Everything in 2019 Will Be Dominated by the Smartphone — Are You Ready?
There’s no beating around the bush here. I could write a long list of my marketing predictions for the year ahead, but I fear it would be redundant. There is only one word you need to remember for 2019, and that word is mobile.
When we look back on the year 2019, I believe we’ll view the period as the age when mobile ate everything. Your smartphone will not only own the way you communicate with the rest of the world. It will also dominate pretty much everything else you do in life.
Living a Mobile Life
Millions of smartphone users in the UK recently went a day without data after the O2 network experienced technical problems. For many users, this was an inconvenience. However, for many small businesses and the self-employed, it caused a major headache. Credit card terminals (which rely on the network) were unable to take payments at busy Christmas markets. Uber drivers were left sitting at the side of the road unable to take bookings. Online shopping for the holidays was pushed back to an even more last minute.
The smartphone is rapidly becoming something so ingrained into our lives, it’s almost an extension of our humanity. If you don’t believe me, try going a day without your smartphone. I bet the moment you are reunited with your device, you’ll pore over every message with the devotion of a thirsty man with a glass of water.
A Matter of Life and Death?
If you’ve not said it yourself, I bet you’ve heard your children proclaim: “I couldn’t live without my smartphone!”
OK, perhaps that’s a little bit dramatic — but consider all the things we already rely on our smartphones for:
The smartphone has fundamentally changed the way we communicate with each other. It’s hard to imagine a time when people couldn’t be reached via their smartphone. My children have no idea how I could have possibly had a social life before owning a smartphone. The idea of knocking on a friend’s door to ask them if they want to play seems absolutely ridiculous to them.
I won’t say that TV, radio or newspapers have all been replaced by the smartphone. However, the media companies that are going to see success in 2019 have already found a home on mobile. Those that continue to embrace their “glorious past” might find themselves soon consigned to the history books. Talking about books, CDs and other physical media — well, they are all to be found on mobile devices now. And as for the technology to produce and distribute media content — it’s beginning to look a lot like the smartphone in your pocket. Consider this: When your smartphone costs more than your television set, what device are you going to commit more time to?
Forget the high street or a trip to your nearest mall. Everything you could ever want to buy is available on the device in your pocket. Even when you do buy something in the “real world,” there’s a very good chance you’ll use your smartphone to pay for it. I can go days or even weeks without having any cash in my pocket — but I’d really struggle without my mobile.
Health and Wellbeing
I don’t know if you burn any more calories when you track your exercise regime on a smartphone. Having the right tech is almost as important for many “athletes” as a good pair of running shoes. Smartphones are also increasingly used to monitor metrics relating to patient health. They have even been used (with questionable results) as a method of contraception. For some people with serious medical conditions, their smartphone can be a real lifeline.
The smartphone is already a vital component in the gig economy. Ask any Uber driver, cycle courier or food delivery person, and they will tell you that their smartphone is a tool of their trade. Just as the lines between the smartphone and a personal computer are blurred, productivity apps will continue to blur the lines between home and office. If the thought of never leaving work terrifies you, your smartphone is bound to have a solution for finding the right work/life balance.
When you’re playing Candy Crush or streaming music via Spotify, you perhaps don’t realize just how important your smartphone is. The smartphone screen is becoming the “user interface” to pretty much everything we do. It controls our smart homes’ heating and lighting, it opens the doors of our smart vehicles, and it guides us around our smart cities.
Time to Figure Things Out
So if the smartphone is so important to everyday life, as a business owner or marketer, you really should figure out how your business can get on board and maximize the opportunity available.
For many businesses, creating an app is the gateway to smartphone success. However, for many small businesses, the challenges of creating an app and successfully marketing it are prohibitive.
Note: There are approximately 2.1 million apps on the Google Play app store, with 3,500 added every day. This is a highly competitive market that you will need to focus on 100 percent if you want to succeed.
The good news is, if you invest in email marketing, you already have a stake in the smartphone eco-system. Email is a native application on the 2.5 billion smartphones in use around the world. For business users, email is the number one activity on their devices.
So unlike previous end-of-year predictions, I’m not urging you to do anything different. Instead, you just need to get better at what you do already.
If you’re not investing in email, what on earth are you doing? People constantly tell me that email is either “dead” or “the future.” But thanks to the smartphone, email has never been more alive, and “the future” looks very much like “now.”
And remember, a great “mobile-first” email strategy isn’t only about responsive emails. Your website needs to be mobile-friendly as well. There is no point in sending traffic to a clunky, outdated site.
How are you preparing your marketing strategies for 2019? Is it time you got a little smarter about putting the smartphone at the center of everything you do? Share your comments below:
This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.