How My Smartphone Has Changed My Life on the Road (and Why You Should Care)

I just got back from a two-day trip to the Bay Area and began to reflect on how different things were compared to a trip just a few years ago. Despite Alec Baldwin’s rants about post-911 travel, many with which I agree, I want to focus on the wonders of post-smartphone travel.

Here are some things that would have been quite a hassle five years ago.

  1. Checking e-mail: Once I landed I was able to see my latest e-mail, including a confirmation of plans for the lunch meeting that was still tentative when I took off in the morning.
  2. Finding a good restaurant: I was planning to celebrate the new job of a friend and potential client at a nice restaurant near his new office. With the help of Yelp I found a great steakhouse in a convenient location. Using OpenTable I secured a guaranteed reservation in just a few clicks.
  3. Navigating to the restaurant: Rental car maps just don’t have the level of detail and advice you need sometimes. But Google Maps directed me right to the venue.
  4. Video chatting with my son over coffee: Johnny happened to be in Delhi, India on the start of his two-week adventure. Using Facetime, I could see his expressions as he described his first impressions of a city on the opposite side of the globe.
  5. Working out with music: After coffee I got enough motivation to hit the hotel’s fitness center. With the help of Pandora I had the upbeat tunes I needed to get moving.
  6. Reconnecting with a former client: Using LinkedIn Mobile I realized a former client had a new job in New York, my destination for the following week. We reconnected and began discussing plans to catch up while I was in Manhattan.
  7. Planning my next trip: Realizing that CES is only a month away, I hopped on the Southwest Airlines app and found convenient flights to book before the often sold-out direct flights were gone.
  8. Sharing an interesting article: A former colleague posted a link to an interesting article on LinkedIn. I thought it was worth sharing so I tweeted it to about 1,000 of my connections.
  9. Ordering wine for Christmas dinner: I got an e-mail from Lot 18, a “flash sales” site for nice wines, featuring a limited availability Cab that would pair nicely with our traditional prime rib roast. A few clicks later, using the company’s mobile-optimized website, a couple of bottles were on the way.

Why do I share such ordinary activities with you? Not because smartphones have made these activities so simple that they are not worth talking about. But because, as marketers, you need to be thinking more aggressively about how to interact with your prospects and customers through their mobile devices. Almost 10% of consumers’ media time is spent on smartphones, yet less than 1% of media budgets are spent there. And the way we interact on smartphones is different from the way we interact when we’re online via a PC. It’s time to integrate mobile behavior into all your programs.

Need help? Give me a call from your smartphone!