From the moment we awake in the morning to the moment we close our eyes, advertisers are clawing for our attention.  It’s true.  Think about the very first thing you look at in the morning before you look at your face in the mirror.  If you’re like 91% of the world, you look at your phone.  That. Is. Staggering.

Now, think about the last thing you look at before you close your eyes for the night.  If you’re like 86% of people, you are looking at your phone.

Here’s the great secret though.  Your phone is not a phone.

Your phone is a marketing platform FIRST and a phone SECOND.  Consumers need to understand that the device which rests in their hands and/or body for the entire duration of the day (and remains no farther than arms-length away at night) is designed to be a platform to constantly serve ads to you.  Ads in apps.  Ads in browsers.  Ads pushed through geo-fencing.  There is nothing special about the “phone” capabilities a smart phone.  The technology isn’t superior to the now-dubbed “dumb phones” of yesteryear.

It’s a brilliant marketing move, really. An advertisers dream. Traditional advertising relies on catching a customer in the right time and PLACE (e.g. commercial breaks during a nightly sitcom, billboards while driving to work, newspaper ads while reading the morning paper, etc).  In the example of the newspaper, advertisers knew that the only chance to catch their readers (at least the vast majority of them) occurred in the morning before work.  Now, in the world of smartphones, not only are people consuming news on their mobile devices, they’re consuming everything else, too: movies, music, social experiences, etc.  This includes the shopping experience.  Retailers have scrambled to take their goods to market online in order to keep up with the smart phone trend.  Smart companies like Melaleuca and Nike were well ahead of the curve in this regard, and were early adopters of the e-commerce platform.  Other companies like Toys-R-Us and JC Penney were late to the online game, and suffered immense financial setbacks as a result.

More and more people are beginning to wake up to the reality that their phones are not designed to be phones FIRST and that they are designed instead to be marketing devices intended to hijack as many moments of our precious lives as possible.  With that, many folks are abandoning their smart phones and fleeing to simpler times by adopting simpler technologies.

If we call people who move from dumb phones to smart phones digital migrants, what should we call people who move from smart phones to dumb phones? Digital refuges?

I think we’re on to something.

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