By Jesse Williamson, Director at 9.8 Group
A Total Market approach – that “proactively integrates diverse segment considerations” – into advertising and marketing efforts has been recognized by the Association of National Advertisers as the most powerful tool companies have for reaching the widest possible base of consumers. This is because only a Total Market approach carefully takes into account and effectively speaks to the diversity that defines our globally, interconnected world.
While Total Market has become an increasingly hot topic most conversations have failed to fully explore the role technology plays in such an approach. The failure to include technology in these conversations is a fundamental error, but also represents a huge opportunity for industry players. As a slew of new research makes unmistakably clear, targeting technology – and mobile targeting technology in particular – is by far the most powerful and fastest-growing means to develop and pursue a Total Market approach.
Smartphone ownership is becoming ubiquitous – the Pew Research Center reports that 64% of all adults in the U.S. now own a smartphone, up from 58% last year. This rise in ownership has driven immense changes in the ways Americans communicate, access news and applications, and the types of media people engage with. Mobile devices are now the primary “gateway to online services and information,” and have “taken on a central role in the information lives” of Americans. Prism of the Total Market approach forces marketers to look deeper and seek to understand how different cultural and demographic segments use their devices in ways that speak directly to their unique needs, identities, and experiences.
For example, different age groups use mobile devices in unique and age-specific ways: 87% of all Millennials identify with the statement “my smartphone never leaves my side, night or day,” and the overwhelming majority of them use their smartphones to take pictures for their social media profiles at least once a day.
Similarly, DIGITAS has found that the LGBTQ community has “a higher understanding and level of activity with mobile devices compared to general population users.” Mobile devices play a particularly important and unique role for this segment – 35% of LGBTQ consumers between the ages of 18-24 used their mobile device in their “coming out” experience, and 70% reported using Facebook as part of their coming out process.
Mobile device use can also be tracked across a number of other relevant segments. For example: 60% of African-American mobile users spend time downloading apps as compared to only 48% of non-Hispanic white users; 64% of Hispanic smartphone owners use their devices to listen to music compared to 61% of African-American owners and 42% of non-Hispanic white owners; 77% of people with yearly incomes higher than $75,000 use smartphones to access the Internet while only 53% of those in households making less than $30,000 a year do; and, those without a high school diploma use applications that report their physical location almost twice as much as people with a college degree.
Gathering and analyzing mobile data has become key to the development of effective marketing campaigns – recently the Harvard Business Review called “data scientist” the “sexiest job of the 21st century.” And businesses attuned to the power of mobile data are now searching out and implementing ways to better incorporate it directly into their daily operations. Earlier this fall, for example, leading independent ad server Flashtalking acquired Device9, a digital device recognition solution that identifies users across desktop, mobile web, and mobile app environments in order to extend their tracking, attribution, conversion and data-based capabilities fully into mobile and app-based digital environments. IBM acquired software provider StrongLoop in order to help connect its highly data-sensitive existing cloud-based enterprise platforms to mobile through StrongLoop’s Node.js application development capabilities. And AOL’s $238m acquisition of Millennial Media reflected their desire to capitalize on earlier moves to acquire programmatic data analytics, and mobile tools and technologies, and extend the reach of those capabilities through the addition of significant scale in the mobile space.
Current research and real-world market activity both confirm that an understanding of the various ways consumers use mobile technology is key to a Total Market approach that will allow companies to speak directly to consumers in the places, times, ways, and languages that are most relevant to them members of an ever evolving marketplace. And it is the development and implementation of technologies that support this approach that will give companies the winning edge – now and in the future.