Dissecting the Mobile Market – The Need for a Dynamic Segmentation

December 18, 2009

in research

Over six years ago I wrote a post Dissecting the ChatRoom (Unbound Spiral) and a few weeks ago I revisited it as I was beginning to believe a similar dynamic segmentation approach is required to understand the radically changed mobile market.

In fact, when I look at it now I believe it remains fairly timeless and accurate. Today’s social media easily fits within the construct. The chatroom is now “open” rather than closed. I’ve uploaded the presentation deck from 2003 to Slideshare. Skip to slide 8/9 if in a hurry. This was a speculative thought piece then and no research was commissioned. The purpose for pointing back to it is to suggest a similar model could better describe how to address the mobile market today. Most of the major players in the mobile market have “static segmentations”.  They aren’t looking at occasion based insights and thus their brand, product and market strategies are not always successful.

Why is this comparison perhaps relevant to the mobile social world? Mobile is transitioning to “online” / always-on / real-time / gaming. Many tools are similar – video, camera, file-sharing, multiple locations and occasions. There’s an identity element too which goes way beyond the phone number. And transparency and privacy are increasingly important.

These are some quotes from the original blog write-up.

Visit chatrooms and one soon realizes how dynamic the conversation is, even if you don’t fit in. While many may delight in referring to chatrooms as a waste of time, I have a feeling that they are an emerging world. Perhaps fantasy or a warped reality, yet lump them with broader collaboration tools and new avenues open up for exploration.

Chat is to the digiworld, like the street, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, diners, bingo halls, and the PTA meeting is to the physical world. It why I’m sharing a model with you that draws on my food and beer days. (This is adapted from the Heylen Model for those in research)

My temptation is to say more about why chat communities are posed to forever change marketing.

These are stories framed around a dynamic segmentation. One size does not fit all. By dynamic this approach reflects that as a market evolves and chat users become much more sophisticated they may not just have one set of Chat needs solved by CHATTING in a particular situation, but can be motivated quite differently at other times. The guess is that chatters often select and act in different occasions in the same week. They may very well approach this using different brands.

For my two cents this is where “fast trust” and digital identity solutions will really make a difference. The opportunity exists to enable this within corporate communities.

Is chat like beer? I can’t be certain. I do believe that chatters can be comfortable in more than one environment. Just like a fancy restaurant serves a long neck beer, in another setting clearly a can or even a mug may be more appropriate.

Traditional chatrooms were limited to words yet today, voice and cams are becoming more commonplace. Perhaps more importantly these’s a whole world here growing rapidly running 365/7/24. It different to our physical world and yet similar. It’s only now that we can begin to see how people live virtually and accept that is part of life that we can begin to look at the sheer variety of online exchanges that a person might have. Particularly when we think consumers and traditional entertainment or out of home friendly connections. Think for the moment about the venues and exchanges we have day to day from the coffee shop to RSA, and Nightclubs and Bars, to more passive theatre. Then add in online gaming etc.

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