Confessions of an iPhone Addict (and What This Means for Marketers)

Posted: August 12, 2012

My name is Zac; I’m an addict.

I recently made a weekend trip to the fabulous city of Shelbyville, Illinois (If you’ve never been to Shelbyville, you’re not missing much). However, my adventure did give me a chance to finally realize the magnitude of my addiction.

My trip

It started the night before my flight, when I’d asked Siri to wake me at 5am. She politely told me I already had an alarm set, but that she’d turn it on for me.

The next morning, packed and ready to fly, I used Maps to procure directions to Fast Park and Relax (where I left my car for the weekend – fantastic service by the way…).

On the shuttle, I used my American Airlines app to check into my flight and access my mobile boarding pass.

Not needing to check a bag, I strolled directly to security, scanned my mobile boarding pass (AA app) and made my way to gate G7.

It was an early flight, so I stopped at Starbucks for a tall coffee and a chicken sausage wrap. I paid with my Starbucks app.

With about an hour to kill, I grabbed my earbuds and enjoyed my coffee while watching a podcast of the first episode of Weeds season 8.

When they called my group, I double-checked my mobile boarding pass and flashed my screen to the gate attendant. she smiled, scanned the phone and waved me through.

Here I am sitting on the plane, listening to my Avett Brothers collection and writing this blog post on Evernote (another app that changed my life).

When I land, I’ll probably throw up a Facebook status letting my family and friends know I made it safely to Shelbyville. I’ll snap a few pictures with Instagram too.

As I looked around the airport I noticed many others like me. Sure, there were a few doddering old fools still using paper boarding passes (who does that?) but slowly more and more people are joining the ranks of the technologically advanced.

Why Is This Relevant?

So hey there, marketers! Let’s put on our marketing caps and think about this for a sec. The phone is by my side 24/7. It’s a necessary commodity in my life. We keep no secrets from each other; we have a trusted partnership.

I recently read in The Atlantic that consumers are spending 10% of their media attention on their mobile devices. Comparatively, print media accounts for only 7% of media-time. What’s astonishing about these figures is that advertisers spend a mere 1% of their marketing dollars on mobile compared to 25% on print advertising. THAT’S 25 TIMES MORE MONEY SPENT ON PRINT THAN MOBILE!!

What gives?

If you ask me, advertisers should be allocating more dollars toward creating mobile-optimized brand experiences. This is especially true for traditional colleges and universities, where you KNOW your audience is emotionally attached (read: addicted) to their iPhones and Androids. This is a generation who suffers from withdrawal symptoms similar to those seen in drug addicts when kept away from their mobile phones.

I would argue that the brand experience I had with American Airlines (for example) as a result of their mobile app is far more valuable than their most brilliant ad campaign. What do you think?

And by the way, there are nowhere near enough charging stations in airports. God forbid I run out of battery power next time…