The smartphone is the single greatest tool for consumerism ever created. At first, that may sound like a grandiose statement…but it shouldn’t. Consider how we use our phones every day. We carry it everywhere we go, we use it to solve problems that we encounter throughout the day, we use it for research, and of course we can call and text with it. So, it is not surprising that products and brands are increasing their marketing spends on mobile in order to take advantage of its use. However, this is where the marketing problems start. Advertisers immediately began to shove mobile into their plans without considering WHY mobile is important to their audience, and what doors it opens for advertisers.
As stated in one of my previous articles (located here), the theory that supports media planning is just as important as any fact you can dig up about executing a particular strategy (impression volume, page views, etc..). The theory that supports the expansion of mobile phone use is that it allows people to fully function in the peripheral route of their brain. We humans love short cuts. We create acronyms, idioms, and other mnemonic devices in order to get to our stored memories faster. The peripheral route in our brain is where we store all of the accepted shortcuts. The mobile phone is the ULTIMATE shortcut. It allows us to solve a myriad of problems without thinking in the central route (complex thought). Can’t find a store? Grab your phone and look one up. Looking to replace a broken tool/product? Open an app. Need to speak to someone about an issue? Make a call. The solution to MANY problems is in your pocket, which is easier on your brain. Google has dubbed these “mobile moments.”
Mobile moments are when consumers, mentally, are at their absolute weakest. Consumers are in need of a solution; and they are utilizing the peripheral route of their brain to find it. Consumers are literally more open to persuasion on their phone than they are on any other device. As advertisers and media planners we should be jumping for joy. More open to persuasion means more conversions, right? Well, maybe. The peripheral route is as good at dismissing information as it is at accepting it. This means the advertising/marketing MUST be clear, concise, and actionable. Your standard banners won’t get the job done (and a click is not what you are aiming for anyway). The ad must work in sync with the capabilities of the phone. Consider mapping, calling, texting, downloading, and picture taking/screenshot options. In short, re-think success and how it is measured. The consumer is much closer to the bottom of the sales funnel on their phone because of the peripheral route mind set. Use that to your advantage.
The advantages of embracing mobile advertising strategies are clear. Consumers are open to persuasion when on their mobile phones because they are trying to save time and mental stress by utilizing their peripheral route. As media planners and marketers we will be more successful if we tailor our plans to work within the existing mindset of consumer.