Mobile technology has changed the nature of the modern workforce beyond all recognition. Local businesses play on a global stage and employees are no longer restricted to working in one location. Widespread adoption of technology has also had significant effects on how businesses communicate, changing the way they converse with consumers, stakeholders, and third parties. For consumers, it has changed the path to purchase. Modern consumers are nothing if not omni-channel.
The rapidly changing landscape presents a unique challenge to communication students. Although most will already graduate with skills ranging from demonstrable creativity to negotiation and critical evaluation, the rise of mobile technology forces majors to adapt and broaden their skill set to take on the challenge sufficiently. While businesses do not expect communication majors to graduate with the same skills as a computer science or information technology major, they do expect an understanding of the drivers in the trend toward mobile.
Local Search Marketing
Local search dominates the marketing headlines. Modern consumers are able to conduct a mobile search for a product or service and receive results convenient to their location. More than 50 percent of those consumers will visit a physical store within 24 hours of an online search, usually to complete their purchase. Communication majors must understand and manage the need for their business to actively engage consumers through local search.
Mobile Advertising for Competitive Advantage
The phenomenon of banner blindness – a consumer’s ability to mentally block banner advertisements while surfing the Internet – has yet to make a mark on mobile technology. Communication majors must be knowledgeable about approaches to mobile advertising such as SMS and pull marketing. Having a clear idea of how to direct those in coding is essential.
The Rise of Retail Apps
Retailers increasingly rely on the power of retail apps to engage customers, both within the store and outside. Communications majors must understand how the most effective mobile retail apps are simple to use and give value to consumers. While they may not code the apps themselves, having a clear picture of how to engage consumers with retail apps is essential for those working in the communications field.
Using Big Data to Engage Consumers
There are differences in opinion about what big data is, but even without a widely agreed definition, many businesses attempt to use the concept to turn casual browsers into big spenders. Stores are able to use ISP addresses and WiFi technology to push ads directly to the mobile phones of consumers in their stores. Effective communication majors can help build brand loyalty through the medium of push advertising.
Successful communication majors will undoubtedly have a deep understanding of these advances in mobile technology, but the most in-demand will be those who understand that despite its growing importance, mobile technology can sometimes only ever be used to complement traditional methods of working. Nothing says a candidate is as well equipped as their willingness to speak to others in person. Despite the onset of mobile technologies, individual personalities will continue to breed success.