Personalization On Mobile: A Beginner’s Guide
By Tom Farrell
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the smartphone is – give or take – a mere 10 years old. So embedded has the modern mobile phone become in our lives that it feels almost impossible to imagine life without it. And don’t take my word for that, I read recently that a full third of UK residents would rather have their car stolen than lose their smartphone.
Just a moment’s reflection is all it takes to remind us how extraordinarily powerful the smartphone is, and how incredibly useful it can be. Sure, it can waste a lot of time too, but the ability to take it out of the pocket (some 150 times a day) and find our way, arrange a meeting, hail a cab or order in some groceries is genuinely liberating. The smartphone can be considered an unambiguously good thing, until….
Marketing Spoils Everything
Here’s the thing about marketing. Marketers love talking to people and getting them to buy things. We can talk fancy all day long but ultimately that’s what is going on. And how convenient that pretty much 100% of the people marketers want to sell to have decided to carry around a digital device in their pocket! What better way to talk to people and get them to buy things!
The smartphone represents a wonderful opportunity for all of us in the marketing business, because it is a personal device that is always with the consumer. It also represents a terrible danger for the same people – because it is a personal device that is always with the consumer.
Think about it. We reach for our phones when we want to get something done, even if that thing is just consume a little content and waste a little time (that’s why, incidentally, in many cases the competitor for a game isn’t another game – it’s a social media platform or publication). In that task-focused environment, marketers would want to be very, very careful about introducing their brand into the conversation.
We should be honest with ourselves. Marketers have an amazing ability to spoil everything. And whilst that might be tolerated on old-school broadcast media such as television, in the mobile environment, where the consumer engages on their own terms – it isn’t good enough. At best your campaigns will be ineffective. Somewhere in the middle you are teaching 99% of your audience to ignore you. At worst, you are dealing with deleted apps annoyed potential customers. As marketers, we have to do better.
Mobile Personalization To The Rescue
At this point I’d like to step back and think about the consequences for brands of the new mobile reality. In a sense, for many organizations there is a double bind at play. On the one hand, our customers are on mobile, and in the mobile app, and in a way that typically reduces traffic to more traditional channels. But on the other, they are less tolerant than ever of communications and campaigns that interrupt and irritate, because as we noted above mobile is Go to the full article.