Gonca Telli Yamamoto. Mobilized Marketing and the Consumer: Technological Developments and Challenges. Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference, 2010.
Organizations and people, whenever they need to, aim to fulfill their requirements with suitable products and services. The suppliers of these requirements perform a certain marketing process until the requirement is fulfilled. In this process, first the attributes of the product or service are determined. Various studies are made during the identification of these attributes. These studies are evaluated from the customer’s perspective for conformity to taste, functionality, suitability to place and culture, convenience for budget and time. The purchasing process is concluded upon the final decision of the people or organizations that see the suitability of the product to fulfill their requirements.
In this context, the mobile customer tries to cover his or her requirements with the knowledge based on information obtained from the virtual environment, and reaches facts via virtual data, and the customer creates a new structure with different features.
This section aims to detail the changing customer structure, the individualization and the experienced changes and considers the transformation of individuals into mobile customers. Generations who depended on products of high-technology development, which show themselves with different aspects, have also brought differences to marketing. They have both changed the production and service approach, and began to benefit from different types of products and services. In addition to other environmental conditions that affect life, human generations who change due to the effects of the means of the age should also be examined in this context.
Interactions and Mobile Trends in the World
The latest developments in the world and the efforts towards the development of east and west integration create serious influences on customers and cause changes in the perception of the customer. According to Koç (2008), the steam boat lies in the basics of developing east-west integration. Owing to the steam boat, long distances became accessible in shorter period of time. The east-west integration essentially upholds two basic changes. One of them is related with crossing the borders and it is based on the facilitation of transport with the development of transportation vehicles. The other one is the change of the mindset which was determined in the interdependent social life. So far, integration has reached to such an extent that it has caused globalization. The world is now perceived as a global totality, and it is also considered as a global place from the point of marketing. As geo-political borders have been eliminated, production has also lost its nationality (Candan, Aydin, Yamamoto, 2008). On the other hand, the world economy has grown rapidly and the reflexes suitable for this economy have arisen and developed. Small players with correct bounces gained strength, while some major players went into shrinkage.
With the development of the means of communication in addition to transportation, the consumer became tremendously strong in terms of gaining knowledge. The world has turned into a giant market. Life styles are shifting towards the formation of the homogenous consumer. The involvement of mass communication instruments especially supports these homogenous formations, influences purchasing which is an important feature of the customer, and paces up consumption. In this context, Koç (2008) compares the world to an auditorium and explains that 6.5 billion people are sitting under a giant dome and share an environment surrounded with immense message rain. Actually, what make this message rain heavier are communication technologies themselves because serious developments have occurred since the invention of the telegram and although 100 years of work was required to connect one billion users to each other after the invention of telephone, the development of computers and mobile communication instruments in the second stage added 10 billion users to the milieu of communication in only 10 years.
Human is a being that desires a social environment and accumulates values in that environment. In the mean time, the human develops a consciousness in terms of protecting the individual values and interests. Therefore, the human being always lives in a dilemma. However, according to Atasü (2008), modern human is in a stronger dilemma. S/he wishes to both be independent and unique, and belong to a certain community. This is something that should especially be taken into consideration and evaluated by the marketers.
Every new occasion causes to certain new opportunities and threats for the organizations that fulfill the requirements and demands. They are influential in the customer approach and perception that is created as a result of some certain marketing efforts, and therefore, the activities require revision. Besides, a revision is also required to assure the access and address to the customer units with innovative approach. During the evaluation of mobile customers and their features, especially the discrepancies of ages and generations should be taken into consideration. The generations, which are described as i-v-millenium and developed in the last 10 years basing on innovation, as well as the cultural changes brought along by the mobile, should be examined. For example in the US, the time of speaking on mobile instruments increased from 30 minutes to over 260 minutes in the last 25 years; meanwhile, the GSM penetration ratio in Turkey was 90% as of June 2008. Also the number of prepaid callers in the same period is 80%. In 2007, the speaking time in Turkey (MoU) was measured as 78 minutes. Mobile income of Turkey in 2007 was stated as TRY 12.8 billion (TRY 9.6 billion in 2006), and mobile investment as TRY 1.4 million (TRY 1.09 million in 2006) (Aykara, 2008). Therefore the customer, customer profiles, tendencies, innovating and diversifying customer generations, and approaches to the product/service have maintained their actuality as the important subjects of mobile marketing.
Towards the Mobile Customer
The needs towards the procurement of news, information and communication at any part of the world have become easily achievable because of the information technologies. For example, a TV serial creates an immediate effect at any part of the world, not only in the country where it is produced. In this environment, the broadcasters and marketers have now become highly professional on making use of the TV, radio and similar media instruments in order to create an overseas effect. The products included in the communication system are distributed to various geographical regions abroad such as the US, Japan, Korea, Finland or Turkey, regardless of where they are produced. YouTube, Facebook and similar social communication websites have enabled the access to such features at almost personal level. A video clip which is shot in a small town of Canada or the imitation of a famous band by a Chinese group in a province of China can easily become one of the most watched videos of the world. Therefore, the affects in the communication environment are quickly distributed via social communication sites and they influence the users’ lives, and turn into a new environment through which the communication is carried out.
Photographs, videos, short films and symbols are distributed to the entire world via similar channels. Everybody exposed to them are automatically influenced by the elements such as figures, symbols and images. The elements which are presented in this context take their places in the memories of individuals in a short time and spread in the entire world. This is in turn leading to a symbols-based thinking. And finally, the behaviors and preferences arising from this thinking are gradually becoming more similar to each other.
Apart from them, the utterly new characters in an utterly new environment take their places in the new structure with the desire for differentiation of the players in the environment. Even, many individuals make use of the websites such as secondlife or social networks with the new online characters in order to perform some of their actions, which they desire but fail to do in the real life (Yamamoto, 2008).
The world experiences the communication bombing arising from the North America and Western Europe, while the urban sections of underdeveloped or developing countries are eminently influenced from this bombing and the western culture. Due to these environments that have been used by the west in the last 20 years with the desire to create a dominant type; a western style of living is assimilated in the lives of the people in the entire world. The idea of changing the family structure is supported with the structures such as nuclear family, etc, and serious efforts are spent in order to create the life styles similar to that of the West. On the other hand, certain production of the eastern culture are moved and spread on internet with the elements such as “anime” and “manga”; and they are tried to be adopted to young people through the fashionable virtual trends. This results in the major interactions caused by the globalization.
With the data obtained from the communication media, the individuals in the developing countries see how the people in the other countries live. They begin to imitate and turn the virtual values into reality by seeing how the people in other countries use the space in their homes, how they communicate, what they communicate about and how they spend their holidays. Birthday celebrations and the brands which are used in order to determine the life styles are also among the examples which are easily revealed.
The people of the developed countries are one or more steps beyond the citizens of other countries with the advantages of visiting and interacting with anywhere they like by the increased means of travel. As the means and circumstances advance, certain effects of convergence appear on people.
Regardless of how closer the east and the west became and how certain styles and methods have changed; certain individual and cultural differences continue at various levels of society. However, virtual forums or Internet communication in the world carry certain ideas and opinions directly to the communication environment with its features passing beyond borders in a different habit and emphasizing individual approaches more than ever. This milieu causes changes of certain rules and structures. The mobile customer is the customer who can make use of this habit and the unlimited environment. While approaching the mobile customer, it should not be forgotten that an entirely different customer group which requires consideration with evaluated aspects of individuality has emerged.
Nonetheless of the source of news, people have begun to demand the best of everything with the best conditions: best house, automobile, fishing rod, mobile phone, etc. In this environment, a more self-centered and individualized prototype customer image is encountered immensely. There is a course shifting towards different social environments compared to the past which identifies individualism with being privileged, and where the customer tries to obtain the maximum benefit from technological developments. For example, mobile phones have moved people away from the phenomena of meeting face to face, but made them virtually closer. It is apparent that this is a different approach.
At present, through the agency of mobile instruments, the new consumer mass receives messages and replies to the messages of interest on the mobile environment literally everywhere: at home, office, car, and on holiday. The work performance talents of marketers in this mass should also be different. People, who can be accessed even when they are called in an irrelevant time and place, have begun to call and text each other more frequently as mobile communication has gradually become more economic. Marketers consider this situation as a benediction as it creates the opportunity to individually receive marketing messages anywhere. Therefore, mobile communication is becoming more and more interesting. An individual, who has a mobile phone, always keeps it near and almost always has it turned on. That’s why, mobile marketers and their more specialized counterparts: the brand and content providers have gained the opportunity to access the target mass at any time and everywhere. The mobile communication environment with its developing infrastructure can be used not only to exchange messages but also for shopping in a very short time through payment. Thus, it turns into an unlimited platform from the marketers’ view. On this platform, it is possible for individuals to merge their powers and create multi-layered synergy and effectively use it.
Mobile, Individualism, and Change
Technological opportunities have not occurred suddenly and automatically. They have been created with the transfer of certain knowledge between generations and with the processing of developing knowledge by creative minds. The most important materials which provide transfer and repeated reminders of this knowledge are the written materials. Books cover the widest area among all written materials. Addressing the book as one of the important phenomena which has affected humanity is important in terms of more clearly expressing the interactions and the changes in life. The “book” has created social factors beginning from the thirteenth century, and enabled the creation of the individuality concept by supporting the individualization of the human being.
Mobile systems that have been developed in our age are actually one-to-one influential in the individuality of life styles. Mobile communication and instruments aim to use individuality obtained via the book in the most efficient manner. Chokvasin (2007) has derived a socialized individualism analyses of Habermas and Heiddeger’s questioning of everything related with technology, and expresses that mobile
phones enable individuals in a communicative universe to confront their new technological stands. This confrontation leads individuals to behaviors which are structured by data selected from a chaotic environment based on different perspectives.
Mobile instruments support the formation of a different lifestyle by maximizing individuality with their features. Most people regard the mobile phone as their inseparable parts; some even feel naked without their mobile phones. The mobile phone did so well for people that it began to take place even in the core of lyrics and movies, becoming an integrated part of humanity. For example, the band “Blue” has a song with the title “Without You”. The chorus of the song is as follows:
“I couldn’t live without my cell phone,
I couldn’t live without my 4 x 4,
I couldn’t live without my credit card,
I couldn’t live without you.”
These words can be actually considered as a comment or summary of the common form people have been attracted into. In movies, mobile phones have already taken their places among the most commonly used items after automobiles and church entities. Furthermore, mobile phones or similar mobile instruments are not considered just as an innovation but as one of the critical instruments used.
Despite the rumors which indicate that text messaging would physiologically elongate the activated thumb, mobile instruments are used for many social activity-related functions. Besides, they help eliminate queues in social interaction and registry transactions (at hospitals or for payments to tax offices, or water, electricity and gas), and they have taken part in almost every aspect of life. Mobile communication and technology, which has been so much interlaced with life, cannot be considered isolated from marketing. From the point of marketing, it is not only important from the corporate perspective, but also in terms of converting the new user to demand-oriented marketing that guides the buyer or seller. There is a market which develops and changes by producing new terminologies that turn into converged and mixed elements while looking for the answers to questions such as who is whose customer, who is the buyer, and who is the seller.
New occupations have arisen on account of mobile marketing. The mobile telephone has also touched the language we use. It even influences the use of languages with its terminology oriented towards creating images through “abbreviation”. By removing the vowels in the written language, a differently created situation arises and is gradually accepted by society although it is not liked all the time. Most of the things which were previously learned as spelling rules are not used anymore. In this change, in addition to the abbreviation or symbolization on Internet, the text messaging feature of the mobile phone provided a great contribution.
Such changes in language may allow for the liberalization of the language and may influence people in terms of expressing their ideas in a different way, and may use the language without caring much for the rules while making use of the technological devices. The different values to be attached in an important way by freer and more liberal people create a social problem, suggesting the necessity of understanding and considering the new customer structure and values. Under the new customer structure, the present classical structures may be insufficient because, arguments (which are proved with convincing evidences) which govern the classical marketing mix with 4 Ps; Product, Price, Place, Promotion are gradually changing and losing their validity regarding their coherence with current customer behaviors. According to Shiffman (2008, p. xii), in the classical paradigm, organizations create products, define special features and properties for them, put a price, select the places to present them and provide service, and aggressively market them to the customer with various methods such as advertising, public relations and direct mail. This marketing approach can be framed with the creation of a limited number of focuses.
With globalization, activities in the world creating the opportunity of an unlimited number of focuses in marketing have continued as connected to a speed spiral. Humankind is affected by technological developments that has caused new world formation also in marketing, just like it did in all other issues. The consumer of the new world changes into individuals who either can shop, have hardly spare time for shopping, or think they have plenty of time. In an environment with very different tastes and tendencies as well as mass and service delivery of dense information, the creation of individual customer tastes has also been possible. This has let marketers act in different approaches specific to individuals in both the classical and modern approach during this transformation period. Actually, each individual in the present state becomes a piece of the marketing element by either trying the products, recommending them or being influenced by them.
The new customer group with a new approach benefits by the environment of information technologies, and respects the existing facilities in this environment. These people embrace and easily accept everything that is technologically developed. These customers are also in a more dynamic structure and pay great attention to mutual interaction (Craig, 1999). When consumers, who currently know how to use computers and benefit by Internet services, consider to buy a product or service, the first thing they do is to collect information on the related product or service by searching on the search engines via Internet or their mobile phones. In addition to the price and product features, it is also possible to examine the ideas of other users on this product or service. The manufacturer who wishes to influence the consumer is required to be present on the Internet, ranking on the top of the list in search engines, and provide an environment where the users of the product or service can clearly state their ideas. At present, such approaches create an unexpected level or relationship and interaction between the marketers and customers (Shiffman, 2008, p. 137).
This level of relationship causes producers to directly enter in the market, preventing marketers from acting freely as they previously did. Many organizations also began to make use of technological resources with a guerilla tactic, adopting aggressive policies. In order to be good at marketing during this swirling fast period of change, it is required to rapidly accept change, and quickly evaluate not only what is going on in the close vicinity but also in the remote marketplace, and in addition to the marketing information systems, data-mining is also required to be correctly employed. Marketing plans are inevitably required to be adapted to the new world and new technologies.
Due to the technologies of the present time, consumers are able to easily find any kind of requested or required product, service or price via Internet, and compare both different and similar products. In order to do that, the thing the consumer is required to do is, simply, to write on one of the search engines, reach the product data according to the obtained results with single click or a few clicks in only seconds, and make a decision by comparing the prices. Curious consumers can also easily learn about complaints and similar comments on the product or service from these web sites. The solution to these types of complaints can also bring along serious opportunities for organizations. Unless organizations can resolve their complaints regarding the products and services, they would accumulate in the technological communication environment and create unfavorable effects against the product or service and become negative word of mouth marketing elements.
In the present marketing environment, the consumer is not required to go to the place where the product or service is presented. Thanks to Internet and mobile instruments, consumers can place orders from their chairs, and immediately remove all the negativities of traditional shopping (loss of time, traffic, parking lot problems, queues, and product search efforts).
Nevertheless, it has also paved new ways for product and service delivering businesses. Through the agency of Internet and mobile devices, businesses have the opportunity to promote and sell their products and services in the overall world in the most economical way, and directly reach target consumers via web sites and WAP. Sales through Internet or mobile devices sometimes provide incredible advantages to corporations and individuals compared to other sales while eliminating the necessity of paying thousands of dollars to open a store at the best place, and to invest in the store decoration or to sell to big department stores. Actually, these issues are gradually becoming less important for consumers. Therefore, costs decrease during marketing activities via Internet and mobile, which is in turn, reflected on the sales prices of the products.
With regard to the sales of devices, instruments and services which include mobile technologies on a global aspect, it is noted that the sales trend rapidly increases when this technology is used, yet the increase differs as per geographical societies (countries). For example, although there are more than 50 million mobile phone users in Turkey, the user mass has not been fully saturated yet. The market has reached saturation in countries with high technological development such as the US and Japan. In these countries new technologies or differences are in demand which provide some certain additional facilities from the consumer.
According to Gartner’s report, mobile phone sales to end users in Japan decreased by 10.1% to 13.2 million in the first quarter of 2008. The reason is that different telephone features that would influence growth did not in the first quarter of 2008. However, in the first quarter of 2007, digital broadcast reception and digital broadcasting with integrated services – terrestrial (ISDB-T) tuners were added to the music playback function of mobile phones, causing consumers to replace their devices. According to Mitsuyama from Gartner Inc.: “The proportion of WCDMA devices sold in Japan decreased from 63.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2007 to less than 30 per cent in the first quarter of 2008. Conversely, the proportion of high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) devices rose sharply from 1.9 per cent to more than 35 per cent in the same period.”
Mobile Customer and Characterisitics
The mobile customer is the person who is diverted towards shopping in the gradually mobilizing world with the influence of information spread via mobile instruments. A solid product is not necessarily required in this mode of shopping. The service can be a game, or other downloadable elements. According to Öymen (2008), this group is defined as information glutton consumers. They have certain very new characteristics which do not rely on the elements such as brand loyalty, habits and trust. These consumers stand against the institutions with their environment and benefit from the power of social sharing networks on influencing consumption tendencies. It is apparent that as one of the most practical communication instruments: the mobile phone – its habit of use will greatly influence the consumer. Brand loyalty is a change brought by interactions in the existing order. Therefore, finding out different ways is required to develop loyalty. Trust is an issue that all organizations and institutions are required to establish for the sake of sustainability. And for the mobile customer, trust is among the most essential issues.
The most evident characteristics of a mobile customer are:
- They like using technology.
- They obtain information from the technological environment.
- They do not care much about the elements such as brand loyalty, habit and trust.
- They appreciate the social sharing idea more than the corporate organization.
- They are willing to easily reach whatever they need.
- They adopt attitudes which vary according to age and social status.
It is possible to separate mobile consumers in very different segments. Separation according to demographic features is an important basis of segmentation. Apart from that, these consumers can also be classified according to their location, educational background, profession, age, environmental means, and fashion. Different segments may be created after the data related with the mobile phone are collected according to demographic properties, technological tendencies and the market share.
According to Bayne (2002), there is not a typical, single-minded mobile user profile. Mobile devices with different features are used due to many different reasons according to place and situation. Many cable sites or broadcasts are not currently suitable for wireless functioning. According to Bourke (2006), mobile marketers are required to evaluate and dwell on personal requirements and demands of mobile phone users. Before attempting any communication campaigns, detailed plans should be made on how to make the campaign, how to reflect it on the customer and how to establish the brand-price relationship. For example, according to the Yougov report from 2006 MobileLife (MobileLife, 2006), mobile phone users in the UK are as follows:
- Mobile Generation: Single, style-conscious, ages between 18 and 24, students and young adults in their first employment.
- Phonetics: Single, ages between 18 and 34, they consider mobile devices as their most important electronic devices.
- Practical Parents: Cost sensitive, families under the age of 34, who select mobile devices according to price.
- Thumb and fingers: Married, middle-aged or retired people with children or grandchildren.
- Clever connectors: Ages between 25 and 44, rich families and professionals who use mobile phone in organizing their businesses and social lives.
- Silver selfish: Rich married couples who reached the retirement period.
These are the segments identified in the Yuogov report and they are considered meaningful data for mobile commerce in the UK. In the researches that were carried out five years ago on mobile, it was expressed that older but well-trained consumers were more prudent on mobile advertisements (Kaasinen, 2003). According to the example, it can be inferred that expectations of the “clever-connected” group will be affected.
The most important communication tool before the introduction of mobile phones was the land phone. Although land phone utilization rates have not changed much, usage frequencies other than connection to the Internet may decrease. The number of people shifting to the mobile phone instead of the land phone is gradually increasing. Both cost and the ease of use affect this preference. For example, in a questionnaire applied to 1,100 university students in the age range of 18-34, 51% of the participants
replied to the question “What is your frequency of using land phone in daytime?” as they did not use the land phone at all while the rate of those who just preferred calling via land phone is 2% (Gençlerin Tercihi Mobil Yaşam, 2008). This questionnaire is a small example that suggests usage tendencies while indicating that mobile phones will be used more frequently by the latter generations. In short, mobile phone has stopped being a substitute of the land phone, and turned into a product which affects life entirely on its own.
Technological tendencies can also be considered as important segmentation instruments in this context. As information regarding the use of communication technologies increases and expands, the tendency towards mobile products also increases. The saturation points of the market should also be seriously considered and taken into account for evaluation. A new hunger appears with every new technological generation while the saturation for former technologies is apparently obtained.
In the decisions during production stages, the mobile customer has even gone beyond being the king and became internalized. This internalization: the customer, the customer’s character, requirements, and preferences are interrelated with the offered product and service. Although a relatively short time has passed, a large number of customers have reached a digital interpretation level which enables them to use high technology comfortably.
Characteristics of the Mobile Customer
Outlining the general characteristics of mobile customers is an important problem in terms of explaining what draws the interest of mobile uses, how they can be attracted and how they can be served based on the users’ requirements. Mobile phone manufacturers, the service providers and mobile marketers are in the pursuit of finding the answer to these problems. Actually, the characteristics created by mobilization on the human can be considered almost more difficult than breaking the Enigma code. Mobile telephone manufacturers are arousing product differentiation with a tactic which has virtually not been noted for any product so far. During the continuing mobilization process, technology is rapidly innovating itself and every innovation is used as a marketing instrument.
When considering mobile customer characteristics, the evaluation of the tendencies towards the means offered by the mobile phone or similar devices is expressed only by touching. Here, touching is related with touching buttons, touching life, and meeting and adopting new values.
Mobile telephone and similar devices gradually make human life freer. According to Öğüt (2008), mobile devices facilitate the person’s passage from the “field of obligation” to the “field of freedom” by introducing a development in parallel to an ethical understanding that puts forth the individual and universality that passes beyond old thoughts, and that aims to move forward the humanity which is led by freedom. This is contrary to the conservative ethic which is tightly attached to strict social sanctions and past values based on obligations and duty. It indicates that the mobile will support the changing of the customer character towards liberalization. Some problems will also appear as the area of personal freedom expands. Of course, in order to resolve those problems, asking the question about the extent of freedom might be required once more.
Modern society created an earthly ambit of morality instead of the dogmatic values that shaped the Middle Age. All innovative trends introduce a restructuring based on the denial of its roots. However, societies can never cross out their entire histories. To the contrary, they tend to bring along their roots. Moreover the relative ethic – which defends that the good and the bad, the right and wrong, what should be done and what shouldn’t be done change from one person to another, one culture to another, and one period to another, and prepares the reply to questions of according to who and what—is in continuity. It is claimed that the allowed or forbidden activities are shaped according to the character of the person, and the connections established with the roots of the activity.
Mobile customers know different ways of acquiring information, and are located in a “society-based” relational cycle. The social network web sites that crease a society-based relational cycle and information sharing storages such as blogs, podcasts, and wiki can be shown as examples in this regard (Roe, 2008). Those who can use these ways well will create positive values such as benefiting from all means of the Internet. Mobile telephones which comprise not only the Internet, but also many different functions and continuously new technologies serve their users.
Using mobile phones as also with the MP3 and radio is considered quite a simple function. During the time of the walkman twenty years ago and discman ten years ago, it was not imagined that people would become so internalized with earphones on their ears. The measurement and evaluation of the type of music or radio channel listened to by these users and the frequency of listening to music may facilitate the marketers to act according to behavior. As mobilization has turned into a piece of life in every stage, it can also be considered as an indicator of contemporary life. For example in Poland, bus tickets can be obtained via mobile and people can get on the bus by using their mobile phones instead of tickets. For example, the wireless system has been put into use at most airports in May 2008. If the cost decreases, then everyone will be able to check and send e-mails via WAP. Issues such as momentary message exchange have already become a piece of normal life. However, issues such as the frequency and features of these messages have not been determined yet.
People are spending efforts to differentiate their mobile phones with various accessories such as wall papers or ringtones, and to personalize their accessories, melodies and screen images with coaters. Personal tastes and requests can be identified on the product and people can accept it only according to their self-preferences.
The mobile device is also considered as an assurance for emergencies. These instruments are provided with the feature of informing emergencies even if they are out of battery or coverage; thus, providing security for possessors.
It seems that accessibility, which may also cause disadvantages in addition to advantages, will influence human life for a long time.
Despite different uses in the previous period, mobile phones are currently used during the daily lives of many people in their businesses and existences; it coordinates the lives of people and so, presents a brand new life style creating a different culture. Mobile devices have caused a shift from face-to-face communication to talking and chatting via virtual communication and towards writing messages or sending pictures. Mobile phones organize a new life culture which redesigns features such as wishing for a quick recovery or messaging for birthday organizations, expressing mutual love and respect, directing commercial changes, as well as other features which allow for the remote performance of many actions.
Having eliminated the place and time concept with accessibility to people at any moment, anytime and anywhere, mobile phones can enter restaurants, buses, parks and even public toilets, and others can secretly access to talks with these instruments and that appears as an important problem beyond what the manufacturer and the user can do, bringing a brand new meaning and definition to the subject of communication (Ling, 2004, p. 4). This situation, which means the continuous monitoring of personal areas, may cause some distressing circumstances (see private sphere).
|Table 1. Generations|
|Age and life phase (ontological factors)|
|Era and Technology|
|Events and experiences (historical factors)|
According to Shiffman (2008), Web 2.0 creates a ready-made environment for in-depth contact of the customer and potential clients with brands of products and services in this culture.
In this context, it is possible to talk about a culture which is informative or easily informant, individualistic, society-based referenced, more freely thinkable despite the traditional understanding along the lines of what is right and wrong which is more clearly observable in the work environment, but regardless of whatever happens, more open to communication and which can use all the audio-visual elements of communication, and therefore be more creative.
Different Generations and Mobilizing Marketing
In the world, certain conflicts, disagreements and different behaviors have occurred between the old generations and the following generations throughout history. People can be separated into different generations in terms of various factors such as age and life style (ontological), time and technology (sociological), events and experiences (historical) (see Table 10).
According to that, it is very important to consider the individuals of the mobilizing consumer group as a generation. Mainly X and Y generations, the generations such as i, v, millennium are different from each other both in terms of the users of the devices and in terms of benefiting from the functions.
X and Y Generations
People who were born in and after 1960 are defined as X Generation in the US (Gen Xers or Generation 13), E Generation or the 68 Generation on Continental Europe, “Génération Bof”, which means “I don’t care or whatever” generation, the “burn generation” in Iran, the “crisis generation” in South America, “glasnost-perestroika” and sometimes the stockers and watchmen generation in former communist states, and “shin jin rui” “the new human being” generation in Japan. The lifestyles of these generations have shown significant changes compared to previous generations, and the shopping habits and tendencies developed in a different way. Strauss and Howe (1992) are concerned with certain factors which they believe shapes Generation X. These factors are listed as follows:
- Increase in divorces
- Increase in the number of working women
- Zeroing of the population increase rate
- Change in the characters of horror movies
X Generation accounts for approximately 17% of the population in the US, 22% of the population in the UK, and 54.5% in Turkey. The X Generation is considered as an independent and skeptical group grown under the shadow of the Baby Boomers band, known as the post war children. The oldest among the members of this group are around 30-40 years old now, and they have become full consumers, with a certain income, most have families and own a house.
The people who were born in 1994 and afterwards are known as Generation Y. They account for approximately 25% of the population in the US, 25% in the UK and 18% in Turkey. This group is generally considered as idealist, optimist and patriotic. Members of generation Y consume the media by dividing it into smallest points. Of course, there are many common points and many things mutually experienced and shared by members of Generation X and Generation Y. For example, members of both groups were influenced by the crisis and recession, they lived with TV and they were even born after TV, they merged into Internet and grew up with other personal technologies. In consequence, both of these groups consume products and services more differently compared to former generations, and especially use the products and services that are created in the time of their generations in a different way compared to the next generation. The use of traditional marketing channels between X and Y generations are gradually becoming more difficult. Flesichner (2007) considers online marketing and direct mailing opportunities as one of the strongest ways of marketing to Generation X and Generation Y. Besides, in order to understand the new applications, it is required to compare them with basic marketing practices and carry out them out with the attitude based on these differences. According to Sheahan (2006), the Generation Y group is the group most connected to technology in history. This generation has turned into a group attached to the “system” and market.
The Millennium Generation
According to the Millennial Fact Sheet issued by Deloitte in 2005, Generation Y is considered as follows. Although not a certain birth year is mentioned, those who were born between 1982 and 1993 are considered in that group. They are the children of those who were born during the baby boom. They are the Generation X’s siblings. 38% of them define themselves as ‘non-white’. This is the generation of new age heroes. They are also named as Generation Y, Generation Why, Generation Next, Nexers, Milleniums, Digital Generation, Echo Boomers, Boomlets, Baby Busters, I Generation, Net Generation, Netizens, Gaming Generation (along with the younger members of Generation X). This group is also named as “Generation Now” as they use and reflect technology in a fast and satisfactory way. Also, similarly, they are named as the computer generation; Generation D (Digital), Generation M (Millenium or Multi Task), Google Generation or Generation Q (Quiet).
The people in Generation Y have a good education, integrity is appreciated and the families create their role models. In this period, fathers contribute more to child care and bringing up. There is a continuous change in the modern organizations where they are located. Their characteristics include being technology-oriented, in 7/24 connection, self-confident, optimistic, independent, hopeful, adamant, determined, success-oriented, life style-centered, global urban and society-oriented, service oriented, entrepreneur and like changes.
|Table 2. Business approaches in the new generation (Source: Deloitte (2005). Millennial Factsheet Who are the Millenials? a.k.a. Generation Y|
|Company Philosophy||Slow and Clumsy||Well organized and effective|
|“Suits everyone”||Specialized and targeted|
|Passive learning||Interactive and just in time information|
|Personal Behavior||Speak on behalf of the company||Say whatever the consequences are|
|False pretenses||Brutal honesty|
|Feckless but political oriented||Cares for respect|
|Plays games||Shows reliable behavior|
|Time||Next week or next year||Now|
|Reason||Do this because:
I said so
We always do it like that here
You have debts to pay
|Do this because it is rational|
|Concern for the future||Company stairs; retirement||Bright CV; Personal retirement account|
One of the features of Generation Y is that they did not spend a part of their lives without computers. It is possible to say that they have the mind-set of a reverse-directional flow of information. They act with the philosophy that the younger you are, the more information you can obtain, and the entire information is only one-click away from them, and people compete in creating information-looseness for themselves. As the entire world is only one click away, the idea of acquiring knowledge has changed. It is natural for employees with the habit of using readily-given knowledge to show different characteristics also in business life. The members of this group are good at team work with their friends. They are cooperative, skillful and innovative. They like struggling with a different energy, and they are continuously in search of differences. They want to do things that are worth for their effort. They want to be heroes, they are impatient, comfortable in speed and change. They are flexible and feel better when they explore new places. They get on well with mentors. They are value-oriented. They expect respect.
This generation is also named as the I-generation after the booming of the iPod. Because the people in this group do not only use iPods, MP3 players etc., but they also make use of services such as Internet forums, email, Wikipedia, search engines, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and densely use Internet in this context.
At present, people between the ages of 15 and 25 prefer to simultaneously consume certain things in different fields. These consumers, who are defined as multi-tasking, are able to use more than one medium and field at the same time. For example, while sending a SMS, they can also watch movies and listen to music from an iPod.
The Cell Generation
This generation, which is brought up by families who are around 31 years old at present and who become parents for the first time, is defined as the Cell Generation or Generation Z. They are considered as a rapidly maturing and rapidly growing group educated at very early ages and are exposed to marketing and its elements when they are very young. This group quickly understands the Internet and it is a technologically brought up generation. The people in this group are also grown with a multi-tasking ability. They pay attention to speed rather than correctness when being directed from one issue to another and from one work to another. Although they are not included in the labor force at present, 10% of this group will be included in the labor force in 10 years time. In 10 years time, the number of new recruitments is expected to be less than the number of retirements. Therefore, this generation will appear with an aging population and it should be considered as a different generation in an environment with a global request for labor force due to the problems caused by the diminishing skillful labor force, and thus marketing activities should take this into account.
According to Havenstein (2007), with Generations X and Y, marketers are obliged to also consider generation V, which is in a new and mixed structure. Generation V possesses certain stereotypical characteristics of the generations that follow the baby boom. Although some people define it as the latest generation, the marketers of Gartner Inc. suggest that individuals should not be defined according to their birthdays but according to their online activities.
As actual behavior, Generation V can be considered as a group which prefers online experience instead of physical experiences. Here, attention should be paid to online differentiation. Because the traditional demographic data such as the age, name, sex and address are not sufficient for the correct routing of marketing messages by companies which desire to sell products and services to these customers.
Here, one more step should be taken and customers should be evaluated not only in terms of online activities, but also mobile activities. As mentioned earlier, marketing products and services to customers with traditional methods is not sufficient. It is true that this group has a multi-layered demographic structure. The V group is also included among those who are familiar with the virtual world, who like video games and social networks, and who are shop from web sites such as Amazon.com and e-bay.com. This social group, which is known as Generation V, is the group of people who can simply adapt to what is in force or what is valid. Apart from actual status definitions, people in this group should be considered as a different social status which appears with the people’s own actions included, and which is not considered as functional in the physical world.
This generation is able to work with marketers anonymously, and they can establish communication in mutual interaction. According to Sarner (2007), in most online behaviors, this type of customer establishes their online characters rather than their actual personalities. In this context, those who are willing to work with generation V are required to meet certain online characters and create new tactics during the purchasing processes of these characters in the virtual world. Within the context of relationships to be developed with generation V, which has a volatile structure, in addition to the describable generations of X and Y, the characters that appear in the virtual environment and the effects of these characters on the customer’s experiences should be taken into consideration; and it should be known
that disclosing the fact behind the purchase of product and service has become crucial for marketers. Of course in time, more data will be revealed regarding the taste, shopping behavior and shopping approach of the generations and information collected through data mining will be better evaluated, and the actual desires and requirements of the customer will be covered. Apart from that, Gartner claims that from 2015 onwards, money spent in marketing and sales for multi online characters shall be higher compared to that for customers who do not shop via Internet. The difficulty in their identification and gap in the market may develop by targeting these groups which cannot be identified as customers. Therefore, it is stated that generation V is an important area in the next 10 years for all purchases.
Gartner recommends the following for companies which are willing to market to Generation V.
- To organize products and services according to multi-online characters, and even creating their mobile characters
- To sell to the adopted character rather than the person
- To create virtual environments which can enable the discovery of the customer during shopping in a more efficient way
- To shift investments from known customers to unknown customers,
- To create a worker profile suitable for this new type of customer and virtual environment
- To concentrate on those who affect society
Generation V with its online culture, consists of individuals who can only be virtually defined. These individuals realize their relations and use services and communications primarily through the electronic environment. As can be understood, generation V acts outside of the factors such as age, gender, social status or geographical location, and prefers a digital environment in finding, acquiring and sharing information.
There are four different customer structures according to the connection level in society that creates generation V. They are considered as creative, participant, opportunist and observer. The characteristics of these segments, which are the classification of Gartner are defined as follows.
Those who are in the creative group account for 3% and they have the original content developed skill. They play an important role in the presentation of products and services. The participants’ share varies between 3 to 10%. They do not start a relationship but they join it. Participants may recommend products or services to customers during the product or service purchasing period. Those in the group of 10-20% evaluate opportunities related with purchasing decisions. This group provides a kind of contribution to marketers by providing detailed information to people who can reach a technological environment. Opportunists can add value to the conversation with regard to purchasing. The audience group accounts for the remaining 80%. They can indirectly contribute to society they are included in, yet they do not create a focus point. They are observers in general, and all users in the communication environment are included in the system with this type of relationship.
Actually, generation V is a customer group defined through associating their general behavior, attitude and interests with online environment. Generation V has a feature which is of a different manner than “the generation of culture symbols”. The technology-oriented understanding is gradually expanding and it is going under certain changes which would enable the growth of technology-oriented generations. They create a segment for many generations that have sometimes a supporting and sometimes a preventive approach. Here, the virtual environment is considered as a game field organized in a worthy order according to capability, motivation and effort and according to virtual environment, age, gender, class and income issues (Sarner, 2007).
At present, someone who might be considered a child yet possesses the role of a consultant who provides opinions on how to use computer software. An ordinary office staff may appear as a player who plays in the latest steps of a computer game which is very difficult to access. In order to obtain strong social incentives such as gaining prestige, being effective, and obtaining individual development, wider masses spend more time in the virtual world. Here, new processes and abilities are required to be evaluated according to their personal characteristics rather than demographic characteristics (Gartner Recommendations on ‘Generation Virtual’, 2007).
The new generation added to the labor force seeks a higher work-life balance and if the performed work does not meet their expectations, then they immediately begin to look for another job. Therefore, these people should be motivated by a manager to reinforce their perception that their job is not slavery. In addition to that, a suitable style of entertainment is also required to be found in order to bring entertainment to business life. However, pranks and practical jokes related with colleagues are things that sometimes alienate people and which should be avoided by any means.
Preferences & Expectations
Different generations are equipped with different thoughts and they have different opinions and behaviors. It is clear that created preferences will also be different when the related characteristics are considered. Actually, new generations are based on what is produced by previous generations. New generations expect more practical and easier solutions from the producer and marketer, while others prefer to take part in the process and put forth issues such as benefitting from products which are created according to their expectations.
One of them is after fads, while the other group spends efforts to overcome the difficulties of compliance to groups or to the social environment. In order to maintain an equal distance between both of these groups with different views of life, marketing essentially requires approaches with different perspectives. The new generation aims to be successful no matter what happens. They are in the pursuit of the best and easily accessible one of everything. All inter-generational conflicts arise from differences of priorities. This conflict is actually an indicator of development. To rule the future, awareness on the dynamics of the future is required. Furthermore, these dynamics should also be considered as a highly effective instrument, and as a value defined as the forecast in the configuration and orientation of marketing plans. Technology facilitates obtaining required data for classification according to personal characteristics, and also facilitates the performance of demographic classification. Real data obtained from the virtual environment are provided with a clearer and more concrete form.
These means also cause differences in terms of the customer’s expectations. It is quite natural to observe wide differences among expectations of the new generations as the Generation V group is directed to a more active attitude while the Generation X group indicates a more passive attitude with its personal self-perspective.
The expectations of Generation Y are as follows:
- Availability of options
- Self adaptation of products and services
- Changing mind
- Trying before buying.
Due to this volatile structure, retaining the Generation Y customer is not easy. Communication and information developed in the field of technology with the claim of being an information society causes other changes in addition to digital approach with its impact on the expectations of both X, Y and other generations. The approximation of advertising and sponsorship relationships and what is pumped into the environment by systems that facilitate the configuration of products, services and even characters provides the opportunity to both entertain and develop their hobbies which is important. The request to be held subject to a special treatment as a customer is expected to become a new norm. The new location and subject-dependent marketing effort result in the requisite for paying great attention to the expectations of organizations and individuals which also necessitates marketers to pursue new expansions. The taste-satisfactory marketing efforts may be another important expectation. The difficulties on direction towards not only the requirement but also tastes and introducing the most suitable offer for the customer will become the most important problems for marketers.
Innovation is the replacement and improvement of anything old, harmful or unsatisfactory with the new, beneficial and satisfactory. Therefore, in order to conceive contemporary lives, regardless of the generation, it is required to deal with and conform to the innovations that arise in daily life. Benjamin (1999) philosophically considers innovation as a component of the flow of life, explaining the reason for people’s sharing the newest things with each other as probably to gain victory against death, which is not something new. However, every innovation needs some time for internalization.
The short lifespan of the “virtual” environment suggests that information products will also have a short lifespan (Böhm, 2001). In our age, in addition to the influence caused by the short lifespan, information created in the virtual environment also faces the risk of losing its importance until its value is recognized by the human brain, which characteristically perceives it to be late.
Then, to maintain harmony between the demands of the contemporary technology and human behavior requires questioning. How changes in the new generations affect ideas and approaches and how this influence would reflect on society should be dwelled on, and the ways to obtain harmony should be revealed. In this context, foreseeing consumer behaviors between production societies which guide marketing activities and the technology-consuming societies or information societies is a great concern.
Augé (1995) defines the world as “non-places” as having no identity, no history and no urban relationships, which is created on individual terms for a temporary, short time and without an established place. With the development of the transportation, tourism, entertainment and commerce sectors which eliminate the concepts of time, place, volume and distance, and with the restructuring of communication through wired or wireless instruments, the peculiar assets of individuals (wisdom, information, capital etc.) and the results of communication with an individual with another image should be evaluated and actions should be taken according to them. Meanwhile, borders between the real world and the virtual world are also removed as they interlace with the virtual world through brand new definitions of the time, volume and distance concepts, and at these times, the concepts of the real world and the virtual world are mixed in each other.
In this context, how should the personality differences of people who benefit from innovations at different levels and by different means be neutralized or considered and how would the pains of innovation in behaviors be removed are also among the questions to be taken into account. Atasü (2008) suggests that individualism is much more related with collectivism than is actually believed.
There is the risk of over-fragility caused by individualism, which has been fortified with the Internet and then the mobile environment, and the risk of unbalancing the details, damaging the sense of society, and “individualization” and personalization of everything as a result of the mentioned over-fragility. The threat of shifting societies towards more egoist norms through these approaches should also be evaluated. “Would such members of society choose individualism or collectivism for their lives? How will the behaviors based on these two approaches be explained?” These are among the questions for consideration.
From the past to the present, certain theories exerting to explain the behaviors of the customer have tried to describe the expansions adopted in this regard, and they mention the results concluded from abstract to concrete. According to the enhanced view of the Theory of Reasoned Action (Ajzen 2001, Bentler and Speckart 1979, Eagly and Chaiken 1993), the past-time behavior of an individual explains his or her present-time behavior. It means customers prefer shopping at places where they previously shopped with the expectation of obtaining the same benefit. Corstjens and Rajiv (2000) explain this approach as the request for minimizing the cost of thinking and psychological affection related to their previous likings. This is defined as the inertia effect, and it automatically occurs without conscious thinking (Vogel, Evanschitzky & Ramaseshan, 2008). The continuity of this tendency is required to be maintained in mobile shopping, and the trust mechanism should be correctly operated on the customer. Mobilization is also related with the interest-awakening feature of the innovative processes. How problems about closing changes without any damages are resolved and absorbed are not clearly known because mobile marketing appeared as a trend realized in the last 2 or 3 years as a result of the means provided in the last 20 years. It is not possible to say that the “Theory of Reasoned Action” is sufficient for mobile marketers. However, as individuals perform certain actions on digital media, the behaviors related to them have gained meaning.
McKenna and Bargh (2000) highlight four main differences among real life acts and the selfness, identities, social interactions and relations of individuals on the Internet. The anonymousness of the person or hiding the name to be free of relationship development based on physical environment and appearance, and acting controlled on arranging time and speed in the interaction is common of individuals on the Internet.
When these differences are considered from the mobile marketing view, the individual has an environment sufficient to hide his own number when building communication. Together with that, mobile devices enable communication to be performed within the given permits. People or organizations act in an environment where they can more easily express themselves by disclosing themselves and their identities, and even this environment is considered as more reliable than the Internet. The interaction is momentary and immediate while certain infrastructural problems arise with regard to the physical environment. From the point of mobile marketing development, the only environmental problems are the use or ease of use of devices and the number of users, the insufficiency of facilities which provide access or uncovered areas, and the high prices of 3G and similar ones. Nevertheless, the use of mobile Internet presents certain problems which resemble those of the Internet as the mobile connects to the
Internet. However, such problems should be considered as easily solvable after the full-establishment of the 3G system.
According to De Souza e Silva (2006), mobile phones also cause changes on the physical environment as much as changes in the social environment. In cyber places, it is possible to perceive someone else or be together with someone else without requiring any physical action or moving any physical objects. So, cyber places create hybrid domains and enable circulation of the individual’s information in cyber places (Urry, 2002). People can easily talk on mobile phones while walking which means they can still be in a social environment while moving in a physical environment (Klein cited in De Souza e Silva, 2006: 29). This absent presence transforms the physical environment into non-place.
Mobile telephones also cause the formation of hybrid domains similar to the Internet, but they are more minimized and narrower. Even, with their digital interfaces, mobile phones enable reaching people at anytime in hybrid domains. The portable interfaces in the mobile environment are merged in the physical environment, thus blurring the environment where real life and digital environment co-exist. With mobile phones, people can carry the Internet wherever they go, feeling as though they are everywhere at the same time. However, as there are certain specializations developed on monitoring the environment, they can also be used threatening individuality. Being aware of these two conditions, the issue of how users would make use of their preferences will be shaped by their experiences.
With the development of web surfing functions of mobile phones, the idea of using the mobile environment will become more effective for marketers. It is apparent that the behavior in cyber places would be different than those in the physical environment.
Mobile phone users generally come and go between the emotions of devotion and detachment, and it also reflects on their behaviors. For example, a received phone call during a dinner breaks takes the individual off from the current social environment for a moment and takes him or her into another environment; therefore, the communication environment may influence the actual environment of the individual and turn it into a different state at the same time (Doyle, 2007). The question raised by Doyle for the mobile phone as an instrument susceptible to discussing from many perspectives is: “Is it building communication or just being in a placebo?” Nevertheless, the question raised is related with the reconsideration of the utmost fundamental issues such as “Who will communicate with whom at which domain?” According to his arguments and the reflection on the individual’s behaviors against individuals, and the social behaviors, Doyle draws the attention that this situation has a multimodal character. He hints warnings on the results of social imports which might be caused by the virtual interlacing of the private domain and social domain at the same time. Due to observed inconveniences, using the mobile phone in the classroom is prohibited in most states of the USA and in certain countries. According to Meyrowitz (1985, p. 315), breaking off the unnecessary connection in social relationships is gradually becoming more difficult. Everybody has begun to interfere with everybody at any time whether it is necessary or unnecessary.
According to Harris Interactive, different generations have already separated and identified themselves as different from other generations in terms of behavior.
In studies held in order to understand how different generations are perceived by the society, it is noted that these generations have more than one of the three strengths: being admired, being productive and having a positive effect.
The generation before Generation X is foreseen as that which creates positive influence in society by 35%, and it is followed by Generation X with 25%.
The pre-world war II generation, which is defined as the Silent Generation, is described as the most widely admired generation with 33%. The silent generation is also considered as the most generous generation with 40%. Baby Boomers are second to Generation X with 33% in terms of generosity.
The group described as the most productive is Baby Boomers with 45%. They are followed by Generation X with 32%. The most self-indulgent group is Generation V with 53%. Generation X follows with 25%.
A 41% plurality sees Generation X as the most innovative. It is followed by Baby Boomers (25%) and Generation Y (22%).
The most socially conscious groups are Baby Boomers (34%) and Generation X (26%). 32% of Generation Y would prefer being renamed as the “Internet Generation”. 25% of Generation X would prefer being renamed as “Generation Tech”. Those in the Baby Boomers group are happy with their name.
Customers who accept to receive an advertising message from a mobile device are young, pioneering and vanguard people.
Katz (2006) exemplifies configuration of the effects created by the mobile phone in awakening desire for relationships in the perception of human values, and scrutinizes decisions regarding the identification of mobile phones with personal images. These images cause the gradual approximation between public domain and personal domain. The symbol chosen by each individual may differently reflect the situation and different images are preferred depending on the culture, person or information environment. Here, one of the important points is to know the character located in mass circulation affecting the individual, and act accordingly or to stimulate buying desire with conforming transmissions.
The Creativity Mechanism
Design-making is leading one of the most important characteristics which separate human kind from other species. Designing is the foundation of cultural issues-related sharing. Design-making also lies in the foundation of social construction; therefore, design is an indispensable value for social structure and it requires creativity.
According to Luecke (2008), creativity is not a state of mind or a personal nervous system, but it is the development and expression of new ideas for solving problems and satisfying needs.
The creative innovation or creative inspiration is included in a momentary design and even in the moment itself. It reaches from an ambiguity to clarity. Otherwise, what is done would not be anything else than repeating the evident (both in essence and in form). The past is assimilated in the present. Now it also includes the elements of the future. Then, the past, the present and the future remain integral in every aspect of life (Behramoğlu, 2008). On the other hand, each period has its own internal dynamism.
Lyons (2007) defines innovation as a “fresh” idea which creates value. According to Luecke (2008), who carries it one step forward, innovation is the synthesis, combination or solidification of information in order to create an original, new and valuable product, production process or service. In order to do that, an innovative mindset is required.
According to Altun, the spirit of time has support from the most suitable environment for innovation. Technological demands create new balances on what has not been done, trying what has not been tried and creating what has not existed by an innovative organization and being fast. Thinking differently and developing creative, innovative business ideas accordingly has entered on a demand basis; thus, featuring
a value (2007). However, according to Schiffman, businessmen may not dream for others or suggest innovative or creative opinions for others and make plans to help people (2008). New technologies have led from the former narrow-minded customer behaviors of read-learn-watch culture to the participation and cooperation of the customer. A shared, social, global, open and interacted customer relationship, which is produced or developed as requested by the user, has emerged (Shiffman, 2008, p. 2).
On the other hand, the media world changes with concepts such as personal publishing, digital video, podcasting and social networks, and the customers have become able to reach information when they want to obtain information. This creates an arbitrary or on-demand information access system, yet it is in need of creativity on developing technology to filter undesired messages.
As creativity is required to be established on the production of fast consumption-based technological products to their extension to the end consumer, creating innovation turns into a piece of the marketing business. Marketers are required to redefine their own works so as to race against speed and time, and to be able to develop content within the framework of their customers’ requests.