In Europe and North America we’ve become very comfortable with the PC desktop model of internet connectivity. We have a PC or laptop at home and/or office and may see the smartphone as more phone than portable computer.
However, that isn’t necessarily the norm in the rest of the world. For example, you may be surprised to learn that of the top ten countries ranked by number of Facebook users, Indonesia is second behind the United States (152.2 million) with 35.2 million users (according to checkfacebook.com). As with other countries where PCs never really established themselves as the standard personal interface platform, smartphones have filled the void as the primary connection device in Indonesia.
And let’s not be smug here either and assume that these emerging markets are actually behind us and catching up. In fact, they are ahead of us when it comes to mobile connectivity. People in such markets aren’t chained to the notion that one has to have a big clunky box on their desk and a 20 inch screen to enjoy what the web has to offer. They expect technology and brands to travel with them.
You don’t have to go very far to read about how mobile technology and smartphones are fundamentally changing how marketers interact with consumers. Smartphone usage is expected to double in Western Europe by 2015. According to eMarketer, 58 million of the EU-5 population will access the internet from a mobile device this year alone.
Across Europe and Asia, email, social media and location based services are opening new doors to marketers via smartphones. As smartphone usage grows in these countries, there will be more opportunities to connect and interact with consumers on their terms. Being able to do this at the right time with the right offer will become even more critical for all businesses.
The conundrum for marketers today is that you have to be everywhere whenever people want you there, but you simply can’t be. Considering a solution provider who can help you bolster your presence using automation may be the right solution for you. Just be sure you put the power of choice in the hands of your customers – they choose the device, channel and if they want direct human interaction or not.
If you are considering this option then look for a solution which provides flexibility, scalability and reduces the level of effort in keeping multiple communication channels open. What you need is that “man behind the curtain” whom no one needs to pay attention to while you focus on performing magic for your customers.