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How to reach consumers in a mobile-first world

How to reach consumers in a mobile-first world Paul Carter
We are officially living in a mobile-first world. In the U.S., 90 percent of Americans over the age of 18 own a cell phone, and almost two thirds (64 percent) of those devices are smartphones. Society has become interconnected, joined together by mobile devices and the networks that support them. Consumers seek access wherever they and their devices go. This, in turn, has caused businesses to adjust the marketing and selling of products and services to a more mobile-friendly presence.

Nearly all major brands that interact with consumers on a daily basis have their own mobile app or mobile enabled site. Technology giants, large financial institutions, schools, and universities -- they all have a large stake in the mobile environment, with apps and content that are exclusive to mobile devices, designed to be used anywhere at anytime. From Spotify to Facebook and YouTube, each business has a mobile presence because they're realizing that their user base is becoming increasingly mobile. More importantly, though, is that these mobile presences are supported by advertisements, offering mobile marketers a direct portal to reach current and potential customers.


However, the medium is only as strong as the networks supporting them; particularly those major networks built and operated by national wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless). Mobile devices can only become viable vehicles for reaching consumers if they and the networks they operate on are deemed reliable. A primary way for marketers to know that their messages are reaching core audiences is by understanding which networks are reliable and can support data intensive applications. Ultimately, this reliability -- and network transparency -- are determined and enhanced through wireless benchmarking.


Typically, the performance of any given wireless network is benchmarked on a routine basis to assess impacts related to growth in consumer demand, changes in consumer demographics, infrastructure enhancement projects, and changes in end-user device and network equipment technologies. Benchmarking is also done across carriers in different markets so that a carrier can assess their performance in a highly competitive marketplace. Such benchmarking initiatives yield valuable key performance indicators, such as accessibility (percentage of attempts that successfully connect to the network), retainability (percentage of successfully initiated calls that are ended by the customer), voice quality (an index on voice clarity), and throughput (the mean rate of bytes transferred during data sessions). Information gathered and made public through carrier marketing claims and other means ultimately enable businesses (i.e. marketers) to determine whether their own mobile campaigns might be successful in which markets and on which network.


By aggregating data and measuring how reliable networks are, marketers can also gain an accurate snapshot of consumers' connectivity strength (for example, a better understanding of network coverage and data throughput speeds). Mobile marketers can pinpoint demographics on a coverage map and analyze how effective their messages and marketing materials will be received by core audiences due to the agility of networks.


Wireless carrier networks offer a relevant and important marketing channel for reaching consumers. The mobile community must be part of any company's comprehensive marketing plan. Wireless network benchmarking plays a key role in understanding the strengths and limitations of each market, enabling carriers to optimize their networks and businesses to plan their mobile strategies. From the 75 percent of Americans that take their smartphones with them to the bathroom to the average 158 minutes Americans spend on their mobile devices each day, it's clear where the attention is and the importance benchmarking has in ensuring reliable network coverage and fast data speeds. The world's gone mobile -- brands, content-providers, and marketers must as well.


Paul Carter is president and CEO of Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.


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Dr. Paul Carter is President and CEO of Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. (GWS), a leading independent benchmarking solution vendor for the wireless industry. With more than 22 years of experience in the cellular network industry, Dr. Carter...

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