In yesterdays Sunday Times the Vodafone CEO talked about tourists he had watched in Rome;
Technology, he noted, was changing their habits. “Some of them were with the guide who was holding the little umbrella but following a map on their phone as well,” he said. The smartphones that Vodafone had been selling for five years or more to business customers had finally permeated into the mainstream.
The facts are now pretty clear - consumers are using smartphones as the remote control for their life - accessing mobile services and content as they need to solve problems - which way is the Museum?, what's the football score?, i need to order some groceries, i have 5 minutes to kill etc.
Yet there is a real disconnect here - business seems a little slow to get with this programme. Research suggests few Fortune 1000 companies have a mobile strategy - and we believe that even amongst those that have, mobile is being viewed as an acquisition channel. Classic Big M Marketing - focused on promotion.
But what about the opportunities for what we call small m marketing - reducing the cost of servicing customers through enhanced self service, lowering transaction costs, increasing barriers to churn, facilitating advocacy etc. This type of service issue is perfectly suited to mobile yet few mobile marketers seem to focus here.
Why? Well the panel I ran at the Mobile Marketing Forum in Berlin suggested that clients think Agencies don't get mobile. Speakers from Coke, P&G, BMW and Lufthansa talked about their success stories and it was clear that the client is taking the lead.
Resolving this disconnect between consumers and business is a huge opportunity. We believe that the answer is addictive services and content that solve consumers problems - branded utility made real by mobile.
There are few brands that can't benefit from this approach - we note that Vodafone have a churn problem too
Some 18% of its better value contract customers quit in the past year. They cost £350 each to recruit.
They need some addictive services and content too.