From Tatiana Plakhova's Information Diving series
Earlier this week, my colleague Thom Kennon wrote a terrific piece called Mobility and the New Marketing. In it he speaks of a new era we are now embarking on, an era of mobilityness. I thought it a fantastic word, conjuring up a wealth of possible definitions and explanations. Here’s how Thom describes it:
- Mobilityness describes the irrevocably altered dynamic for the how, when, where, why and what of our planned brand communications.
- Mobilityness describes the way a human feels as we shift seamlessly between research, info seeking into a discovery, referral and purchase event.
- Mobilityness describes the operating conceit we all now enjoy which says I should be able to access anything I want or need whenever and wherever I want or need it.
- Mobilityness describes the nature of branded content when it is socialized by users and recontextualized for fresh discovery.
- Mobilityness describes the core principles driving our integrated 4-screen planning and optimization of branded rich media and video content.
- Mobilityness describes the immense challenge traditional media planners have in addressing a given target with any specific certainty for a particular message or brand frequency.
- Mobilityness describes the equally immense opportunities presented to new marketing (aka experience) planners and creatives who become adept at engineering and optimizing organic brand+human experience architectures.
These are all helpful and excellently paint the picture of what we as marketers are facing in today’s world. But I think the concept of mobilityness goes beyond marketing strategies (though those are relevant). Mobilityness speaks to the very nature of how people are living their lives today. This idea of mobilityness of the self manifests itself in several ways:
The Mobilityness of the Physical
Advances in technology and a growing global marketplace are having massive effects in places like India. As reported by the Youth Ki Awaaz
In a country with 600 million farmers, of which 40 percent are willing to quit farming for various reasons, mass migration from rural to urban areas has increased rapidly. Between 1991 and 2001, 73 million people have migrated from the rural areas to elsewhere. Mass migration is a phenomenon that is a consequence of various problems in the rural India.
Equally significant numbers of internal migrants can be seen in China
as well, and while we can debate the benefits of this, or the reasons, the fact remains that mobilityness has a physical attribute. People have the opportunity to be physically mobile like never before. Right now we can’t say for certain what impact this is going to have in those regions, or globally, but it’s reasonable to assume there will be both a positive and negative impact. How, as marketers does one engage the newly urban? Surely differently than those born into an urban, or even suburban, culture.
This type of physical mobility will surely bring with it a change in attitudes towards consumer culture and a change in consumption behaviors that we can only guess at right now. The new mobilityness goes beyond the physical of course, it helps to shape our identies as well.
The Mobilityness of Identity
Laptops, tablets and mobile phones have had a massive impact on Knowledge Workers
and members of the Creative Class
. How, as marketers, do you classify the following “consumers”:
- It’s Saturday morning and you’re at your child’s sporting event, but you’re answering a work email
- You’re at the office, with 10 minutes before your next meeting so you play a quick round of Angry Birds on your iPhone
- While watching a movie at home, that you got from Netflix, you’re also surfing the web, doing research for a work project
Mobilityness has enabled us to be multiple ‘people’ simultaneously. How, where and when to target people is no longer a science, it has to be an art. All this time-shifting and multi-tasking and has led to an @work state of mind.
The Mobilityness of Persona
Distinct from identity is persona, and thanks to the emergence of the social world, our personas have taken on an air of mobilityness as well. I can be a different person, or explore different part of my personality, on Twitter, Facebook, Turntable.fm, etc. World of Warcraft presents a great example of this mobility of persona.
A gamer and his avatar.
Simply dropping a cookie on my computer isn’t going to necessarily be helpful. You may have found me on Facebook, but that ad for the Panasonic TV isn’t relevant to me there, as it might be on Cnet. Likewise, just because I’m killing time on playing a game on my phone, doesn’t mean I’m interested in downloading ringtones, especially when it is 2:30pm on a Thursday.
Where once mobility of persona was manifested in the physical – see Grant McCracken’s book Transformations: Identity Construction in Contemporary Culture for more on this – now everyone can change identities, not overnight, but by the hour or minute. In fact, one can hold multiple identities simultaneously. I can watch House Hunters on HGTV with my wife, while, with my laptop in front of me, I can crack jokes with friends on Twitter and answer work emails.
The Mobilityness of Relationships
Who are your Twitter followers? Are they also your Facebook friends or your LinkedIn contacts? What happens when you change jobs, or get divorced? Relationships have taken on a new sort of mobilityness as well. Not only do our relationships have a certain portability, but even the term has an elasticity that it didn’t previously. When was the last time you said or heard the term “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon“? A sort of proto-meme, I rarely hear people speak of 6DoKB anymore. Why? Perhaps because social media has allowed me to be one degree away from a ‘relationship’ with Ashton Kutcher, or Shaq, or Kim Kardashian. Well, maybe it’s not a real relationship (whatever that means), but it has the appearance of a relationship. Today we can get an intimate portrait of a star, and the traditional media vehicles (celebrity magazines and TV shows) have been disintermediated (though they continue to exist). Our access to relationships, with celebrities, athletes, artists, business executives, etc. has seen a transformation of upward mobility. People we previously would never have had direct contact with, either due to physical proximity or social station, are now available to us.
This really is just scratching at the surface. There are other facets of the notion of mobilityness that I’ll look to explore in future posts, but I’d like your thoughts on this concept as well. Please leave a comment, agree or disagree, and let’s start a conversation.