I know, as the owner of a small business, how much I use my smartphone on a day to day basis for work. Ofcom's research has found that smartphones have overtaken laptops as UK internet users' number one device. Certainly something we have seen in the IT repair industry. My phone of choice is the iPhone 6S Plus, however my colleagues have other phones, a Samsung Galaxy S8 edge, a Google Pixel and others in the mix. I also know that marketing for my business seems to be far more hit and miss than the traditional days of putting an ad in the paper - but also far more in my hands than ever before.
Global Internet Advertising is predicted to overtake television advertising by 2020 according to Marketing Land. This stands to reason when you consider how much we use our phones during the day to how we now consume television. Personally I don't have 'live' TV, just Netflix, but I'm not a great consumer of television any more.
There are issues that come with the accessibility and immediacy of smartphones. Deloitte's research has show that one in three adults check for messages at night. It's the last thing before bed, and the first thing in the morning - often also accessed if you wake during the night. This can lead to tensions with arguments about one partner or another using their mobile too much. It seems to be an excuse for what I would consider rude behaviour (I'm in my 40's), but my son (21) would find perfectly acceptable. You can certainly see why Ofcom has declared the UK a Smartphone Society with 90% of 16-24 year olds owning a smartphone.
We need to consider how this impacts businesses. Many of us work for small businesses, but larger organisations are equally caught up with this.
Business to consumer marketers use an average of 7 social media platforms (The Content Marketing Institute). My immediate reaction is to think that isn't me, but when you start to list them you'd be surprised at how many you do use, or are at least linked to. Our aim is to use Facebook and Twitter for day to day social media, Instagram for behind the scenes and LinkedIn for professional connections - then of course starting this blog on Blogger, where a listing on Google+ (while it still exists) will help. You begin to wonder if you will actually get any time to work! But it is imperative that we get this to work for us. If the majority of customers prefer to get information about a company from content rather than ads (70% according to Content +) then we have a responsibility as business people to provide that content.
NewsCred report that 90% of users listen to recommendations share from friends. We certainly rely on this as a business as we have zero traditional marketing. The question of course is how we achieve this. And to be honest, I don't yet have an answer. I aim through this blog to discuss issues around technology that as an individual, and as a business you may face. Our social media aims to reflect who we are as a business - open and honest, with the customer needs coming first - but this is an ongoing process that sometimes we get right, and sometimes we get gloriously wrong!
In 5 years we've gone from using mobile phones for casual pursuits to now being used for business, work and commerce. Technology has changed every aspect of how a business operates. Change has been faster than at any other time in history - it's no wonder it has left our heads spinning!
People use mobile devices to buy, sell, shop - to find local businesses and to share their experiences often loud and clear. With the correct software it is possible to work from remote locations - depending on the business - mine is a physical business, so not yet able to relocate to Barbados! On the flip side we are give so much more information. Data collection has made it easier to understand the customers that you're looking for - and in theory customer segmentation (and algorythms) mean that targeting has never been easier. Just think FaceBook ads, choice of age, gender, location - you get the idea.
The costs have come down as the functionality has improved. Mobile devices and apps are easy to use and affordable. So let's take advantage of these developments. Young consumers are tech savvy, so we need to become more tech savvy as well. Social networking has made the world feel a much smaller place. We connect without geographical obstacle, and without the world knowing your financial background or social status.
Whether you fall into the luddite or technophile category, your responsibility it to understand how technology affects your business (good, bad and ugly) and how to use them to your advantage. So maybe it's time to get your business out there. Be brave, be honest and be authentic. You can't please everyone, so allow people to see how you work. Those who like what you do will love you and tell others, and those that don't? Well, it's their loss!
If you have a technology question please get in touch.