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Goin' Mobile - Goin' To School On Mobile

Goin' Mobile 

Goin' To School On MobileWe’ve received a great deal of feedback on “Goin’ Mobile,” our new ethnographic collaboration with Arbitron that had its debut at The NAB/RAB Radio Show in September. The study will be presented again by Arbitron on Monday, November 15 at 2 p.m. ET in a free webinar. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, please join us – click here to sign up.

In the meantime, the presentation at The Radio Show wrapped up with a list of six “to-do” items for radio. The first of these was “Go to school on mobile.”

That’s because the mobile space is not only dynamic – it is new to just about all of us. When you consider that cell phones through the ‘90s – and up to just a few short years ago – were for talking and texting, the mobile revolution is something else entirely.

When our company ventured into mobile in a big way back in 2008, the Apple App Store was just a couple of months old. But we instinctively saw opportunity in applications, especially given the foundation of our annual Technology Polls.

But we rapidly realized we had to educate ourselves about this space. Along the way, we’ve run into three resources that have been helpful in learning more about mobile, and in the process, guiding our strategy.

The first of these, Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin, has nothing to do with mobile specifically. But it has everything to do with developing a digital strategy. Seth’s little book (they’re all little books) is especially designed for old-line businesses – like radio.

In the book, Seth reminds us that “smart organizations are investing time and energy into transforming their assets. They know the New Marketing is more than a hot topping. Instead they use New Marketing to dig deep, to redefine what they actually do to add value…”

Radio has considerable assets in the mobile space: Mature brands, compelling talent, production skill sets, and sales marketing departments. Radio also has cume. As an app developer, I can show you in just a few charts and graphs the difference between brands involved in the mobile space with a strong audience – and the ones that have no simple way to communicate that they have an app.

Seth will cause you to think about what you’re doing in digital – and mobile. And while change is sometimes uncomfortable, it is necessary if you’re determined not to get into mobile because everyone else is.

Second is Tomi Ahonen. He is a consultant from Finland who now lives in South Korea (one of the mobile phone capitals of the world). Tomi has been especially important in shaping our philosophy here at Jacobs. He arms you with the statistics, and then he breaks them down and puts them into context.

Tomi has written all sorts of books and almanacs about mobile, but I think the best is Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media. He runs down how we got here – the six media that came before mobile, and how some of these media cannibalize the others and the 8 unique benefits of mobile (it’s always “on,” always carried, etc.) that really puts this medium in perspective.

You may carry a smartphone that has scores of apps, but you may not have a full appreciation for how sweeping mobile has and will become. Tomi is a great guide.

Finally, there’s www.mashable.com

While mobile isn’t a specialty area, it is well covered if you just “search” for it on this site. This is a great place to learn about lots of things digital, and Mashable provides the resources to do some remedial learning so you can quickly become conversant in areas where you need a little on-the-job training.

As we have learned here at Jacobs over the past few years since we launched jacAPPS, the growth and development of Android and the introduction of the iPad are just two of the major developments that have changed the face of mobile in a short time.

If you can master the basics of mobile, you’ll be in a much better position to play a leadership role at your station, in your cluster, and in your company in the coming years.