Strategy notes by Martin Howard
The shift in social patterns caused by mobile phone ownership has caught many Automotive organisations by surprise. In the next 12 months, leaders in the Automotive sector will need to modify their marketing and communication strategies to seize the new opportunities or lose out to the competition.
Read on to learn the implications of the global/social shift to mobile in Automotive.
The largest media companies in the world have called it a "mobile revolution". As of 2010, Google and Facebook began to develop for "mobile first" - which means B2B organisations with an online presence will need to follow. The shift is already happening across the world in politics, education, media and entertainment. The Multimedia SMS (MMS) market is now bigger than the global film industry. The phone app industry is growing by multiples each year. Mobile is also the key tool of the global youth culture, the new China and rising India.
Since most of the world's 5 billion mobile owners live in Asia and Africa, we can look to those regions to see the future. In Kenya, most banking and retail transactions are done via SMS, many towns have mobile access before they have running water. In China, major newspapers deliver editions via MMS. In rural India, sport highlights and radio broadcasts are distributed on the mobile networks. In Japan, mobile novels and comics are a major phenomenon.
Mobile is the newest and most personal mass medium. It is changing global habits faster than previous mass media such as the television and the personal computer. In the 1990's the internet made many industries extinct – mobile will do the same. In order to survive, Automotive leaders need to prepare for the mobile world. Think of the changes that followed the introduction of the books, television and the internet - experts predict even greater changes from the first portable mass medium.
Review the next few pages for critical shifts relevant to the Automotive sector . . .
Instant communication is more accessible and faster than email for most users. SMS messages can be embedded with graphics, web links, coupons and transactional codes. Young and old users are showing a preference for texting, and Automotive administrators will recognise the efficiencies and new capabilities. Consider how this will effect your administration, HR team and everyone at the client interface.
Most websites were originally built for a large displays but smartphone users have less space on their screens and less time to scroll through pages of information. Users are drawn to websites that are easy to read and use. Automotive websites will need to be redesigned to be accessible to mobile users with simplified text and image content, and appropriate site navigation. Be sure your mobile website is properly linked to Googles location search system - Google Places.
Newsletters, e-books, catalogs, papers and manuals which have been designed for large screens will need to be accessible to mobile Automotive users which will require resizing and converted to mobile formats. Consider the competitive advantage of being among the first to update your documents for viewing and storage on tablet computers and hand-held devices.
Consumers are now using their mobiles before and during the purchase process. Cost comparisons and research are being conducted on the showroom floor. As online banking moves to mobile, the transaction process becomes fast and simple. Online ordering and transaction interfaces will need to be revamped to work on the small screen.
Location information is being used by Automotive clients and consumers to connect locally. GPS positioning data and online maps can be merged with relevant information to make the web more locally relevant. Bluetooth marketing enables text, videos and coupons to be automatically sent to all phones within a given radius. This will create new opportunities at large Automotive and conferences.
Previous mass media had vast and unpredictable impacts on our economies and societies. Mobile is no different. At this early stage it is impossible to predict all of the direct and indirect effects that the mobile revolution will have on Automotive. When the internet emerged in the 1990s, forward-thinking leaders leveraged the new opportunity but many underestimated the impact. Many sectors were completely transformed. For in-depth information and forecasts check the following resources.
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Tomi Ahonen Tomi Ahonen writes prolifically about the rise of Mobile Automotive and has a number of free ebooks for download
Mobi Thinking Covers Automotive and marketing issues from the world best mobile practitioners
Slideshows about Mobile View a collection of slideshows about mobile marketing and industry forecasts
Why do you need a mobile website? Learn about Google's mobile website awareness initiative.