Greg Hickman
February 20, 2014

Your Customer Is Mobile, But What Does That Mean?

It’s obvious that we as consumers have taken a liking to our smartphones. It’s our on demand connection to anything we could possibly need when it comes to information.

Which means, as a business owner, we need to pay attention to how our customers engage with our content and us.

How. Where. When. What Device.

These are all things we should know to determine how we leverage the mobile channel strategically within our marketing.

In this series we’ll be talking about how to get started using mobile marketing in your business to generate leads, sales and connect with your customers in a new and engaging way.

Before we can start, understanding the mobile context and consumption habits of our customers is important.

Overall, consumption is moving two our mobile phones.

  • By 2015 more people will access the Internet from their phone than their PC
  • 51% of all email opens happen on a mobile device
  • 70% of Facebook usage happens on a mobile device
  • 40% of Global YouTube views are from mobile.

That’s just the beginning though. You can see plenty of more stats on mobile here.

But how are your customers actually using their phone to connect with you?

A popular marketer Heidi Cohen has shared with us that there are 4 modes of consumption.

  • Focused Use
  • Dual Consumption
  • Information Snacking
  • Time Shifting

Focused Use: The dying mode of consumption

Unfortunately not many of us focus on one thing anymore. While I’m writing this there is music on, the TV on silent in the background and my phone lights up with text messages.

Focused use though is the mode we’re in when reading a book. Most of us are focused on that page in front of us and the content and not trying to multi-task.

If your customer is doing this with you, that’s a win. They are engaged.

What’s interesting though is that mobile has re-defined focused use for us. Now we read on e-readers and tablets. In fact a study from the app maker Pocket (formerly Read It Later) found that more people are now reading e-books on smartphones vs. PCs.

That means the devices that were created specifically for e-books are now losing out to the smartphone.

If you create long form content that requires full attention in this Focused Use mode, the odds are it’s happening on mobile.

Dual Consumption – The New Normal

This is the mode in which you are watching TV while on your smartphone or tablet and maybe even your PC.

We are always near two devices and using both for different things at the same time. Neither one activity is getting more of our focus.

If you think the mobile user is always on the go, you’re wrong. 85% of smartphone usage happens at home while watching TV.

The mobile device has given created this dual consumption mode.

So you should ask yourself. Is your customer only engaging with you while at home with 5 other things demanding their attention?

If so, is your content winning that competition? Is it presented in a way that allows your customer to consume it on their terms?

Time Shifting – We have no say.

In today’s world we can download movies to our tablet and watch them later.

We can save articles and read them later.

On our own terms.

On our own time.

The content that helps put you in front of your customer may be getting consumed well after you expected whether you like it or not.

Are you enabling your customer to do this? If not, maybe you should.

Information Snacking – We’re all guilty.

We’re all familiar with info snacking. This is where we consume content during moments that would have otherwise been wasted.

My favorite…. the bathroom. (Too much information?)

Interestingly enough, 75% of Americans are reported to user their mobile device while in the bathroom, so I’m not alone.

The point of sharing these 4 modes of consumption is really to challenge you to think differently about how, when, where and on what device your customer is choosing to engage with you.

At the end of the day—You have no business knowing how, when, where and what device your customer uses to engage with your business or brand.  Period.

But, it is up to you to deliver the best possible experience no matter what they choose.

That’s just the game we’re playing in this connected world.

So, it’s clear our customers are mobile and we need to meet them on their terms, but what exactly do they need from us?

We’ll cover that in the next post.


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Greg Hickman is an online entrepreneur and mobile marketer helping small business owners generate leads and sales using mobile marketing. He is the author and host of the Mobile Mixed blog and Podcast at and the author of The SMS Marketing Handbook-a Step-by-step guide to getting results with SMS Text Message Marketing.
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