Let’s ignore for the moment any sort of judgments about how many hours per day we spend in front of one screen or another. The fact is that more and more people are making their livings in front of screens, and many more enjoy immersing themselves in television programming and interactive electronic mediums.
With all of the screens in our lives, it goes without saying that there are significant marketing opportunities waiting to be leveraged. Smartphones are frequently the last thing we look at before we go to bed, and the first thing we see when we awaken in the morning. This can be everything from work content to emails, videos, social media, and more.
If you want the data to help persuade you, consider this study from IDG, which found that about half of all emails are now being viewed on mobile devices of one kind or another. This is just one example. There are a number of emerging trends in the world of marketing, and in the changing ways that consumers are interacting with the many devices in their lives.
The Internet is the New “First Screen”
For a certain generation, this has always been the case. For others, the television may always be considered the “first screen.” Think back to the invention of the television: it became a window through which the average American household could see the world and take part in events beyond their community.
Now we have the Internet which has, for all intents and purposes, usurped the role that the television once had in the American household. With more people “cutting cables” every day and turning to streaming options on set-top boxes or mobile devices, the attention of marketers must shift as well.
Email Marketing: Opportunities
As smartphones have become a daily part of our lives, we’ve come to have a better understanding of what the average consumer is using them for. Email is now the most frequently performed activity on the average smartphone. What this means is that people are skimming through their daily emails using their handheld devices in order weed out the email that they’ll want to spend more time with back on their home computer.
Marketers looking to leverage multi-screen opportunities will need to be a little more creative going forward. What will it take to entice a mobile user to hang on to that email until they’re back at their desktop? This is one more reason why a comprehensive multi-screen game plan will be of paramount importance moving forward.
Most households these days have a variety of screens of varying shapes, sizes, and purposes. With all of that screen real-estate at our disposal, multitasking has become easier than ever.
Consider the employee working from home, writing code or blog pages on his computer while listening to a TED Talk on his smartphone. Think of everybody who, for example, took to Twitter to express their hopes and anxieties during the Breaking Bad finale. We’ll steer away from any judgments about attention span, but it’s now not only possible, but also likely, that people are toggling between devices many times per hour.
Technology Used Creatively
This one is simple. Ask any critic where the Star Wars prequels went wrong and one of their top complaints will be that technology drove the creative process. That sort of complacency is all too easy to fall into when devising a marketing strategy. The fact of a technology’s existence isn’t enough; knowing how to use it wisely is everything. Consumers are better informed than ever; they expect to be marketed to creatively.
Think of situations where we need answers immediately. For example; having to deal with rodent pest control. We have to look up information right away because, let’s face it, we want to handle this as quickly as possible. So we look it up on our smartphone – but if the website is not optimized for smartphones, we’ll get frustrated, and the company has just lost a potential customer.
A Well-Planned Strategy Is Key
We’ve established by now that people are consuming content on a wide range of devices, frequently at the same time. What this means is that having a marketing strategy that is thoroughly planned in advance will be even more critical in the coming years.
A number of factors are now in play, including the consumer’s ability to focus on the content. Are they likely to be viewing your content while multitasking? Do they have time to commit right then? Static content that remains the same from device to device will need to be avoided; it should be tailored to the type of screen in question, as well as the consumer’s anticipated level of focus. Here’s an example: if your content is being designed for a smartphone, your call to action may have to change from “Buy Now” to “Remind Me Later.”
There really is no end to the ways that technology is changing the landscape we live in. Knowing how to make the most of that fact will continue to be a challenge to marketers everywhere.
by Jesse Aaron