Technology - Grow with the Flow

Joe D

A recent survey referenced in an eMarketer article supports what you might expect - that consumers are excited about the advances made in technology – and the proof is in the increased confidence in sales via Web and Mobile based sources. The Pew Research Center for the People & Press (say that 10 times fast!) reveals that consumers are most excited about cellphones – about 69% believe that advances in mobile phones had improved their lives – a definite “change for the better.” 65% of respondents also believed that e-mail and the Internet were both positive technology changes in their lives.

Specific to mobile technology, consumers were also asked about advanced handheld devices such as Blackberrys and iPhones. Both were deemed to be relatively popular, although 25% of those surveyed felt that these technologies were a “change for the worse.” Out of those surveyed, young adults seemed to embrace the advancements in “smartphone” technology, and users 65+ were about 50/50 in acceptance of these changes.

Despite higher numbers than ever for online shopping and consumer confidence in 2009, the Pew Researchers found that their consumer group was not as satisfied with online shopping experiences as you might think. Only about 54% of those surveyed thought that online shopping and e-commerce were a “positive change,” with young adults liking it – surprisingly – even less than seniors and middle aged adults.

The public is still unsure about social networking – even though it seems like everyone is using it these days. Cited as making “no difference” as opposed to “change for the worse” or “change for the better,” social networking sites made this consumer survey group a bit ambivalent. About 50% had a positive impression, but the 65+ group stated that it didn’t know enough about social networking to determine whether it was good or bad. But even those who use social media, such as Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, etc. still had mixed feelings. Female users aged 12-21 cited that they felt they spent “too much time” using social media, which might be why they were unsure if it was a positive change.

Consumer confidence – or lack thereof – should give all Web and Mobile Web Developers cause to take a step back and look at where they are investing their marketing and technology spending the most. If consumers are unsure whether or not social media is right for them or not, you should really beware of how much you are focusing on this technology. Instead, spread out your focus between more traditional means of networking, communication and marketing while continuing to evaluate the effectiveness and popularity of social media.

For those getting into mobile media and marketing, be sure to continue to include marketing to standard mobile services and not just place all your focus on apps for iPhone/Android and other smartphone users. The bulk of consumers are still using 3G-type mobile phones and even the “big guys” in mobile are unsure of how deeply more advanced devices will penetrate the market in the current economic downturn.

The bottom line is that you should always be ready to evolve as technology advances, but you definitely need to remember to pay attention to your customer base and address their needs and interests first. Forward-thinking is essential, but keeping your current customers happy, satisfied and receiving your latest content/updates is vital to the continued success of your business.