By Yuchun Lee
Remember when the laptop computer defined “mobility?” We’re in a new world now.
As marketers we’re only scratching the surface when it comes to the concept of mobility and the connected customer. It’s clear that consumers are savvier and smarter than ever before, and it’s our job to learn the best ways to connect with them.
With trillions of connected and instrumented devices forecasted, everything we do in business and our personal lives – from smart phones, tablets and e-readers, to mobile medical devices and inventory scanners – has become truly mobile.
Last year, smart phone shipments beat those of PCs for the first time ever, with 73 million more units being sold. In IBM’s recent CIO study of more than 3,000 CIOs, 75 percent of respondents identified mobile solutions as one of their top priorities. And as CIOs and CMOs begin to partner together to better engage and market to the digital customer, marketing through the mobile channel will continue to become a priority for both disciplines.
Up to this point, however, “mobile business” has been primarily focused on the device itself and enabling productivity. But mobile is more than the latest sleek handheld that lets you communicate anytime, anywhere. Growing confidence in mobile technology presents great opportunities for businesses to meaningfully connect and engage with all its constituents – employees, customers, investors, partners and suppliers, alike. In fact, IBM forecasts that the number of businesses that take a “mobile first” perspective and primarily design applications and processes for mobile deployment instead of PCs, will explode exponentially.
Consider the TBC Corporation, one of the nation’s largest resellers of tires and automotive services, and a great example of a company taking a “mobile first” approach to reach today’s digitally-empowered consumer.
TBC’s retail brands, which include Midas and National Tire and Battery (NTB), now see 37 percent of all website visitors coming from mobile devices. This trend has provided an opportunity for TBC to transform the way it does business – by using mobile computing to reinvent the consumer experience and accelerate the company’s expansion into automotive maintenance and repair services.
By spending time with customers across touch-points to understand their preferences, TBC’s Web and e-commerce team created a rich portfolio of mobile applications and mobile sites to make automotive service experiences easier, better, faster and less stressful. Using the IBM Worklight Platform, TBC was able to build the apps once and deploy them to various devices in weeks compared to months, and at 40 percent of the cost of previous native app development.
Evolving consumer behavior, in an increasingly connected world, requires a new approach to marketing and selling and is why companies can no longer rely on traditional strategies to get audiences to engage.
As the world becomes more global in the way we socialize and conduct business, the technology needed to enable “life and business in motion” will be critical to companies and organizations across all industries and geographies.