I am currently in the middle of a simple series exploring mobile and the impacts it has in life, work and society.

When asked to look at the future of mobile I believe that you need at look at three main aspects:

  1. The internet of things
  2. Social Disruption
  3. Infrastructure

In my last post I presented the concept of “The internet of things,” a look into how mobile technology is being use to enable machine to machine communication.

Today I will explore Social Disruption. The impact of social technology on a mobile consumer market and employee base.

Social Disruption

Roughly seven years ago social media thrust our world into a brand new digital dynamic. I believe that this technology helped us break into a new era, out of the information era and into the connection economy.

In the information era data helps us build competitive edge providing better value to our customers with custom solutions to custom problems. Data enables us to act quickly with the right information to meet a customers needs. Many industries have been working hard to make this a reality and this ‘data service’ in many cases has almost become the norm. Ecommerce is a great example of tracking purchases to provide customised future purchasing suggestions. Retail data has been used extensively to take the stock management power away from the supplier and place it firmly in the hands of the retailer. A better understanding of purchase patterns has helped retail outlets stock correctly and branch out into diversified services that help entrench loyalty with the customer. A great example here is how Tesco used the Club Card to become a world leading retailer.

So what happens when everyone in your industry is using data in this way. In South Africa we have seen Discovery, Pick n Pay, Woolworths and many other consumer driven services putting data to very good use to gain an edge on the market. When all the competitors ‘catch up’ where will we find our edge?

In the connection economy, the edge comes from ‘relationship.’ Building a social relationship with customers.

Prioritising relationship

When social media exploded many business jumped in an began to ‘socialise’ with their customise. In other words they set up a facebook page and asked people to become fans, then we tailored beautiful content strategies to speak to our new fanbase. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking content marketing and social media marketing. The principles are correct and they do work in creating a better connection with customers. Couple this with the fact that customers are choosing social mediums to communicate to and about companies, products and services, we can see a definite need to include social media strategy into our communication strategy.

I do believe that ‘social strategy‘ is more than social media strategy. Its the process of looking at our business, our products and services and seeing how we can build a more social experience at every level. Its about leveraging this social disruption to better your customer experience to include a relationship component.

Leveraging Social Disruption in Mobile

So what does this look like in the world of Mobile Marketing.

Social Media ConsumerMobile is personal

There are few objects that people posess that are more personal than a mobile phone. It contains in it the ability to store personal information, share information to personal networks and converse in one on one conversations. The personal nature of these devices means that they become a perfect platform to connect in a personal and social way with our customers.

One of the biggest learnings here at the moment is that all social communication should be mobile device friendly. If its not, you’re not touching the market with the right technology that makes a difference.

Another simple learning is that in certian circumstances you may be able to provide a more personal service by allow your business to be utilised through mobile. A classic example of this is how FNB claimed more customers simply because they offered a mobile banking app as part of their service (I was one of those people who moved banks for this reason.)

Mobile is immediate

Certian conversations require immediate action. Mobile is the device that people use to requets that immediate action.

Utilising apps or mobile sites that can assist customers with immediate queries and concerns is a good medium to divert negative sentiment away from public channels. Utilising apps to provide actual services are one of the most important avenues you should be considering on mobile strategy. Utlising social disruption in the delivery of these services would mean eansuring a personal experience that is sharable and connect the person with a community that they trust.

The immediacy of mobile means that if people are provided the correct socialised channels they may use your products whilst simultaneously sharing them with trusted networks (word of mouth marketing).

Mobile is social

A persons mobile device is a primary source of their socialisation with people. SMS, Whatsapp, BBM, MXit, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype and many more tools are used on a daily basis to help people socialise with each other.

This is important to understand because although people hate spam communication, they will be used to social communication.

Key Drivers

One of our key drivers in mobile strategy should be to ustilise social disruption to provide a more personal, sharable and community driven experience for our customers.


Originally posted on the blog of Mike Saunders our Technology Keynote Speaker

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