Global Communication Strategy – it’s mobile social, feature phone world!

Smart phones are great to own, and over the last holiday season, consumers doubled the number of purchases made via a mobile device versus the prior April – interestingly 90% of those were made on an Apple device.  

This is good news for the growth of mobile and smartphones, but in a global communications scheme, companies need to look at something other than an app on a smartphone to connect with the consumer.  Businesses will want to remember (for at least the next few years at least) that texting is overwhelmingly the predominate tactic for communication for most consumers.  200% more people engage in texting than surfing the web on a mobile phone according to a study by the Pew Research Center released in 2011.

The Pew study also suggests, to no one’s surprise, that social networks are popular with consumers with a global stat of 25% of consumers using a social network.  The number runs as high as 53% in some countries and during a trip to AsiaPac last season, an associate and I saw a good deal of this kind of behavior.  We quickly came to understand why posting pictures online was so popular in the area and we suggested to clients that they recognize the behavior and target online promotions to take advantage of it.

When an online campaign is launched with tactics that shut out the majority of the market by virtue of the type of phone they have, the businesses should expect reduced participation and results.   By focusing on a more broadly available technology, blended with a compelling message business could expect consumers to respond better.

Where we’re all going with this kind of tactic however is toward a higher reliance on smartphones in the more affluent segments of the market – globally.  We’re seeing QRCodes starting to suffer from a malady that most consumers are just not sure what to do with a QRCode still.  When you add to that the consumer uncertainty generated by reported malicious QRCodes, businesses are left wondering what tactic or technology to pursue.

Technologies from companies like JAGTAG and SnapTags are rising to challenge.  JAGTAG lets a user take a picture of a tag and MMS/Email the image to a ShortCode destination and engage in – guess what – a text-based dialog.  SnapTags let companies brand within the tag, which will allay some of the concern of malware from a scanned code.

Your takeaway is that marketing strategies today need to consider a broader, not narrower definition of what constitutes engagement.  Tailoring an online campaign to use technology that is accessible by the broadest number of participants is optimally going to include the standby of text messaging for sure.  Connecting it to the social presence of the consumer is even better.

[Image credit: Bas van de Wiel via SXC.HU /]