Smart Phones, Dumb Marketing

According to a 2017 Deloitte’s survey, over 88% of Australians now own a smart phone (compared it to just 37% in 2011). Smart phones offer ubiquitous Internet access and unprecedented connectivity for this massive potential audience. The challenge for business is to connect in a meaningful way to this rapidly evolving small screen audience.

I’m on a train in Sydney and I’m surrounded by people staring at their smartphones. I’m not talking about young people or the occasional +30 hipster either. Virtually every person on the train is engaged with a small screen device of some kind.

Portable music devices have been bridging mundane occurrences in our lives for decades but he smart phone is different. It’s visual and it has captivated everyone. From the surly teenager sitting next to me, the 40+ business man, the 50+ grandmother across the way, they are all engaged with their device, completely transfixed even. The marketing potential for businesses is mouth-watering.

Of course it is not the device itself that everyone is engaging with, it is the content. Email, games, news, personal videos, music, photos, articles, TV, movies – this smart little device can do it all which makes the challenges for businesses wanting to connect with this audience complex but unparalleled for the shear scope of opportunity.

In the past, the media (television, newsprint, radio) was the platform and advertisers wanting to access the audience of the big media producers had no choice but to toe the line offered to them. Typically this meant interruption based ads that burned audiences rather than building them. Today, the old media producer monopoly has been fractured by ever smarter, mobile devices and increasingly robust connection to the Internet.

The simple fact is that people no longer have to sit through advertisements to access quality media content. Think of your own media consumption. Would you willingly interrupt your favourite television program with a series of ads every few minutes?

Old marketing practices die hard but that’s not all that surprising given the speed in which the face of media content has changed. For example, the average business website still follows a brochure styled format that hails back to best practices from the printing industry. In the same way, businesses need to stop thinking advertising platforms and start thinking conversation platforms.

Google Australia’s Head of SMB Marketing, Richard Flanagan, recently said at an event that small businesses can no longer ignore mobile devices. The time is up. Australia has one of the highest smartphone and tablet penetrations worldwide, so according to Flanagan, Aussie small businesses owners need to be able to be found and to connect with consumers on mobile devices.

There is now some fascinating data on smart phone usage that offers considerable insight into this audience segment. In the past, we have thought of ‘mobile’ as separate. Recent studies by Google show that this is not applicable. In actuality, customers rove between multiple devices (computer, tablet, smart devices and tv’s) on their journey to making a purchase.

People on a smart phone are also quite likely to be multi-tasking (waiting in line somewhere, riding public transport, Facebooking while at work etc). This coupled with the small screen size necessitates that content is kept simple but that does not mean it cannot be rich.

Old media ads restrict marketers to individual channel partners. They are expensive and work with and show your ads on a cost per view basis that has nothing to do with customer interaction. Smart phones do not restrict marketers and in fact offer a way for businesses to completely bypass old media if they wish and become media producers themselves.

While it is not easy to produce quality articles, podcasts and videos that can engages with your targeted audience, the upside is the opportunity to interact with audiences in a way that has never been possible before.


Do you need help telling your story to get fresh customers call Paddy and the Webhead team today, 1800 264 429