It’s official – babies will now be born with Bluetooth attached.
Well, it had to happen, didn’t it? If this isn’t Star Trek come to life, I don’t know what is. Okay, we don’t tap medallions on our “uniforms” to talk to each other, but thousands of us do walk around with Bluetooth attachment firmly in place, seemingly talking to ourselves (so it seems to those of us passing by).
Try to part a business professional from his Bluetooth and, my guess is, you’d have to pry it from his cold, dead hands. But there’s a much more present group attached to this technology - that always on, always connected, community of people known as our kids. Mobile has become so ubiquitous, it’s as common as drinking coffee, or fast food restaurants, or chewing gum. According to Media Post’s Research Brief, mobile usage is expected to “grow by 60% over the next two years.”
This means, of course, if you’re not into mobile, you’re toast.
My partner dotes on his as-close-as-you-can-get-to an iPhone. He even Twitters from it. But, personally, I talk on my phone, and sometimes use the calendar function. I prefer my Internet activity to be on a computer monitor where the text and pictures are of a size I can actually see. Obviously, this dates me. Word has it that my non-use of my mobile phone to do mobile “things” puts me at a disadvantage. Sources across the net say the future of advertising is web-based, and in that web-based world, mobile is where it’s at (can I say that? ‘where it’s at’… is that further dating me? Will the jargon police, accompanied by the mobile use police, take me away and lock me up in a room with just a TV and a landline phone?)
There is no avoiding it - mobile marketing, coupled with the social tools of Web 2.0 is the darling of the advertising world, and right or wrong, they’ve got your number. Gone are the days of writing an editorial letter to your daily paper, outing the local department store for sloppy cashiers or outdated products in damaged boxes. Today, if you’re not posting your dissatisfaction across the web via YouTube, and then sent by email, via your mobile phone, you’re stuck home with that burnt toast and reruns on TV.
The rest of the world is embracing mobile marketing, watching little ads on their mobile phones, while they wait for the bus or for lunch or for their plane. And the group that is giving it its push, its power, its ultimate authority, is just entering college or has likely just graduated.
They’re those babies I talked about at the start of this article, the ones born with Bluetooth in their ears. They’re the Gen Y generation; up and coming business executives and CEOs (of the 18-28 year old range); your future colleagues, your current co-workers, and…your new bosses. Don’t expect to find them watching TV. A recent MarketingCharts survey (found on the Marketing Vox blog) says this group of consumers watches less TV, sends and receive text messages at a rate of 72%, and can be considered “the truly first native online population.”
What’s the answer – to generations that are still faxing? Well, one answer is to stop faxing. As Andy Sernovitz of the blog, Damn I wish I’d Thought of That! writes in his email signature, “What’s a fax?” Get an iPhone or its like, and learn to use it. Find out how ads are displayed on that small screen. Challenge your tech team and your marketing team to talk to each other (I know, this is dangerous, but, if you referee and insist no blood be shed, it should be okay), in order to understand how this next gen world works. Then, experiment.
Can you hear it…the Next Gen world is calling – on its mobile phone. Gen Y will not be denied. Microsoft, a company intimately familiar with changing environments and next gen technology, says in eWeek, “Five years from now, mobile will be 5 to 10 percent of media [spending], but it won’t happen all at once, it will happen gradually.”
One wonders how they judge time. Five years and “gradually”…don’t necessarily compute. In Internet time, “gradually” is about a week and a half. To the always on, native generation called Gen Y, five years is a lifetime. I don’t think they’re going to wait. Get into mobile now, if you still want to be competing in the world environment, next year.