits, and the locations that people visit, to effectively profile consumers based on their real-world behaviors. As Alex Wright, our Head of Insight at Blis stated, any brand can now create the “illusion” of universal availability, by reaching the right people, at the time, with the right messaging on their connected devices.
This is where mobile geo-location has changed the way we approach marketing, we now have a better understanding of consumer behaviors than ever before, and by sending a nudge at the right time, we can drive purchase intent, awareness, and consideration.
But consumers are also not going to stand idly by as companies irresponsibly use their data, 2018 was a year of reckoning for many companies as consumers began waking up to way their online behaviors are tracked and used. With GDPR entering its second year, and many companies failing to meet the required guidelines, one has to wonder how close behind Canada is with similar protections, are Canadian companies ready for a massive shift like this? That’s why companies must be ethical in their practices early on, lest they lose the trust of the consumer for good.
Consumers are getting smart, and so must marketers. With an ever-growing number of cord cutters, and people having run out of patience for irrelevant advertising, adopting a mobile first approach to an omnichannel marketing strategy will be essential in the years to come, as the intelligence it provides for segmenting like minded individuals is invaluable.
I look ahead with excitement, and uncertainty of what advancements the coming years will bring to martech and mobile. The proliferation of AI, and machine learning will undoubtably bring with it even greater opportunities to understand the consumer, and along with-it greater relevancy and increased brand sentiment. Ultimately it will be brands that effectively harness these capabilities that will survive this new world order, and to that end, Blis will continue to help brands navigate this space, and stay at the cutting edge of this rapidly evolving, connected world.