If change is the only constant, mobile technology has been one of the most significant underlying change agents in the decade gone by. The world of mobility and the external landscape are both undergoing metamorphosis in complex and barely understood two way engagements that build on changes in both domains. Convenience, utility of devices and affordable network plans by operators have made mobile device the centre of almost all communication, be it between people, brands and consumers or government and the citizens. If we are to go by numbers, search ad spending for Google mobile search grew 120.8 per cent in 2013 while desktop search ads registered a growth of just 2.3 per cent. Google has predicted that mobile searches (85.9 billion) will overtake desktop-based searches (84 billion) in 2015.
It is primarily the consumer's receptiveness to the device that led the businesses to go mobile. For example, according to WEB DAM Solutions, an SMS coupon is redeemed eight times more than email offers. It would not be an exaggeration to say a significant part of corporate strategy will be based on mobile. Why?
The empowered consumer today likes to be connected 24X7 and keeps herself updated with the latest happenings. She is constantly in touch with the world through her mobile phone, which opens up myriad avenues for communication through e-mail, web, social media, apps, SMS, IVR, WAP and so on. No wonder a 'mobile first' strategy is on everyone's mind, be it large corporates, SMBs or start-ups. And, if you think that it is only select industries such as banking that are making a switch to mobile strategies, you are wrong. From automobile to FMCG to consumer durables, business analysts across industries see ROI from mobile strategies. The mobile platform can do what was earlier hard if not impossible - streamline business operations, increase employee productivity, customer engagement and even allow businesses unprecedented ability to more effectively target markets.
It is interesting to explore in some detail how this ubiquitous device is being exploited by businesses through a few examples. Integrating a toll free number for more information, or an app to book a test drive have been instrumental in significantly increasing sales and services for an automobile vendor. Banks are another example using mobile banking apps to track remotely located ATMs. An FMCG company can reach 'media dark' territories in rural India with call back services that has radio content on mobile, with advertisements strewn in between.
Businesses are more than willing to allocate at least a part of their operational and marketing budgets to mobile. For many, the decisive factor is that mobile helps meet business targets even on a shoestring budget. It is not just corporates that are taking to this platform in a big way. I expect that the current, impending and planned deployment of mobile strategies by governments has the potential to make the most significant impact of all. Governments have started strengthening communications with citizens through mobile, bypassing the need for traditional physical networks. The recent accomplishment of the 'Mobile Seva' initiative at the 2014 UN Public Service Awards, which enables delivery of public servicesthrough the mobile platform, is a clear message that the future of governance lies in the mobile.
With the number of mobile subscribers, choice of channels and mobile engagement platforms increasing, the future holds great opportunity for mobile service providers and client organisations alike.