Social, local and mobile are the next big thing; the last mile; where the rubber meets the road, the ultimate game changer. The pundits predicted 2012 would be the year of SoLoMo. Now the same pundits predict hockey stick growth in 2013.
Yet in spite of steady growth in mobile adoption, smartphone penetration, soaring text and video volume and the steady growth of local search, the fantasy of immediate, relevant, personal mobile advertising penetration hasn’t yet materialized.
It’s not for lack of technology. Four other factors are retarding the growth of mobile advertising and offers on a local level.
Phone Sensibility. Mobile phones are the last perceived bastion of personal privacy. Most people are outraged at getting telemarketing calls, robo calls or text ads on their phone. Intruding on a cell phone is considered the ultimate invasion of privacy. Consumers are not ready to be targeted, followed and hounded like Tom Cruise was in the movie, AI.
Merchants Have Been Burned. Groupon and Living Social poisoned the well. Promising amazing results and delivering losses, these social and mobile marketing schemes have soured merchants. Without a provable ROI, there is no appetite to play in this arena. Disappointed retailers eager to embrace new technology and engage customers have been burned. Their anger has extended to all forms of social and mobile advertising.
No People or Budgets. Main street retailers don’t have the time, the savvy, the people or the money to play in this space. Most don’t even use e-mail effectively much less more complex technology that requires considerable strategy and labor to execute properly. Even the bigger guys don’t have the databases or the systems in place to execute this smartly using the built-in GPS function on a neighborhood, zip code or block level. And since nobody as hit it big yet, there is no imperative to keep up with the Joneses.
Paradigm Paralysis. Retailers are a cheap, conservative, monkey-see; monkey-do bunch. They like to do what they’ve always done. They know what works and they stick to it. And while many mouth the mobile mantra, very few invest the time or the money to properly test the waters. So while the tech guys predict success and the app coders crank out functionality, retailers, for the most part, sit on the sidelines waiting to see how well an outlier or a maverick does before they make a copycat move.