How the consumer is changing the mediaBY ROHIT DADWAL
While many remain focused on technology, and new ways to deliver mobile content to consumers, it is important to consider the consumers themselves as a key part of the equation. The mobile consumer has changed so drastically in the last couple of years that it may be worthwhile to consider this new behaviour, and how it should affect marketing efforts.
Consumers today are far more proactive than before. Before the Internet came along, consumer choice was limited: what books were sold in local stores, what magazines were available at local newsstands, what shows were running on local television stations.
Where once regional and licensing limitations curbed the extent of the content that was available to them, today’s consumer is much better able to ignore those considerations, and acquire the media that they are interested in.
Technology is the enabler that makes all this possible, but the interesting thing is that the consumer takes technology for granted. The consumer is adept at using technology, and is less concerned with the container or the channel than with the content itself. Instead of being a phenomena that affects primarily national economies, globalisation has a personal dimension: given enough time, money and effort, the consumer can get to any content that they desire, anywhere in the world.
Whether it is the online purchase of an ebook before the actual copies arrive in stores, or buying DVDs of a television show that has yet to air, or illegally downloading a computer game instead of queueing at stores to get a copy on release day, today’s netizen or digital citizen (pick your name – there are probably more variations being coined as you read this) has more purchasing (or acquiring) power, far fewer restrictions, and a greater degree of control over their consumption habits than ever before.
This consumer is a different animal again from what brands and agencies were familiar with in the past. The level of savvy also means that traditional advertising and other marketing efforts can be circumvented or avoided, should the consumer wish to. A brand can sponsor a television show, but that sponsorship will mean nothing and may not even appear to someone who has downloaded a digital copy over the Internet.
What appeals to the new consumer is genuine value. The mobile market has already seen how willingly people take to free apps, and how they put up with in-app advertising for added utility on their devices. Brands and agencies that can successfully and sincerely offer their customers value will be rewarded with attention, which is turning out to be the only real currency in the digital age. Once attention is won, then the rest of the process has not changed: engage the consumer, interact with them, and tell compelling stories.
Rohit Dadwal, Managing Director, Mobile Marketing Association Asia Pacific