Why Do Mobile? Three Good Reasons

Next week, I’m going to be on a panel at the CTIA’s Super Mobility Week conference in Las Vegas. (I know … it’s tough duty.)

The #SuperMobility panel is called the State of Mobile Entertainment. It’s a broad topic, but it’s got me thinking about why, in general, anybody should invest in mobile technology to serve their customers.

I have three big answers. One may be enough, but you may want to mix and match all of them.

GoogleMapsThe first is functional convenience. Go back to the birth of mobile: It was a phone. It was a phone that you could carry anywhere. It was way more convenient than having to stop and find a payphone or go home to make a call. Likewise, if you’re in the middle of Brooklyn and you’re supposed to meet your friend at the dumpster restaurant, and you’re not sure how to get there, Google Maps can find it, find you and get you there with ease. It’s much more convenient to achieve a specific purpose. In Goldstar’s case, we’ve integrated with Apple’s Passbook technology, for example, to make it easy for you to have all the information about your tickets at your fingertips as you’re heading to the venue.

The second is new possibilities, and by this I mean things that simply weren’t possible without mobile. One of the characteristics of a mobile device is that it can find you, and it can find other people or other things. A service like Uber, for example, is near impossible without mobile devices. Sure, you could call and arrange for a car to pick you up, but it would be impossible for a network as robust, and with as little friction, to exist without a mobile device that can find you, find a car, tell each of you where the other is, track your trip, complete the transaction and send you a receipt. You just push a button, get in the car and take the ride. I don’t think anybody in the live entertainment business has tapped into this yet. The closest we (and others, too) come to doing this is that we can find you, show you events happening in the near future in your area, and let you buy them with one or two clicks. OK, that’s pretty good, but my sense is that there will be something more to this in the future. I’m going to try to make sure we’re the ones who figure it out!

"We can't stop with the phone checking," © 2011 Sonali Sridhar, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

“We can’t stop with the phone checking,” © 2011 Sonali Sridhar, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

The third is mind share. People spend a lot of time on their mobile thingies. Most of that time, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear, that time is not spent “productively” or in search of higher enlightenment. It’s idle time, break time, standing-in-line time. But these are moments that people are going to fill with something, when in the past, they would just wait or read a magazine or, perhaps when absolutely desperate, talk  to another person. Facebook is really the champion here, sucking up more idle mobile minutes by miles than any other app. For Goldstar, we see this as a major reason to be on mobile. When you’re in line at Starbucks, we want to be your reading material: drooling over events you’d like to go to, “starring” venues you’d like to hear more about, even writing and reading reviews of events — all of that makes for a good way to spend a few minutes. But the point is, you’re going to fill those minutes with something, and for many of us it’s something on our phones. If an organization is absent from mobile, people can’t fill their time with its content.

So, if you want a big-picture thought about mobile, these three reasons are a good start. Not every organization has to be good at all of them. Just one could be enough to have a breakthrough mobile strategy. If you’re in Vegas for the panel, tell me how you see it!

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