There’s no denying the popularity of mobile devices. Published reports have indicated there are more than 4 billion mobile devices worldwide. Of those, roughly 25 percent are smartphones. The meteoric rise in smartphone popularity shouldn’t come as a surprise because the reasons for owning one keep multiplying.
My reason for purchasing a Motorola Droid is probably a little unusual. About a year ago, I was one of the few remaining members of my family who did not own a GPS device. I was pretty proud of this, too. I know my way around, I have a pretty good sense of direction, and I can read a map. Heck—thanks to my time in the Boy Scouts—I can even read a compass. But, like many newly married couples, my wife and I expanded our network of family and friends, which for us means traveling to more unfamiliar areas.
So, after I convinced myself that it was mostly my pride that was preventing me from purchasing a GPS device, I relented and headed to Best Buy. While there, I found myself evaluating the features and prices of a wide range of GPS devices and thinking, Aren’t there any smartphones that have GPS capabilities for roughly the same price? This naturally prompted me to investigate. I walked over to the mobile department and, lo and behold, there were two—the iPhone and the Droid.
I’m a bit of a technophile, and the Droid offers much to love—a free GPS application, a 5-megapixel camera with flash, a digital music player, 16 gigabytes of storage, and it works with my wireless carrier. So, I reprimanded my Treo for falling short and enthusiastically purchased my Droid. Today, I still brag about my new phone and all of the wonderful things I can do with it. For example, after a year of relenting, I recently assuaged the navigator in me by downloading a digital compass application. Not bad!
In addition to the many features and applications that I like about my smartphone, I also like that it has empowered me to interact and transact with others instantly. Now I’ve grown accustomed to this level of immediacy and I expect it from the companies that I deal with. And, I’m not alone.
We’re experiencing a cultural shift toward an instant-gratification society. Consumers want to interact and transact instantly with peers and organizations. They want mobile solutions that are designed for speed and effectiveness. Some telecommunications companies are already on top of this and have launched customer service applications specifically designed to facilitate mobile transactions. To learn more about these efforts, read the feature story, “Changing the Mobile Channel," by Editorial Assistant Koa Beck.
These telecommunications companies understand that organizations can’t only offer a stripped-down version of their Web sites for mobile users. To best serve these customers, a site has to be designed from the ground up with them in mind. Marketers who wish to connect with customers on their mobile devices should take heed. Read the feature, “No Longer the Text-Best Thing,” by Editorial Assistant Juan Martinez, on page 28 to see how some marketers are building out their mobile strategies. You’ll see in this feature, as in most deployment strategies, it’s best to take a cautious approach to mobile technology.
David Myron is editorial director of CRM magazine. He can be reached at dmyron@destinationCRM.com.