I’ve been in the technology business all my life, so watching the evolution of the Internet has always been a part of my world. I can remember back in the mid 90’s when I couldn’t give a website away. When merchants would ask me, “Why do I need the internet when I have a fax machine already?” Wow, yeah…that happened. But I also remember (quite fondly), when the internet revolution began and we couldn’t sell websites fast enough. Do you think that merchant still uses his fax machine? My kids don’t even know what a fax machine is, but they tell me all the time to “post that on Facebook, Daddy.”
When I went to my first mobile marketing conference in 2008, my attention shifted almost entirely to mobile. It was the wild west, uncharted territory, with abundant opportunities. One thing I learned long ago from my experience in the web business is that a good idea only needs time before it catches on. Mobile is a foregone conclusion — it’s big, and going to get much bigger.
The greatest challenge to mobile has been visibility into the trends. It’s highly fragmented, being pioneered largely by early adopters and tech nerds, so we don’t ‘feel’ the movement in the industry like you would a more consumer-centric shift, like DVD players or iPhones. Nonetheless, the shift is happening; more and more consumers are receiving messages to their mobile devices from local businesses, and more businesses are acknowledging that mobile must be a component of their marketing strategy.
So now what? The opportunity is almost overwhelming…where do we start? By creating a culture of passionate, educated early-adopters who can cultivate a mobile mindset into their communities. USE, SHOW, TEACH… REPEAT. We don’t know exactly where mobile is going, but we know the early adopters should be innovating every step of the way.