Mel’s Thoughts: Identifying a growing dichotomy between retail and social + mobile

By on March 02, 2012

All you have to do is take a look around you to see that mobile is fast becoming a ubiquitous part of our society. Mobile is everywhere, but especially retail locations.

Specifically, the proliferation of mobile in relation to retail has left marketers scrambling in a frenzy to re-evaluate their audience and understand how consumers are interacting with mobile – and how to take advantage of this new relationship.

In order to do this successfully, brands need to better comprehend how current trends are shaping the mobile environment, who this new audience is and how to best interact with them.

This is no easy task. As a brand, where do you start? For me, I think there is an expanding dichotomy between retailers and the mobile + social spaces, which marketers should be conscience of for 2012.

Let me explain.

Many 2011 reports, like comScore’s 2012 Mobile Future in Focus, identify various mobile users demographics. Still, retail marketers seem to glaze over the 20- to 30-something GenY-ers (or, as this Mashable article calls them, “Generation C,” the C standing for “connected.” A bit cliche, but probably accurate), who I tend to think are the ideal demographic for brands as they use both mobile and social media for commerce.

Sure, the stats say that moms are the decision makers and dads are the money makers, but the “young influencers” are a generation of digital-hungry consumers who covet cutting-edge tech and are spending on everything from the latest tablet to Vegas vacations and chic urban condos.

Perhaps this demographic is so often neglected because, as Shane Smith of Vice Media pointed out at the Young Influencers Conference in Toronto last week, most brands don’t really “get” that generation. And, as he suggested, there’s absolutely no point focusing on that demographic just because you think you should – they’ll see through that kind of fake like a bad boob job.

Regardless, to me it seems obvious to focus efforts on a group that’s poised to shop and who’s lives are hinged on mobile, as well as social media – an area that has seen significant growth on mobile, with its overall popularity in accessing social networking sites on mobile devices becoming nearly common place last year. Basically, it’s the same people who are using their mobile devices for social sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. who will then flip to a new browser window or app to research or buy that great item they just read about in a tweet or post.

I foresee this super trifecta of young influencers + mobile + social making an impact for brands in 2012 as marketers recognize this spectacular opportunity to increase customer conversation and conversion by tapping into the young influencers through the device that houses their entire life.