Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mobile Email: Fast Food vs. Full-in Dining

Last week, a colleague of mine shared with me an intriguing research report from QuickPlay Media about projected growth trends in mobile TV and video. The online survey of approximately 1000 U.S.-based mobile subscribers between the ages of 18 and 35 reveals some compelling new insights into the evolving viewing habits and preferences of today’s consumer. For example, according to the report, "Consumers also continue to show a preference for snacking on content instead of setting aside dedicated viewing times," with "25 percent respondents view content in between daily activities, 16 percent while in transit (i.e. on the bus, etc.) and 11 percent while waiting in line."

I really liked the term "snacking" because it clearly defines the user experience in terms from our daily lives that we understand. People "snack" on TV and video using their mobile devices while they would use their traditional media devices (i.e. TV or desktop computer) for the "full-in dining" experience.

Using the mobile device to "snack" isn't just about mobile TV, though. It's about the entire mobile Internet experience. Fast food is all about anytime and anywhere; it's about instant and convenient gratification. What do we use the mobile Internet for? Quick and instant information - in as real-time as possible. When we want the full dining experience, then we'll turn to restaurants, not to fast food. Similarly, when we want a fuller and richer Internet experience, we'll turn to our desktop computers.

The concept of fast food vs. full-in dining also can be applied to the world of email marketing in the sense that fast food is mobile-friendly email and full-in dining is desktop-friendly email. Fast food and full-in dining are two entirely different experiences each with their unique purpose and benefit that when properly done are complementary. My belief is that you would never get a full seven course gourmet meal from a drive-thru. Therefore you should never take a desktop-friendly email and simply re-purpose its content to be mobile-friendly. Fast food is all about convenience; it's purpose is to catch you right when you're in the mood. Likewise your mobile email campaigns should be designed to catch your subscribers when they're in the mood - when they are out and about - with quick and easy to fulfill calls to action. Full-in dining is all about the experience; it's purpose is to fully engage your senses on a more leisurely pace. Likewise your desktop-friendly emails should provide the richer experience for your subscribers. Here's where all your graphic and content sensibilities come to bear.

So what types of emails would you consider fast-food versus full-in dining? Leave me your comments!

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