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Your Customers Are Mobile. Why Isn’t Your Brand?
By: Ted Curtin
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Remember when the concept of calling an individual person, rather than a phone at a specific place, was revolutionary? In the early '80s there was a TV show called Vegas, starring Robert Urich. You couldn't help but marvel at private detective Dan Tanna's "mobile phone" in his hot red '57 Thunderbird convertible. A joke by today's standards, it resembled  a WWII field-comm unit with a big case and a coiled cord going from the main unit to the handheld receiver, but it was just short of science fiction back then.

The point is that we've come a long way, both technologically and conceptually, since the first mobile phones became publicly available in the early 1980s.

In the late '90s, you started to hear stories of brave individuals — true mavericks — severing their umbilical land lines for a completely mobile existence, and the concept of calling a person wherever they happened to be, rather than at a residence or physical location, began to make more and more sense.

All the while, everyone's attention was focused on the shiny new World Wide Web. Online strategies were built on the concept of effectively and affordably connecting with as many interested customers as possible.

With computers, you were hit with a constant barrage of new platforms, higher speeds, and better programs. Features and functionality became interwoven into everyday life, supported by and promoted through an equally dizzying array of channels for marketers to integrate their message, reach new and more targeted markets, and realize greater distribution and higher sales. 

Brilliant — except that, by and large, computers and even laptops were and still are location-based activities, even if that location changes periodically thanks to a laptop's wireless flexibility. Using a laptop is still something you set up and do "somewhere."

All the while, quantum improvements in those sleeker, faster phone devices — now with more bandwidth, greater coverage, and blazing speed — have enabled our now-ubiquitous smartphones to do more, and do so whenever we need it, wherever we are. No WiFi hotspot needed, no stopping, opening, and booting-up lap tops; no worry about battery life, power chords, or creepy hackers.

It’s predicted that sometime between 2013 and 2014 mobile web access will overtake traditional desktop/laptop access to the internet. Arguably, many people will use both for some time, but key to the quest for information is timing. Information when and where the user needs it is significantly more attractive to both users and marketers alike.

Don't write your laptop off as a boat anchor just yet (maybe your desktop). Traditional computers will still be around and serve a purpose for some time, but if marketers aren't focusing their big guns on mobile marketing strategies, content, and functionality, they are missing a huge opportunity to connect with customers where they are and when it matters most. At the very least, their brands risk going the way of the rotary phone!

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About the Author
Ted Curtin is a recognized strategic marketing leader with over 22 years experience covering online and offline marketing channels. Follow him on Twitter or at TedCurtin.com
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