Confession: I'm attached to my mobile phone. I don't just mean that I carry it all the time, I mean I'm so emotionally connected to it that I feel naked, confused, lost and anxiety-stricken if I forget it or can't find it. I have some theories as to why this is, and I also recognize that my symptoms have only worsened since my move to a city five months ago, but my prediction is that it will only get worse. It's a no-brainer that mobile phones have become so much more than a device to make calls to other phone numbers. The capabilities they now provide are endless from texting, emailing, taking and sending photos and videos, accessing the internet, checking sports scores and updates, navigating to a location, and the list goes on and on. These devices are doing more and more each day, proving us with more options and capabilities, and ultimately, making us users more dependent on them. As we move towards the future, here are some cool things that mobile 'phones'? can do and will be doing before we know it. Mobile Ticketing As Cassie Shaine shared a couple weeks ago, companies are beginning to offer electronic tickets that can be sent to your phone via text-to-web technology. This sort of technology allows consumers to access an event or board a plane without the need of a paper ticket. Mobile Payments I was in an Apple Store the other day, and one of the sales associates helped me check out using an iPhone with a case that could scan the item's barcode, swipe my credit card, email and/or print a receipt. Square is an example of another organization that uses similar technology. It offers a free application for iPhone, iPad and Android-powered devices that comes with a free card reader which is easily inserted into the headphone jack on your device leaving users with the option to have their card swiped or entered manually as payment. Starbucks launched a program this week allowing customers to pay using their recently-designed iPhone app which projects a 2D barcode to be scanned at the register. With further development of Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, mobile devices may soon replace credit cards and metro cards. The technology would charge users as their device is passed near a NFC reader at checkout stations or transit gates. And who knows! With the progression of technology, someday you may be able to pay back your pal for last night's pizza run by simply 'bumping'? the edges of your mobile devices together! Remote Control With GM's new electric car, the Volt, you can start, lock, unlock, and even honk your horn all through its iPhone app. This technology has also been used with Zipcar as users can also lock, unlock, and sound the horn throughout their reservation using their free iPhone app. A number of remote controlled apps for computers have become available, but one that has had a lot of popularity recently is the Remote app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This allows the user to control his or her Mac or Apple TV right from the handset. Identification AMOLED is a display technology for use in mobile devices and televisions, and is included in all of Samsung's recent Android-powered Galaxy S devices. The company has been researching future uses for the technology, including incorporation into ID cards in several ways. If Samsung has experimented with AMOLED ID cards or licenses, you can bet that someone has envisioned carrying valid identification within a mobile device. Imagine going out to a bar and using your phone as a proof-of-age! Significance So what does this mean for us as marketers? Someday consumers may not carry a wallet anymore. Mobile devices have the capacity to take over our pockets and replace credit cards, licenses, keys, and almost anything else. Tangible gift cards and rewards cards could become obsolete, as the significance of location-based apps and brand-specific apps emerges. Mobile devices have the potential to become the single most important item a consumer owns, with an abundance of information on the user's identity and assets. While this idea spells a victory for convenience, it could mean a nightmare in the case of a lost mobile device, costing time, money, and who knows what else. Consumers will likely be more involved in determining their next mobile device purchase, and security is sure to be a concern.
One thing that has intrigued me on my marketing journey thus far has been peoples' reactions to stories. We are naturally drawn in by the story of a product or someone's interaction with one. As marketers, we are challenged daily with creating a 'story'? to explain our research findings or to convey the BIG idea to our clients. We tell stories about brands to consumers regularly, hoping that they will connect with the story and share it with their friends and family. Therefore, a good storyteller has great potential in this industry. A great example of storytelling in marketing is Subway's 'Jared'? campaign. Jared was not only a spokesperson, but he had a story to tell consumers: he lost a tremendous amount of weight while eating Subway subs. He told his story, and people listened. They made the connection between Subway and their own health, and sales grew. Another more recent example, that I personally have used before, is TOMS Shoes. The company was created only a few years ago by a young man who saw an opportunity in using a for-profit company to give back to those less fortunate. For every pair of shoes that TOMS sells, they give a pair away to a needy child in another country. TOMS tells an intriguing story of its 'shoe drops'? in other countries mostly through captivating and emotional pictures. Customers, in turn, can then create their own story of supporting children, like those in TOMS' pictures, by purchasing their own pair of TOMS. When you tell a story well, people will listen. Consumers want to hear stories that they can re-tell and relive their own personal experience through. Want to spread a new idea? Create an interesting story.