I recently came across an interesting study that declared mobile web will be the leading trend in 2015. This is a pretty bold statement but believe it or not there is truth to it. This year we’ve witnessed an explosion in mobile and location based content with cool location based social applications like Foursquare, Gowalla, and BrightKite. Location based services are one of the most powerful ways to personalize one’s mobile experience which can be even more amplified with the integration of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. An increasing number of brands are experimenting and trying out mobile marketing strategies as a result. Last month, Gowalla partnered with Travel Channel to integrate some of its dining content from the show Food Wars. When Gowalla users check in to venues visited in Food Wars, they will be able to read show-related information about the restaurant and collect passport-stamp rewards. This is a great way to engage fans and build strong brand awareness and loyalty. Gowalla says users have checked in at 600,000 locations in more than 165 countries to-date.
In addition to mobile and location based services, I think we’ll start to see more of a shift towards brands encouraging customers to share feedback and opinions at all times. There are lots of apps currently out there that collect real-time feedback from customers. For example, I downloaded AT&T’s Mark the Spot iPhone app earlier this year which basically crowd sources spotty reception areas across the country and asks users for information around location, dropped calls, failed call attempt, no coverage, data failure, and poor voice quality. The app is an easy way for the brand to listen to customers quickly and the use the feedback to optimize performance without over flooding call centers around the world.
* With the introduction of Google’s Android I’ll predict that you will be able to buy an iPhone and an Android for under $300 and $150 by the end of 2011. * Verizon’s Android users will discover the tremendous data needs that real smart phones place on a data network. AT&T will still suck for iPhone users, but Verizon will suck just as much by year’s end for Android users too. This is because using a smart phone as, for example a location aware, active GPS device will require constant data transmission. That’s not happened with Verizon’s network yet and we’re seeing AT&T being crushed under the pressure of the currently expensive and relatively low volume (in relation to all cell phones) of the iPhone. Check out my review of the free crowd sourced GPS mobile app Waze for a glimpse of the future. * Retailers will discover that well to do people who have disposable income are the majority of the people carrying smart phones. This will fuel a mobile location aware advertising rush. * Companies will discover that smart phones allow people to circumvent firewalls blocking access to sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. And Companies will also discover that they can’t prevent employees from using, Facebook, uploading video of outrageous behavior. Which will cause further embarrassment in the social sphere for some major names who have been avoiding the social sphere until now.