Social And Mobile Bring Truly Personal Computing
It’s become rather fashionable in the last year or so to talk about the post-PC era, most notably after Steve Jobs did so back in 2010.
I’ve certainly been guilty of it, including during a presentation where I used to it to describe the fact that more smart phones are now shipped globally than desktop computers (whether Windows or Mac based), and that in many developed markets now, smartphone penetration is at, or about to reach, 50%. Whatever we call it, there’s certainly a tipping point around the corner.
But the fact is that, if we think about what PC actually stands for, it’s clear that we are now closer than ever to a truly PC era. PC, as most people know, stands for personal computer. The terms came about because, compared to the monster sized mainframe computers that powered the world before Jobs & Wozniak changed it (along with plenty of others), desktop machines were designed for personal, or individual, use.
But when we consider the devices that most of us now carry in our pockets and purses, the word personal has never been more apt. Because, at the end of the day, smartphones are more computer than they are phone, and more personal, in every way, than the machines that still sit on the desks of millions of people around the world. Not only do we carry them with us wherever we go, the things we use them for are, increasingly, personalised.
These devices, and the apps and services we use on them are also creating ever more personal data which can be used, with proper guidelines, to create truly personalised marketing.
Imagine The Future of Personalised Marketing
Let’s try to imagine what this might look like. A department store might want to drive awareness of a special sale it’s having.
Because mobile phone networks know what sex their customers are, and what their home adresses are (for billing purposes), they can immediately create a contactable database of women who live within three miles of the store.
Imagine that, on top of that, they also overlay calling data, so that they only target people who tend to make calls from the city centre, during office hours, on at least 3 days a week — this means that they’re predicting which of the customers have jobs, and therefore might have more disposable income.
Layer, on top of this, data about average monthly bills, and which promotions customers have responded to in the network’s loyalty programmes, and all of a sudden you have a very sophisticated data selection process.
Now what you do is send a video message (MMS) to all of these people, inviting them to an exclusive fashion show in the store, with the video showing catwalk footage. Then encourage people to tweet or Facebook their location when they’ve arrived and been given a glass of champagne.
Here you have a great example of what many are referring to as SoLoMo (social, local, mobile). Or, what I like to think of as marketing using the most personal computers the world has ever known.
And the punchline? A campaign pretty much identical to the one I’ve just described was run in Dublin, Ireland, earlier this year.
As a wise man once said, “the future’s already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed yet“.
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