While marketers would never consider setting off without their trusty smartphone in tow, it’s important to remember that 49% of consumers still do not own a smartphone. This crucial fact can have a big impact on how, where, and when marketers attempt to engage consumers.
When it comes to online behaviors and preferences, consumers with smartphones behave a lot more like marketers than consumers without smartphones do. The differences are striking—consumers with smartphones email more, use apps more, share more, check in more, review more, visit deal sites and redeem mobile coupons more, and generally purchase more online than consumers who don’t own smartphones. Smartphone ownership doesn’t necessarily cause consumers to use specific channels more, but it does make it easier and more likely that they will.
Marketers must keep in mind that they do just about everything online more than the average consumer, and they must be careful not to apply their professional behaviors to consumers as a whole. With the abundance of other channels and devices available to access content, it may be tempting to rush marketing efforts into the latest mobile technology and tools.
The fundamental question is: what percentage of your audience uses smartphones? For many brands, that percentage will be high—and it’s only increasing. For such brands, mobile apps and websites hold tremendous appeal. For some brands, however, their target consumers will continue to maintain a mix of smartphone and feature phone ownership that will require more creative use of text messaging to capture mobile consumer interest.
Yes, smartphone ownership will continue to grow. But the hyper-adoption of mobile channels by marketers is unlikely to be matched by consumers anytime soon. In the near term, therefore, marketers should not let their own biases blind them to the importance of reaching out to the 49% of consumers who don’t own smartphones. Longer term, marketers will continually need to evaluate whether their investment priorities are rooted in these personal, mobile biases or mobile consumer preferences. One way to avoid being a focus group of one would be to survey and conduct focus groups with target audiences to determine customers’ actual device and channel preferences.
Find out more in our newest research report : Marketers From Mars