Mode Matters More Than You Thought – Just Look at the Holidays

As the mobile-enabled population grows and the scope of the many ways in which we use our smart devices widens, our mobility further permeates our day-to-day. And with this, marketers just as quickly come behind, looking for more and more opportunities to engage with savvy on-the-go consumers.

We’ve discussed in this column, and you hear rattled off in all the trades, the new and clever ways to identify who is on the other side of the device or screen. There’s also a lot of insider talk on how you determine when and where is the right time to deliver a targeted, compelling message. We love our conversations on the latest precision methods.

We’ve even discussed the importance of moving beyond a focus on target demographics or those handy but imprecise segments and instead leveraging consumers’ mobile behaviors or digital and physical pathways to determine the right time and place to engage. But wait, there’s more.

The Mode as Telltale

What about the fact that the very way we use our mobile devices is changing – and changing entirely? And, I’m not just talking about the overall population’s utilization, but the way each and every person evolves their mobile operating mode. As it is, the devices themselves, the enabling technologies, the available applications, the mobile usability of sites, and the personal adoption are all changing individually, and so are the dynamic relationships between these factors. And, finally, whether by way of what can be done, as far as capability, versus what we choose or learn to do, circumstances of life change our mobile behaviors.

Zooming in on Holiday Mobile Behavior

Let’s take the summer holidays as our lens. In fact, examining the upcoming holidays next to those holidays later in the year provides a good illustration of these varied and dynamic relationships we have with our now bodily appended mobile devices.

By contrasting and comparing upcoming holidays, and the likely behaviors that go along with them, we can gain an interesting and valuable look at the ways we connect and consume, so that we may market more efficiently. After all, just like mobility, and content engagement behaviors, understanding when and how we use are devices is key to effectively leveraging smart devices to acquire and grow customer relationships.

Come Fourth of July…

As we all know, typical July 4th activities and celebrations are picnics, BBQs, pool parties, block parties, large community events, and both private and public firework displays. So of course, likely mobile use includes planning events and food purchases, coordinating with friends, using local event directories, browsing reviews, scouting locations, and booking regional travel. So you can imagine the associated, ideal marketing engagement opportunities – serving deals and savings on low-cost or high-value items, such as food and party supplies; quick/short engagements and prompts; low-involvement messaging – as more than likely the mobile moments are fast, low-impact, and possibly last-minute.

Flash-Forward to Thanksgiving

The tenor and flavor is quite different for this holiday, when we see activities and celebrations such as big meals, football, and friend and family gatherings. There may be a wider scope of travel and of course more planning ahead of time than the regional, last-minute hustle of the July 4th period. Mobile utilization spans planning events and food purchases, and coordinating with friends and family. So, marketers are wise to step forward and serve deals on food, in-home entertaining, home improvement and décor, or tradition-focused items, all using moderate involvement messaging or softer calls to action than those necessary to engage the bustling July 4th mobile consumer. It’s still a hive of activity, just not so tightly regional and impromptu.

Oh, Hanukkah and Christmas

This period immediately brings to mind gift-giving, big meals, friend and family gatherings, and religious observations – as well as the longer-term travel profiles we saw at Thanksgiving. So, likely mobile use includes shopping, planning events and food purchases, travel planning, and coordinating with the loved ones we saw only a few short weeks ago. This period is chock-full of ideal marketing opportunities tuned to the season, an open door on deals on everything, from apparel to unique and once-a-year gifts, in-home entertaining, home improvement and décor, and all the accouterments that go along with our traditions. I suppose we don’t need to suggest much to marketers. This, after all, is the time that all types of engagement go, as the window for this season’s engagement is wide and long, encompassing large purchases, little purchases, both planned and spontaneous, purchases for self, purchases for others, gifts, travel, food.

And, of course, the most important thing to note is that how we used our smart devices around these holidays last year will not be the same as this year or next. We’ll do more things with our smartphones and tablets, and we’ll do more of those things. We’re already moving well beyond having the novelty of a little extra help in our palms to relying on our devices as key tools in our life. Likewise, marketers, when they understand the opportunities and differences in when there is an engagement moment (or potentially an annoying distraction), they too will master the mobile device for making connections with customers, and making it easier for them to become loyal customers.

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