Contributed by Rohit Dadwal, Managing Director, Mobile Marketing Association Asia Pacific Limited

Rohit Dadwal

It is no exaggeration to say that people love their mobile phones. New research released by the Mobile Marketing Association in the form of a Smartgraphic shows just how attached Americans are to their mobile phones. Amongst other thing, the research shows that 48 per cent of Americans never turn their mobile phones off, and 64 per cent sleep with their mobile phones in bed or by their bedsides. The mobile device is taking pride of place in modern life, and consumer behaviour is changing to accommodate it.

New 2012 data has also recently become available for “Our Mobile Planet”, a project by Google, IPSOS, the Mobile Marketing Association and the Interactive Advertising Bureau that looks at how mobile is affecting people . Mobile is very nearly taken for granted, and seems to have become a part of the standard purchase journey: 96 per cent of consumers research a product on their mobile devices while they are shopping. Media is also being consumed differently, too: 52 per cent use their smartphones while watching television, 51 per cent while listening to music, and 86 per cent use them while consuming other media.

Consumer behaviour is changing, in response to technology, but also because consumers themselves have new expectations, better infrastructure, and different demands. Consumers are more tech-savvy than before, and are becoming more aware as more digital options become available to them. While there have been some attempts to give them names, the change is more broad-ranging: there is no secret class of digital consumers or netizens. The shift is more fundamental. Today’s consumer takes technology for granted, is much more comfortable with technology, and is more concerned with content than with channels or containers.

This consumer is not to be satisfied with the limitations of licensing and regions, and is well able to circumvent or avoid standard advertising. At their fingertips, they have the means to buy or otherwise acquire digital copies of television shows, music, video, even ebooks, from all over the world, without care for the limitations that content providers have put in place.

This situation is not a dire one. Brands and agencies need to adjust their strategies to take into account the new expectations of these consumers. What has always worked will continue to work – ignore the technology, and focus on engaging consumer interest by telling compelling stories, making the best use of existing media. Relying on captive audiences to watch interstitial advertisements will be the death knell of the industry. Consumers need to be engaged, to have access to interaction, to be able to communicate with the brands that they are interested in. Once that interest is won, brands and agencies have the additional task of providing them with value. Free ad-supported apps reveal that consumers will exchange attention for utility. Mobile offers the chance to enhance even traditional media with interactivity, letting consumers click through to websites, or respond to calls to action with the device that is already in their hands. Mobile is the platform upon which this exchange will take place, and consumers have seen to have made up their minds that it is their device of choice.