Benchmarks and statistics are an important part of business management, especially in the practice of marketing. They inform us and help us develop an understanding of the people we serve, scope and frame expectations, baseline results, develop forecasts, compare ourselves to others and manage the businesses. This year’s Statistical Fact Book contains some helpful facts and statistics. The facts and figures you’ll find here shed light on the influence mobile has had on people’s behavior and how it is continually reshaping it. They provide a prospective into various approaches marketers are adopting when it comes to integrating mobile into their marketing efforts, and they most certainly will help you manage your business. However, please take heed, we may, soon, be witness to the end of mobile, and marketing, as we’ve come to know it. We’ll be in search of a new prospective that is not clearly visible through the typical facts and figures we look at today. We are entering a new age, the age of the connected individual, and as a consequence marketing is changing. We’re all witness to the rise of The Connected Marketer.
While change is on the horizon, we have some time. So, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s first start with what we know about mobile today. When it comes to thinking about integrating mobile into your marketing, into your business, and making a case to your management for mobile-related investments, there are many factors, facts, and figures that you may want to consider:
- Mobile penetration rates, worldwide there are 7.7 billion mobile connections and counting, 4.7 billion unique mobile subscribers, that’s more connections than people on the planet. In the United States, of the 260 million adults, 88% have a mobile phone, and roughly half have a tablet
- Smartphone penetration, worldwide roughly 61% of mobile subscribers have a smartphone, a supercomputer that puts the world’s information at one’s fingertips, nearly 78% in the Unites States
- Media consumption & ad spending, roughly 65% of all digital media time is spent in mobile and climbing, more than 50% of search originates from mobile, as a consequence the majority of advertising and marketing dollars are going digital, primarily to mobile
- App downloads, millions of apps are made and downloaded hundreds of billions of times, 85% of people’s time is spent in apps, yet the average US adult uses about 26 apps, five regularly
- Mobile commerce, by 2020 90% of US sales will be influenced by digital, the majority of which can be attributed to mobile (like search, identity management, contactless payment and so much more)
- MarTech investments, leading venture capitalists and bankers are investing tens of billions of dollars into digital services and solutions, all of which touch mobile in the same way, as evidence by the over 3,500 MarTech vendors active in the market (up from 100 in 2010)
- Internet and mobile infrastructure, the structure of the internet is changing (read up on Content Centric Networking) as are mobile networks, by 2020 5G mobile networks will start rolling out, they’ll provide e sub-1 ms latency and >1 Gbps downlink speeds, in other worlds they’ll power real-time, multi-person engagement experiences, seamless augmented and virtual reality, and so much more (the fabric of our imagination is barely catching up)
- Changes in policy, regulation & standards, regulators, worldwide, are increasing their scrutiny over mobile services, especially their access to and use of personal information
What should be evident from the above is that mobile is at the heart of nearly every aspect of our lives. And, if you can believe it, the change mobile is enacting on our lives is just getting started.
The majority of the market’s audience, the Millennials and Centennials, digital natives and immigrants, are all becoming digital dependents. A consequence of this is that people’s expectations of what they want from mobile is changing. Mobile services as we know them, simple advertising, SMS, commerce, media, is changing. As the world’s population adopts connected devices, like smartwatches, connected cars and more, what we consider mobile to be and the boundaries of mobile are dissipating, and every aspect of our lives will become mobile, will become digital. In fact, by 2020, we should all consider ourselves digital beings living in a physical world.
Here are a few new stats to add to those above.
- Retail, with mobile-born businesses like Uber, and mobile-shaped businesses like Starbucks, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple, the very nature of retail is changing. When people can order whatever they want via their phone, watch or home-hub and have it delivered to their home or work at little to no extra costs, or have it ready for them and placed in their trunk when they show up at the store, there is no need for retail as we know it. That is why Walmart has committed over $2 billion over the next two years to re-shape its retail experience.
Mobile is evolving from mobile to mobility to connectivity. People, their things and their services are becoming not just connected, but inter-connected. To this end, we are all witnesses to the rise of the connected individual.
What this all means is that the world is soon going to be a very different place. We are on the brink of a new age of engagement, which will change the basis of competition and marketing as we know it. What this means is that we all must become connected marketers.
It will take us years to properly define the fabric of what it means to become a connected marketer. But here is a start.
Connected marketers are of service to the person, not the generic consumer, shopper, voter or patient, or whatever label we tend to place on like-minded constituent groups. Therefore, in order to truly be of service, the marketer of the future must focus on four areas:
- understanding, of the individuals they serve,
- engagements, that provides value with every interaction,
- friction-reduction, removal of all the unnecessary steps in each experience provided
- services, focus on creating value for, not from, the people being served.
Developing understanding will require marketers to change their approach to marketing. Much of our understanding going forward will come from historical and real-time behavioral analysis as well as directly from individuals, at scale, through personal data stores that are managed and owned by individuals. For the first time, individuals will be active economic actors of their personal data, much like they are with any other valuable asset.
The second area of focus will have the biggest impact on marketing, engagement. Creating new engagement models, both pro-active and re-active, at scale will require that marketers adopt new capabilities and approaches, which will include enhanced programmatic advertising, automatized individual communications at scale, machine learning and artificial intelligence informed predictive modeling, bots, Over-the-Top Marketing (see below) and so much more. Going forward, marketers will need to predict and synchronize the digital and physical experiences around the individual they serve. They will come to recognize that increasingly, the timing, mode, and channel (include the ten media paths of mobile) and even the content within the communication of every engagement they have with people will not be managed by them, but rather by the machines, by the algorithms, the marker oversees. In other words, the majority of campaign creation marketing jobs of the future will be outsourced to the algorithm and marketers will need to re-tool and develop new skills.
In the connected world, there will be little patience for unnecessary waste. For example, recently, at the MarTech 2016 event one keynote commented on how he is forecasting that 90% of advertising intermediaries will not exist in three to five years time. They will be ground away by the unnecessary friction that exists within the marketing complex. Individuals will expect the efficiency of engagement and marketers are no longer going to accept the waste their experiencing now; such as, one out of every three dollars going to ad fraud as it does today, less than one percent engagement with their programs, as they have with most media. Eventually, marketers will embrace a new practice, Over-the-Top Marketing. They’ll embrace their new found ability to engage directly with individuals, at scale, through connected experiences, they’ll go over the top of the existing marketing complex and directly engage people, at scale. In fact, direct marketing will own the day.
Responding to all of that has been laid out above will require the practice of marketing to change. In fact, it is changing now. Marketing is going through a metamorphosis. The change is both gradual and sudden. It is gradual in that the signs are there, we can see it coming as we’ve discussed above, but it will be sudden in that in the not too distant future it will seemingly emerge overnight for the vast majority of marketers like a heart attack, and many may not survive the transformation. The role of the marketer is transforming; most marketers will become more like architects than the bakers they are today. We’ll all learn to develop the models, the foundations, and infrastructure to be of service, to refine the ingredients and the recipes that we feed the machines and systems that will enable us to be of service, at scale.