Chapter 3 - Real Time All the Time

Mobile is the first medium that accompanies the customer where they go and is with them at all times, whereas previous media were generally consumed in a time-specific manner: the viewer would plan a specific time to begin and end his consumption, then walk away from the device.

(EN: "The first" is not entirely accurate: portable radios could be carried about, though this was usually done for specific reasons such as listening to a sporting event while moving from place to place, and radios were very seldom carried about on a daily basis.)

Freedom of Time

The author claims that mobile "will transform the way that information is gathered and shared" - particularly due to the small amount of storage on the device, the information resides on the network, whether in the systems of a service provider or in the "cloud," and much of it will be accessible to data mining.

The advantage to the cloud storage is that there is a central store of information that can be accessed from any location or device (mobile device, home computer, work computer, tablet device, web-enabled television, etc.). However, many service providers have had some challenges in keeping the data synchronized in various channels.

There's an aside about time-based consumption and the way in which station operators controlled the time at which content is available on television and radio. Where there is coverage of a live event, this is inevitable, but archives in the cloud enable content to be consumed at a time of the individual viewer's choosing, and audiences need not be in synch.

To overcome this, consumers employed recording devices, which had the added benefit of creating a market for recorded entertainment on physical media. With cloud storage, it is all electronic - there is no hard media, nor any need for the customer to set up a recording device on their own.

While the broadcast model still exists, more and more audiovisual content is being provided in streaming format, and there arises the question if this might eventually become the preferred model for the modern consumer (EN: there is growth in consumption of media from various services, but it remains marginal for television programming, and internet radio is still controlled by operators. I don't dispute the possibility, but "eventually" may be decades or generations away.)

(EN: another consideration is whether the restriction of time is desirable in some instances: people gather for social consumption of a program or event, and chatter at the office is about what was on television the night before. I do wonder if media consumption will become more personal and anti-social if time is rendered completely irrelelvant.)

Relevant Marketing Messages

Because space and attention is limited in the mobile platform, it cannot bear a proliferation of advertisements. One solution to this problem is for publishers to allow advertisers to bid for limited space in an auction-like format.

The author expects this will significantly improve advertising, as it is not cost-effective for advertisers to carpet-bomb the audience in hopes of reaching the right demographic (among many for whom the message is irrelevant) but must carefully qualify which prospects to pursue.

The author also suggests that consumers are more tolerant of advertising than is generally thought. While they will respond with a staunch "no" when asked about advertising, they do not discontinue the use of sites and services that contain it, particularly when they receive a free service in exchange for viewing ads.

There is also the notion that advertising done properly provides value to the audience by calling their attention to products that they genuinely need but may not be aware of. This has always been true, but previous media made advertising available so cheaply that markets could advertise indiscriminately.

Mobile Tactics

The author interviewed an industry executive who specializes in mobile advertising, who concedes that the mobile media is challenging.

A key consideration is whether it's the right medium for a given target market: knowing whether your prospects use mobile at all, what devices they use, and what sites or services is critical to being successful. Get any of that wrong and your campaign will miss the mark.

Another challenge is the limited time people devote to the channel. A person attempting to check their bank balance while waiting in line at a supermarket is on-task. he is unlikely even to notice the ad, or pay much attention. And even if you get his attention, he will be interrupted when he gets to the head of the line.

But he also points to some of the areas in which mobile offers opportunities. People won't take a computer into their kitchen or garage, or carry their laptop to a shopping mall or tourist destination. But mobile is there, and if it can enhance the experience, consumers will value it.

(EN: Most of the examples provided are not cold-call ads that attempt to get attention, but require a customer to be engaged with the brand beforehand and want to retrieve more information. This can definitely turn an interested prospect into a buyer, or increase frequency of re-purchasing - but I don't see suggestions for turning disinterested prospects into interested ones.)

He is doubtful about promotion: "Mobile dies if the only interaction is discounting." Mobile coupons definitely have a role, but there has to be more to it than that.

He is also doubtful about applications. There are "something like three hundred thousand apps available" and unless a customer is already highly enthusiastic about your brand, he will be unlikely to be willing to download it just to see if it offers him any value. Apps are good for service, and good to support loyal enthusiasts, but not useful for much else.

Customers are a bit faddish, and what is popular today will be lame tomorrow. Copycatting successful applications will be less effective than providing something original and unique - but ultimately it's about providing something that offers genuine value to the customer.

Research on mobile activities of a segment can be a very powerful tool in determining what will resound with customers - but again, what they are already doing is old hat and they already have apps to do it. Discovering a way to deliver a value they are not already getting is more likely to succeed, and you will need to adopt a test-and-learn philosophy to the channel.

Making the Case for Mobile

The author presents a case-study about convincing corporate leadership to invest in mobile. It's difficult to quantify in terms of ROI, especially since mobile marketing often drives customers to other channels such as brick-and-mortar stores.

From there, the topic digresses into the cultural shifts a company must make to deal with mobile, particularly the manner in which salesmen, clerks, and others must now deal with the mobile-empowered customer can validate (or invalidate) claims, use competitor pricing to negotiate, and the like.


In the workplace, the mobile platform enables employees to be more communicative. It's no longer necessary to return to one's desk to check email, as this can be done while walking between meetings - and both mail and text allow people to converse when it is convenient for each party rather than having to plan a meeting for a simple conversation.

The author disputes the notion that mobile is onerous, indicating that 54% of business leaders spend less than an hour a day on their phones, even though most keep their phones nearby, even outside of office hours.

(EN: I wonder if that tells the magnitude ... some people check their phones more than 100 times a day -most of these are just a few seconds long, so it doesn't consume much time, but is a constant distraction and interruption.)

It's briefly mentioned that customers use their phones in the same way, "dipping in" constantly throughout their day.

Mobile Phone Usage by Executives

Some statistics are used to indicate how "business leaders" use their phones. They use them for talking more often than consumers do, with email being a close second. They use them to browse the Web and view information. They don't use as much social media, except for LinkedIn. Taking photos and consuming video are also among their top activities.

Some quotes are provided from executives, which all speak to high mobile usage. The gist is that the mobile phone has become their primary communication device, which many use more frequently than their desktop computers.