Mobile Won’t Change Everything

I constantly hear the refrain that “mobile’s going to change everything.” Everything in this context is typically presumed to mean search, social media, advertising, marketing, and the Internet broadly. Since I’m a marketing professional and a marketing-focused entrepreneur, I’ll ignore the other items and focus on the marketing part of that equation.

And, perhaps weirdly, I disagree with the statement “Mobile will change everything about marketing.”

Mobile isn’t proving to be a particularly different set of technologies or interfaces. Instead, it’s extending the web and the idea of desktop software (through “apps” and “app stores”). Yes, mobile devices mean that we basically have a portable computer with us all the time. And yes, the apps themselves function slightly differently to traditional desktop software (mostly because they’re more readily available and less expensive or free).

But what’s really changing in the world of marketing isn’t due to mobile devices. It’s due to the location of those devices and of the people carrying them. I believe that local will change marketing and already has. I don’t believe mobile (the devices themselves or the ways we interact with them) will change marketing all that much.

For this reason, I’m generally bullish on investing in software and tools to help marketers figure out the local space. But I’m less keen on software for helping marketers sort out mobile. Maybe if the app stores were more open and accessible with their data or if there was a common platform or if it seemed like less of a hits-driven business. But even then, I get the sense that in a few years, mobile will feel more like we’ve put tiny laptops in our pockets and less like we’ve created a new paradigm for technology, marketing, and “everything.”

Then again, I could just be stuck in my web-marketer mindset. I certainly wish folks like MobileDevHQ good luck in proving me wrong.