Mobile is New and Disruptive — How Are You Going to Meet the Challenge?

Harvard Business Review (HBR) published a graphic today with the title, Vision Statement: How People Really Use Mobile, and I've emailed and shared it with hordes of people. It's commonly accepted that mobile is one of the top disruptive technologies (arguably the top), and I think we're all watching and waiting as to exactly where and how far it's going to go. Today's HBR piece was an interesting piece of the puzzle.

In summary, a study was completed in two phases in 2012 by InsightsNow for AOL and BBDO.
  • In the first phase 24 users completed a seven-day diary and in-depth interviews. 
  • In the second phase, 1,051 U.S. users ages 13 to 54 were surveyed, data on 3,010 mobile interactions were collected, and the mobile activities of two-thirds of those users were tracked for 30 days.
An easy-to-follow infographic was created to show how smartphone users are using their phones and includes the breakdown of the seven primary motivations of phone usage. (The limitations of this blogging platform do not do the graphic justice, so look at the original HBR graphic here for best clarity.)
Harvard Business Review graphic from Vision Statement: How People Really Use Mobile
  1. The largest motivation, 46%, is "Me time", where the user seeks relaxation or entertainment such as watching a video, playing a game, window shopping, or reading a gossip site.
  2. The second motivation is socializing and interacting with other people, but excludes email, SMS messages and voice calls. Facebook and Twitter perhaps? The study doesn't tell us.
  3. Shopping is next, at 12%, 
  4. Accomplishing things such as managing health, finances and productivity are a close fourth at 11%.
  5. Preparation/planning for upcoming activities comes in at 7%.
  6. Discovery/seeking news and information is 4%
  7. Self-expression, participating in hobbies and interests comes in at a lowly 1%.
I ws surprised by several of these study results:
  1. The majority of users, 68%, are using their phones at home. (Did they exclude maps and directions? Did no one in their study use their phones as GPS devices?)
  2. Email and SMS are specifically excluded from the study, with no obvious explanation, and is called out in the comments. And is email really dying the death we keep hearing about? Surely I'm not the only one who checks my email before I fall asleep.... (Or am I?)
  3. Where is listening to music on this list? Is it included in "Me Time", or not included? When I was on the Metro in Paris a few weeks ago, half of the people I saw were plugged into their smartphones. What were they doing? Listening to music? Podcasts? My teenager and every teen I know have their music libraries loaded onto their phones, and listen to them constantly. Their smartphones have replaced iPods and MP3 players.
As a top disruptive technology, we can only try to anticipate where mobile is going to go. Brian Solis has a great article, Forget about Social Media for a moment. What’s your mobile strategy? that digs deep and gets to the crux of the matter with these strategic questions all businesses should be able to answer:

Customer behavior is evolving. Technology is evolving. Is your digital strategy evolving? Is it considering shifts in attention, activity, and expectations and designing new experiences to react and lead accordingly?
Who on your team is thinking about designing mobile experiences? How is mobile tied to the overall digital strategy? How is social and mobile complementing your web strategy? More importantly, how are people connecting or attempting to connect with you and how would they define the experience?

Does your company have a mobile strategy? And if not, what are you waiting for?