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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yes, B2B Marketers: THIS Is The Year Of Mobile (Yes, Really).

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A running joke among many marketers is “Yes...Really!...THIS is the year of mobile.” Because, let’s face it, we’ve been hearing and saying it for many years. (In our defense, we’ve genuinely meant it every year that we’ve said it.)

I remember way back in 2000 when I was working with a client on a B2B financial-services application that was truly breakthrough. The problem? We couldn’t break through until 3G was a reality, and readily available, as the data that the application provided was just too in-depth and up-to-the-minute. Like an anxious kid on a long road trip, I just kept asking “Are we there yet... are we there yet... c'mon, how much longer ‘til we get there?”

100126_five_reasons_why_kerley_lg Ah, to be at the cutting edge and waiting for the world to catch up. Just like Goldilocks, your porridge (marketing) can’t be too hot (too early) or too cold (too late), it’s gotta be “just right”. And insofar as mobile, the time is just right. And the time is right now.

Yes, B2Bs, this very much means YOU. Because if you think the modern-day worker isn’t accessing the Web from magical little devices that fit in the palms of their hands, then we really need to talk, as the world has changed. Your markets have gone mobile and they're not going back. So your marketing must move forward, too.

But just because of silly ringtones, fave fives and zillions of apps that offer more entertainment than efficiency, don’t be remiss in relegating mobile to the consumer corner as this set of media offers super-sized opportunities for B2Bs, too. In fact, there are many approaches and tools that you can leverage to either increase the impact of existing programs, or to create altogether new strategies for interacting with your business-centric prospects and existing customers. And THIS is the year that you should be learning, experimenting and integrating with mobile.

Why, praytel, is THIS the year of mobile? Here's some B2B food for thought:

Billions already, billions more on the way.

There are already 4.6 billion mobile subscriptions the world over projected to surge to 6.5 billion mobile connections by 2014. Billions. So mobile reached the marketing holy grail of "critical mass" millions billions of subscriptions ago. Positively unprecedented in its growth tear, consumer and business marketers alike have never witnessed this stunning scale of ubiquitous adoption coupled with an instant and always-on communications channel.

SmsExpress_texting Lifelines to their Livelihoods.

Professionals are never without their mobile devices—because their performance and productivity depend upon them being connected to their teams and in-the-know on breaking information at the time it breaks. Remember, where consumers want mobile communications, professionals need mobile communications. And needs always trump wants.

The devices that are gathering momentum are Mobile.

Mobile is not limited to cell phones. Um, tablets and e-readers anyone? And the mobile phones that are clocking some of the largest gains are Web-enabled smartphones. It used to be that the one device people could not live without was their computer. No longer. After all, mobile phones have all but become handheld computers... that just happen to also ring.

Mobile = The Anywhere-Anytime B2B Purchasing Opportunity.

Morgan Stanley’s analysts predict that the Mobile Web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015—with Gartner projecting mobile devices to overtake PCs as the most common Web devices by 2013.Thus, mobile is quickly becoming the new entry point or "first screen" device. The implication for B2Bs is that you never know when (or where) business audiences will find themselves in the purchasing cycle, or through which medium they will cull purchasing information and evaluate among vendor alternatives. Ergo, by not having a mobile-optimized experience for your audience, you are all but giving your competitors an advantage.

New Ways Into Their Worlds.

Be it a mobile Web site, app, SMS campaign, widget, location-enabled service or other approach, mobile gives you new ways to interact with your audience. Whether to initiate conversations with your audience, by improving their experiences and work-related activities, or offering them new incentives to participate with your brands, there are many points of value that you can now leverage with your target prospects. 

Unlocked-smartphones-new Said another way, mobile provides a new way to get your brands into their worlds through the *one* device that is always on, and always with them. And the way in is by making their worlds better. Remember, mobile is the closest your marketing will get will get to your audience (well, other than in-person). Of course you need to be strategic in how you get and stay in their worlds... but that’s fodder for another post.

I’m going to close with pointing you to mobile-marketing slideshows, articles and posts produced to help B2Bs in this brave new mobile world:

Now, go forth and feel free to say with 100% certainty that, indeed, THIS is the year of Mobile.

B2B Social Media B2B Mobile About CK CK's Web Site Services Contact CK

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I'll believe it when I see it. Or when you tell me. Whichever comes first : )

One more point not to be lost here.

Microsoft is updating its Sharepoint line to be mobile-enabled. The new Office Mobile 2010 suite will have Sharepoint Mobile bundled within.

For enterprise users, this opens up a whole realm of productivity in the field -- and with devices capable of that will come the expectations to do more.

Ergo: if your OWN site isn't mobile optimized, you're going to be missing out on a big shift.

Totally agree to this one specially with ike's post! Keep the interesting posts coming.

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