“Where You Are Will Define Who You Are”

Where you are will define who you are

Where you are will define who you are

A video conversation between digital marketing gurus, Simon Mainwaring and Rishad Tobaccowala caught my ear today. They were discussing the notion that for marketers, at least,  “Where you are will increasingly define who you are“.

We were long ago untethered from our landline phones and TV sets. Now, with everyone connected everywhere / all the time, where you are does have a much greater importance and influence on what is relevant. Where you are and  who you are with are relatively new factors for marketers to consider when creating  communications.  

Mainwaring puts it this way: “..suddenly, whether we’re in the office, a coffee shop, whether we’re at the beach, whether we’re at our friend’s house or outside the movies will have a huge impact on the type of information we share and the type of information we absorb or choose to listen to on behalf of brands.”  Tobaccowala explains the marketing implications of mobility this way:

“I think where you are will play and increasingly bigger and bigger role in defining who you are…and what you are interested in particularly for marketers because mobility is where real time and social come together. You have companies like Four Square and a lot of others who are starting to leverage that. What it does mean for a marketer is to provide just in time utilities and services rather than advertising because you are open for certain things at a particular stage in time and that time increasingly will be defined by where you are located.”

A new multigenerational study from Motorola found the desire to be constantly connected knows no age limit. Millennials (80 percent), Gen Xers (78 percent) and Boomers (78 percent) are equal in their desire to be constantly connected. According to the report, connectivity is now more of a lifestyle issue, and being accessible at all times is seen as a necessity across generations (Millennials, 79 percent; Gen Xers, 64 percent; Boomers, 65 percent). It’s not only a necessity, it’s something they really like and enjoy.  Rather than finding it stressful, many even find it ‘relaxing’:

The ability to connect wherever you are has become an essential component of daily life. In fact, seven in 10 Americans (70 percent) feel it’s “important for me to always be accessible,” and nearly eight in 10 (78 percent) feel they are constantly connected with family, friends and colleagues, regardless of physical location. This level of access gives Americans the freedom to better prioritize and blend different aspects of their lives. Rather than feel stifled by their constant availability, Americans admit that being connected makes them feel relaxed and confident.

In spite of their everyday use of technology, 70 percent of those surveyed are still excited by the ability to live a connected lifestyle and, regardless of where they are, have become reliant on the ability to access and share content, including video images, anytime, anywhere. Sixty-six percent of Americans expect to be able to access the same content no matter where they are.

While 24/7 connectivity is becoming a way of life for everyone, it has been true of Millennials for some time now. With their fluid sense of space and time, they reason, why do something in the office when it can be done just as well and more efficiently someplace else? Why spend time pre-researching a purchase when you can do on the spot? Why worry about gathering recommendations ahead of time when they are always available, in the moment?

According to Mainwaring, smart phones are becoming ‘the hub of our communications’.  I know this is true for me. I rarely carry my laptop around anymore, now that I can surf, blog, tweet, and email from my iphone. Yesterday I stopped to get air in my tires, but was delayed unexpectedly when they found a nail in one of the tires. What normally would have been a wasted hour of inconvenience reading old magazines and watching CNN now barely made a ripple in my day. What kind of communication opportunity did that hour represent for a tire marketer? The mind races.

As a marketer, these are indeed exciting times.