We see the predictions every year: This will be the year of mobile!
Every year, the prediction falls short and every year the pundits dust it off and bring it back out.
It isn’t because mobile adoption is slower than expected, or even because marketers aren’t paying attention to mobile.
We won’t see the year of mobile because mobile isn’t a new channel we switch to, it is an evolution in behavior. Mobile is offering new and better ways for us to do the same things we have done from desktops and laptops.
But But But… Wait!
- But mobile means we are always connected! Remember the switch from the dialup modem to always on DSL or cable? Remember cutting the Ethernet cable for wi-fi? Mobile is just one more step in digital’s always-on evolution.
- But apps are uniquely mobile! Remember the Yahoo and Google desktop widgets? Have you seen the apps available for Chrome or Salesforce? Apps are often a better way to deliver functionality. The drive towards improving functionality and user experience is not unique to mobile. Even Windows 8 is adopting it!
- But customers are adopting mobile! Yes, just like they adopted broadband and laptops in the last decade.
- But mobile is local! Try Googling supermarket from your desktop and you will see results near you. Mobile is a vast improvement in location based services, but it is still evolutionary. Fine grained location on a mobile is a far smaller change than the introduction of TV or the internet was.
Not only is mobile a further evolution of existing trends, but mobile devices and digital marketing are evolving, removing many of the distinctions that once existed.
Today, combining mobile devices and marketing communication does not create the problems it once did.
- Emails are mobile accessible. Today I’m floored when I get an email that doesn’t render well on my mobile.
- Websites are more mobile accessible. I rarely stumble across a site that isn’t functional on my smartphone, even if it doesn’t have a mobile-specific version.
- Mobile devices are more capable. My old BlackBerry struggled to display the simplest WAP page (it would be about 5 years old if it was still living). In contrast, my current phone, although it is two years old, handles the full version of most sites without any problem.
One day mobile will be the primary screen. Until then, mobile accessibility will slowly pervade all elements of digital marketing until marketers consider mobile devices and usage modes a part of online usage.
Mobile integration into marketing, not mobile marketing, is the future for mobile.
What other ways do you see mobile and traditional digital coming together? Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).
P.S. Yes, this post was drafted on a smartphone.