Friday, November 26, 2010

Santa Goes Mobile

Today is Black Friday, the day that marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Retailers will be gauging sales to see if we have turned the corner from the recession. Retailers are also on the alert. Ho, Ho, Ho; Santa is going mobile!

Read On:
Mobile marketing is on the rise thanks to more Web-enabled smartphones in the market. According to the October 2010 U.S. Mobile Briefing conducted by The Mobile Marketing Association, 59% of mobile consumers plan to use their mobile phone for holiday shopping compared to 25% in 2009. The briefing also revealed that 64% of the respondents that plan to use their phone to facilitate shopping, will check their phone before even stepping foot into a store. Asians, Hispanics and adults ages 25-34 are the three demographic groups that will use their phones the most; 13% of mobile holiday shoppers expect to use their phones to purchase or pay for their gifts.

Marketers understand the mobile channel facilitates a way to cut through the clutter. Consequently, in recognition of how consumers interact with content, they have geared up to provide an enlightened mobile experience this holiday season. Big-box, mobile commerce pioneer, Target is leading the surge. To demonstrate my point, let us get into the shoes of a typical, 25-year old Target consumer that is going to utilize their iPhone this holiday season. Yesterday, while sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner, under the table they were busy checking out to prepare for today – store specific maps to better navigate the store to find Black Friday deals; searching the main Christmas category for gift ideas by age group that includes photos, ratings/reviews, availability and aisle location; managing their shopping lists. Today after sleeping in, they will wake up to a notification of Target’s daily deals complete with some scannable mobile coupons and then text their friends to exchange gift ideas. Later, they will check in from their local Starbucks in their weekly quest to become a Foursquare mayor and view Red Robin’s new YouTube video for the Gingerbread shake since there is a Red Robin across from the Target store they previously selected on their store locator. Once they arrive at the store, they will check in and be busy texting, tweeting, updating their Facebook pages, checking out Facebook Places to see the latest Gap deals, etc.

Santa, face reality, technology has taken over. You now live in the new age of social commerce. I suggest you get online to listen to all the social engagement that is influencing consumer behavior since the experts are forecasting that holiday mobile usage for 2011 will jump to 75%. I also suggest, instead of sweating over your gift lists, go down to Red Robin, purchase some gift cards to get your bonus bucks for your bucks and don’t forget to have a Gingerbread shake with your burger.


  1. Where's the LOVE button? Great post Jim, I like it. Mobile is definitely bringing about a new breed of consumer. Fascinating space to watch. :D

  2. Jimmy,

    Yeah but,...some of the talk around the Thanksgiving table was about social media, Facebook, etc. The people talking are in your demographic.

    The consensus was that many of the new technologies are time wasters. There is value, and the mobile phone is here to stay, but it has become too demanding, too intrusive and too distracting from family and friends.

    Is this an early indicator of a change? Who is polling or testing your demographic to see how they feel? What are your recommendations for advertisers about mobile in 2011?


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  4. Here's my hot-button...companies jumping on the digital bandwagon before they think it through to an objective. Exactly as you mention that much of this is intrusive and time-wasters, the mobile app or other digital communication needs to have a purpose and should be EASY. If it's not, go back to the planning phase and skip it.

  5. Thank you everyone. Tom, I hope you feel better, but I know you are starting all over today as you watch your Buckeyes play Michigan. Matt: Since you are a mobile marketing leader/guru I knew you would enjoy the post. Please keep me in the loop as it relates to mobile. Rashid1891, thank you for your kind words. Bob: I understand your point. The same MMA Briefing indicated that 42% of adult smartphone owners have apps & 25% of them use them daily. Another piece of research Kaiser Family Foundation did a good job detailing usage amomg teenagers which I addressed in an earlier blog this year: NPD also released a nice graph: People at your Thanksgiving table talking about it, to me, are not representative of who will be using these platforms. In 2011 it will vary greatly by industry, so in my industry I forsee restaurant operators using apps to drive business which is good, but on the other hand apps does not mean they will retain business. Jac: Every marketing initiative starts with a plan, otherwise it will fall flat.

  6. Mobile may be intrusive and we've likely lost the lively art of conversation. That said, as I mentioned on LinkedIn, those who succeed in this space understand that these technologies are only vessels for good marketing discipline.

    Here's a nice article that I've just read that coincides nicely:

  7. Hi Jim! Great post, and very timely. You cannot ignore the power of mobile. And if you are not including it in the mix, you are missing the boat - social and e-mail marketing are musts, but mobile is definitely the trend of the future...

  8. Thank you for your comments Parissa and Vickie. Mobile will become a larger part of the marketing mix moving forward since we have a whole generation growing up that processes best via visual.

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