Why 67% Mobile Access is a Big Deal

Why 67% of the world’s population having mobile phone access is a BIG DEAL to your business.

Your business needs to market to reach customers. Plain and simple, without effective marketing your business will suffer. Effective marketing is being able to reach and be reached by the right customers at the right time with the right message. My stance is that no other marketing medium can help your business with effective marketing better than mobile marketing. Let’s explore this concept further.

This post is written based on data and analysis provided by Tomi Ahonen in his post “7 Billion People on the Planet – How Relates to Digital Divide?” My take on the data Tomi presents is about why mobile is such a powerful marketing medium and why every business needs to mobilize now. I am taking only tiny snippets from Tomi’s lengthy post so you should be sure to read the original in its full glory. As usual he has written a very insightful analysis.

First, let’s get to the bottom of the 67% figure. According to Tomi Ahonen’s research, there are 3.95 billion unique mobile phone users (“actual human beings who have at least one mobile phone account and at least one actual mobile phone handset in their pocket”) in the world. When family-shared mobile phones are accounted for, the total reach of mobile today is 4.7 billion unique users – or 67% of the planet.

Keep in mind that 27% of the global population is under age 15 (source: www.globalhealthfacts.org/). So, even though a fair number of those under 15 do have cell phones, it is still safe to say that a vast majority of all the people on the planet age 16 and over has mobile phone access. That’s right; close to everyone in the world who is old enough to be a possible customer for your business has access to a mobile phone. The same cannot be said of electricity, computer access, television, radio or sadly, running water.

As impressive as it is to conisder how many people have mobile access, it is important to note that this is only one aspect of effective marketing. Still to be factored into the equation are reaching and being reached by the right customers at the right time with the right message. Let’s see how mobile works on those accounts.

Being reached is all about having a mobile presence that is accessible when people are trying to find you via mobile. When you consider 14% of people perform mobile searches daily (and many more do mobile searching, just not daily) yet only 12% of small businesses (and 21% of medium businesses) have a mobile website, it is clear that businesses need to stay on top of mobilizing to keep up with consumers in adopting this technology.

Factor in the statistics AT&T released that showed that 43% of local searchers of mobile devices physically showed up at the business location they found in online mobile search results and that 22% of those users actually made a purchase! This means that customers are actively seeking businesses at which to spend money using their mobile phones. Being reachable via mobile is simply not optional at this point in time.

On the other side of that coin is reaching customers. Let’s look at how mobile can help businesses to reach out to customers. First, it is crucial to note that the ONLY WAY that anyone should ever be contacted on mobile from a business is with explicit permission. To do otherwise is mobile spam, pure and simple; it is not smart marketing and in many countries is illegal.

One method of reaching customers via mobile is through SMS text messaging. A business that builds an opt-in SMS list of customers can proactively contact these customers on a regular basis through a channel that is largely uncluttered and gets paid attention to. Since people have their phones with them and on most of the time, when a message arrives it is read within seconds or minutes. Unlike email that piles up in the in box or television commercials that get fast forwarded or paper coupons that arrive in the mail only to be forgotten at home at the critical time, SMS gets read and is with your customer all the time.

There are two ways that SMS can be associated with the ‘right time’ aspect of effective marketing. First, businesses can reach out when they need to in order to make their marketing efforts pay off in a timely manner. An example of this is a restaurant having a slow night. A simple mobile coupon sent out at the beginning of the evening can bring customers to the table (literally) within the same time frame the extra business is needed. No other marketing method can do this as effectively. Period.

From the customers’ perspective the ‘right time’ aspect of mobile marketing comes into play by being able to communicate with businesses as they wish, when they wish, via mobile. You know what that feels like yourself: Doing a mobile search and finding what you need, when you need it. Or grabbing your mobile phone to get ahead on email when you have a minute and opening email that is easy to read on your tiny screen.

As for the right message part of the effective marketing equation, it is important to note that mobile marketing is truly only effective when the right message is incorporated. Because mobile is such a personal medium (for the most part we each use our own phones exclusively and they are with us 24/7) it is critical to always provide relevant value to the customer. Do this by mobilizing your website with what people want when they are mobile; sending out targeted text messages to opt-in lists based on what customers want from your business and keeping your customers’ wants and needs in mind whenever doing anything in mobile marketing.

Bottom Line:
Mobile marketing has the potential to be the most powerful marketing tool your business has ever used, but it must be utilized correctly and with effective marketing principles soundly in place.


If you want to mobilize your business here are some additional resources for education and training:
The Mobile Marketing Handbook

If you want to build your own mobile marketing business and help other businesses mobilize here are some additional resources:
International Mobile Marketing Business Network
Mobile Marketing BOOTCAMP: SMS Business
Mobile Marketing BOOTCAMP: Mobile Web

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