How the Sizzling Shift to Mobile Computing Is Changing More Marketing Rules

gowalla Naples Publix Get Ready to Rethink Your Content Marketing by Aiming at Millions of Buyers on the Move

For those of us who been around computing since the early days of PCs, the consumer move to mobile devices and away from desktop and even laptop computers is astonishing–and maybe a little terrifying.

In the first year of its existence, 1981, the IBM PC sold 100,000 units. Most of those buyers were geeks or leading-edge business users. Apple’s iPad sold 1 million units in less than one month and 2 million units in just two months. IPad users still include geeks and business types but they’re just as likely to include your six-year-old and your grandmother.

These unbelievable sales numbers represent a fundamental transformation in the way a very large segment of the population is consuming information and accessing the Internet. To get some idea of the seismic nature of this shift take a look my favorite highlights from a presentation given by Morgan Stanley at the June 2010 CM Summit in New York City:

Amazing Mobile Computing Facts from Morgan Stanley’s Presentation:

Morgan Stanley Smartphone Growth Chart

  • It took more than 1 year to sell 1 Million iPods but only 28 days to sell 1 Million +iPads
  • Billions of mobile apps have been downloaded:
    • 4B iPhone
    • 400MM Android
    • 12MM iPad (in just 6 weeks)
  • In 2010 more Smartphones will be sold than either desktop or laptop computers
  • In 2012 Smartphones will out sell desktop and laptop computers combined!
  • Among Smartphone users as of April 2010,
    • 48% have browsed the web
    • 40% have used social media
    • 30% read the news
  • The iPhone represents 55% of mobile page views
  • At the end of 2009 twice as much time was spent on social networking as on e-mail
  • Thanks to mobile devices, consumers are already doing cloud computing, leaving the enterprise behind
  • Since 2008, mobile users have come to expect:
    • always on access with super fast boot time
    • near zero latency access to nearly all information
    • daylong plus battery life and elegant portable devices

Cranky Laptops Cave to Cuddly and Communicative IPads

It happened to me and it’s probably happened to you, too.

Within the past several days, I had to reach out to professionals to bring a six month old laptop back from a near-death experience.  After three hours on the phone with an exceptionally patient and competent HP technician, I was both homicidal and suicidal.

We don’t want that. We want our information and our connectivity right now. We want easy and we want painless.

That’s exactly what’s driving so many millions of  customers to mobile devices of which the iPad may be the perfect prototype. In fact, if I could write and dictate articles easily on the iPad, I would probably have tossed my laptop out the window.

IPad and Its Mobile Cousins to the Rescue

The iPad, or something very much like it, is what we really want from our information devices. It turns on immediately. It’s super responsive. It easily connects to the Internet. It’s both powerful and portable. And, perhaps best of all, it doesn’t rely on a resource hog of an operating system and a bunch of pesky devices that fail when you most need them.

For those of us who do a lot of writing, building complex spreadsheets or other very sophisticated applications, we will probably have to hang on to our desktop or laptop computers. But for many of you and for many of your customers, the use of computing devices is primarily:

  • to connect and communicate wherever we are whenever we want
  • to consume information via the Internet, including e-mail, news, web-based content
  • to get our social media fix
  • to consume locally based information from word processing documents, spreadsheets, PDF files, etc.
  • to write a short e-mail or text messages
  • to listen to music, watch videos, watch TV or movies
  • to play games

We can do all of that with an increasingly rich and robust set of mobile computing devices that include not only the iPad but the iPhone, Blackberry, Android devices, and some potentially  terrific tablet computers just over the horizon.

That means that just when you thought it was safe to go back into the content marketing water, you will have to do a bit of rethinking. But I think it’s more a matter of adjustment than a dramatic change in your approach to your customers.

How to Take Advantage of This Content Marketing Mobile Inflection Point

You are almost certainly using the Internet as a primary content marketing weapon.  And, it is probably delivering significant a better results than many of your traditional advertising and marketing practices. Now, begin to think slightly differently as your customers go mobile for much of the information they consume.

  • Make sure that your website is fully readable on the most important mobile devices which would include the iPhone, the Android, and the iPad. That may mean giving up Flash. At a minimum, it’s critical that any flash on your website takes a secondary rather than a primary role on your home and on your landing pages.
  • Consider working with a developer to create an iPhone or an iPad app that will take advantage of the unique capabilities of these two pervasive computing devices.  In particular, think about how the touchscreen might improve your users interaction with your content.
  • Get social with Facebook, Twitter or other applications that can reach out to your customers with special offers while they’re on the move and in a buying mood.  As indicated above, 40% are actively pursuing social media opportunities while on their smart phone or iPad.
  • Provide special offers, coupons, or dedicated discounts that mobile users can bring with them directly on their smart phone or iPad.  Don’t make them print something out if they can to show it to you on their mobile device.

We are at the beginning of a fundamental transformation in the way that we all consume information. Our customers and their computers are on the move as never before.  Just as you may have tried to reach traveling prospects with billboard ads on the highway, now it’s time to make sure that you’re connecting with them on the virtual highway.

The good news is that, unlike driving a Corvette on Route 66, your prospects can slow down to pay attention to what you have to say. Just make sure that the new mobile information you’re providing is still relevant and compelling as all good content marketers do.

If you’d like to see the entire Morgan Stanley presentation you can click below:


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