Marketing and communication via mobile media and the web are always evolving. New players in the space appear and disappear, almost on a monthly basis. As we all progress with the new and exciting opportunities that they open up, we can only explore further, fail, move on and start again.
Cellphones, brands and Twitter: a business perspective
Twitter only works with followers. The dirty little secret we all suspect with Twitter is that a follower is not always a follower. No one really knows, but maybe for every 100 followers, up to 30 will be spam/porn bots hoping to sell you something. Another 30 or so are probably dormant or dead, and of the 40 who are left, maybe two or three will actually be reading the stream as we tweet.
Twitter is here and now; in a few seconds it's too late. The Twitter steam moves fast and old tweets are dead (unless you are a politician with a bit on the side). This compounds the problem when companies just don't get that they are not nearly agile enough for Twitter. The Twitterati are always online responding or initiating communication and companies can never hope to match that.
Many brands will spend another year following agency advice based on mainstream media experience, wasting another year getting it wrong. Don't believe me? When last did your company monitor Twitter on a Sunday evening and respond to a complaint in real time?
Point of sale, coupons, QR codes, NFC and cellphones
Many more retail companies will enter this space with hugely mixed results. Technology is moving faster than customers' comfort levels. Another obstacle is the race by suppliers to corner the market in this space, which creates conflicting platforms and makes it that much more difficult for everyone.
We are fast approaching the time when the bulk of our purchases will be made via the cellphone but it won't be in this decade. (Banks will ensure this.)
The internet provided the way for free content. Companies came along, sometimes willingly, but mostly unwillingly. How long will it take for mobile to follow?
Consumers are fast catching on that most of the mobile content offered for sale is available free somewhere on the internet. I predict a lot more free content for mobile users in 2012. Where it's not offered, the users will find it.
Apps - what apps?
Despite the plethora of apps currently available, we will see the era of the app fade away as companies realise that mobile web is just easier, simpler and more convenient.
Less PC on cellphones
Brands will use mainstream media for the politically correct stuff but we will see more edginess in mobile communications.
Well-managed data bases will allow brands to get closer to their target market through clever segmentation, leveraging racial and cultural preference (not racist preference) to sell more products, without alienating other market segments.
Media agency apathy will peak
Agency commission from big budgets drives spend to established media. Mobile media is often far more cost-effective than traditional media. It's now getting to the point where the bigger agencies are losing out to the smaller guys, and the door that they allowed to be opened is due to their lack of meaningful activity in the mobile space.
As it starts hurting more, the big guys will adapt and learn to embrace mobile. Forget the social media specialist label. Mobile communications and technology are what they need to make the transition.
The psychology and promise of TV is based on bigger screen and bigger sound. The constant drive to get TV onto mobile will continue to fail. Mobile is small screen with small sound.
Mobile location-based marketing will show its face again
No one can argue that getting to the customer in the store is the holy-grail in marketing. The problem to date has been the structuring of co-ordinated and viable strategies to correctly leverage the opportunities.
The simpler alternative
We may see a trend towards simplicity in cellphone operating systems with devices that offer the basics for various population groups, but no more.
I think that there are far too many people out there stuck with devices that they wish would offer them more of what they want and less of what the makers want them to have.
Most of the marketing activity generated thus far in the mobile space has been single channel orientated: either SMS, MMS, QR codes, etc. Brands are realising that a convergent approach will assist in reaching and keeping profitable customers.
CRM is all about finding, keeping and growing profitable customers. Companies on the leading edge will cotton on and we are bound to see more of "use everything and select what works" segmentation 2.0.
Social media to interest cluster
The current free-for-all amorphous structure of social media will see a tendency towards clustering into specific user groups, formalised and localised to cater for specific interest groups.
Savvy marketers will further develop localised groups around common interests to enable effective and efficient growth of market share.
Resistance building to the regular players
2011 has seen murmurs of dissent for the large social media players. No company is absolute and, most definitely, no company is forever.
The beauty of the web is that it cannot be controlled by anyone (well, the Chinese do try hard). 2012 will see the rise of the next generation of social media a lot faster than anyone of us believes.
Petros Kondos is a CRM, mobile media and customer communications specialist. He has extensive experience making cost-effective CRM work for a range of industries specialising in retail and the financial services space. Recently published to exceptional reviews, his book on location-based marketing can be downloaded from www.petroskondos.com. Email , follow @Petros99 on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.
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