Consumer confidence and device sophistication will contribute to mobile's ubiquity

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Referring to today's average smartphone as a "phone" is a bit of a misnomer. Most of us have a level of computing power at our fingertips that far exceeds what the most powerful PC offered just a decade ago.

The potential to reach customers through mobile devices is tremendous. Dell had great success leveraging mobile media to reach small business owners with our "Take your own path" campaign in both developed markets like the US and UK and emerging ones like India. There were more than 15 billion Web searches via mobile phone in the UK alone in 2007 and that number continues to grow. According to a study done by a leading carrier, Orange Mobile, 81% of respondents access mobile media at least once a week. MMetrics data show that the more than 12 million UK consumers access the mobile internet per month, and that this audience is likely to have a college education and work full-time. And, in a recent global study of 1,500 people commissioned by Dell, 82% said they would not leave home without their smartphone. Reaching today's customers requires mobile to be part of the mix.

This phenomenon isn't limited to the most advanced uses of mobile Internet or to only the most developed markets. In India, middle class consumers' use of mobile phones is extremely high as is their use of SMS text. In a market where Internet advertising will only reach a small slice of a target middle class market, an SMS text campaign gives marketers access to hundreds of millions of potential consumers.

Smart marketers can profit from these trends. High-value customers are "on-the-go" and increasingly comfortable accessing information on mobile devices. Effective use of mobile puts product and service information in the hands of potential customers where and when they want it.

The devices consumers carry with them everywhere will only get more powerful. Carriers are quickly building network capacity to handle the surge in data traffic they are already experiencing. It's only natural they would use these devices to research and interact with products and companies before making buying decisions.

This article originally ran as part of the March 1, 2010 Technique, "Mobile marketing reaches tech targets." To read the entire feature, click here.

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