Where will today’s marketers find fertile testing grounds for the mobile marketing ideas of tomorrow? To borrow from the mouth of Horace Greeley (with a bit of poetic license): “Go East, young marketer.”
East into the airports throughout Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) major cities, according to data from AdNear’s JAPAC Traveller Report 2014, which analyzed mobile/smartphone behavior among passengers at 12 major airports in nine APAC countries.
The Asia-Pacific region leads the world in growth and adoption of smartphone use and mobile broadband connections, and what happens in APAC will no doubt influence how marketing, mobile technologies and mobile communications evolve elsewhere around the globe.
AdNear’s findings confirm similar research from Ovum, which predicts that in 2015, one billion people will be connected to the Internet only through mobile broadband – not tethered by a hard-wired laptop or PC, but from a mobile device only. APAC dominates that trend as well, with an estimated 518.4 million APAC mobile-only customers in 2015, up from 119 million just four years ago.
The reason? Fast-growing, emerging mobile markets like China and India never built the poles, lines and wires that supported legacy, hard-wired phone systems and cable systems in the U.S. and other developed countries. So as developing countries join the cellphone revolution, they join in mobile-only mode.
The JAPAC report, which analyzed user behavior and mobile engagement at 12 airports in 9 Asia-Pacific countries, found that:
Compare those stats to the U.S. market, where 68% of Americans own a smartphone (compared to 86% mobile penetration rates in South Korea and Japan), and some U.S. airports still make waiting passengers pay for Wi-Fi services, according to a report in Beta Boston.
For marketers, the impact is obvious. APAC markets will test and launch new mobile marketing initiatives in their regions first, and those trends – depending on success, adoption or failures – will eventually make their way across the oceans to the rest of the marketing world as it plays mobile catch-up.
According to eConsultancy, two-thirds of APAC companies say mobile will be a fundamental part of their business and marketing strategies in coming years, and their plans include increased focus and budgets on location-based marketing, mobile messaging and advertising, iBeacon technology, mobile coupons, notifications and optimized emails, mobile resources for sales associates, and another initiatives.
Meanwhile, Gartner’s 2015 CMO Spend Survey of 315 large-firm marketing pros in North America and the UK finds forward-looking interest and investment in digital advertising, mobile marketing and innovative, improved customer experiences in 2015.
What’s clear is that marketers around the world – East, West and all places between – understand that new strategies and desired results from marketing initiatives in 2015 and beyond increasingly will transpire and materialize one smartphone and one customer at a time.