How are you factoring devices into your marketing plan and approaches? As I think about what I am trying to accomplish and how that might change in the coming year, I find myself increasingly asking that question. Like all marketers today, I do my best to stay relevant to my audience while never forgetting that the audience decides what's relevant. An increasingly important next question is, how does my audience access my content? And the question of access, by necessity, means that devices need to be considered.
So what about those devices? For my current B2B work, that question usually begins with - computer or mobile? Of course it never remains that simple because from there, the two-pronged decision grows into a veritable tree of branches. For written content, do we create apps, PDFs or both? How about videos or podcasts? Smartphones or tablets? Android or iOS? The simplest answer, of course, comes from knowing what your customers do, but what if you don't have the resources to create both the app and the PDF and your market is 50-50 on that question?
And now we have things (appliances, cars) being developed to interact with the user through internet access - for a view of things to come on that front, read How the Internet of Things Changes Everything on HBR blogs. Telemetry for systems or devices has been around for a while, but providing wide access to consumers and making them iteractive is what's new and noteworthy.
Projections by Bosch Software Innovations point to 75% of the world's population having access to the internet by the year 2015. So will some 6 billion devices - so how does that impact your marketing?
Another indicator of the increasing relevance of devices came from Christopher Hosford, BtoB Magazine's East Coast Bureau Chief, reporting that paid search advertising on mobile devices is accelerating, up 30% year-over-year.
It doesn't matter that my company doesn't make things and I don't market them directly -
what matters is that devices are changing how my audience thinks and behaves.
I'd be remiss to ignore that development.
The proprietary nature of device operating systems - Apple in particular - means that when I think of devices, they seem like a new channel because if I develop content as an app it is distributed only through Apple. And to a certain extent that may be true, but I'm not sure it matters.
What matters is that I address the fact that some of my audience prefers to access content through the iTunes platform because they find it most often using their iPhone or iPad. At the same time - some of my audience prefers PDFs, and yet others prefer to see videos. How do I know who prefers what and if I can't do it all, how to prioritize it? That's where adaptive customer experience analytics are useful to let my customers' behavior tell me - I'll have more on that in an upcoming post, so stay tuned!
I have many more questions than answers on the question of devices. Candidly, I sometimes feel like the guy running on the platform to catch the train that's speeding up. But that doesn't stop me from running - or asking, where do devices fit in your marketing plan? So how about you?