Context is King in the MobileNet
Context is King in the MobileNet

Context is King in the MobileNet

Context is King in the MobileNet

Campaigns targeting MobileNet consumers must go beyond considerations of location and time focusing on broader user context in order to be effective, according to a study released today by researchers at the International University of Japan. Based on the results of 14,000 mobile user responses nationwide, the researchers have created an approach that includes user context for developing and deploying MobileNet solutions. Although physical location and time of day at which users access the MobileNet is important and correlated to some extent with user content choice, the results suggest that such factors provide no true foundation upon which to build effective marketing campaigns or profitable business models.

“It’s not enough to know the location of the user,” said Prof. Philip H.Sidel, who co-authored the study with Prof. Glenn E. Mayhew, Ph.D. “You have to understand why the user is there to be effective. To truly understand the MobileNet user– and to see the mobile platform’s potential — requires a much richer context of attitudes and motivations.”

The study, which is available for free at,identifies psychological drivers, specifically how consumers view their mobile devices,which provide a much clearer segmentation of consumer behavior and the content choices that they make.

Other findings of the study were that consumers more often accessed the MobileNet in non-mobile locations such as from home (29 percent) and work (28 percent) rather than while commuting (19 percent) or during leisure time (22 percent). The most popular MobileNet access location in the home is the living room and from the office is anindividual’s desk or primary work space. While the most popular access location while commuting was on the train or subway.

“The portable aspect of the MobileNet, the ability to have it with you wherever youare, is more important than the ability to use it on the go,” said Prof. Mayhew.“So places where people spend the most time become the high volume usage locations.”

Other results from the study include:

• The locations and times of day from which individuals access the MobileNet do havea relationship with total usage and the type of content that is accessed, but such relationships are weak.

Prof. Sidel said, “Based on what has appeared in the business press, you would expect to find clear patterns between the content people choose to access relative to time ofday, general location – such as home or work — and specific locations – such as a restaurant or a bus — from which they conduct their MobileNet sessions. There are some patterns that exist, but definitely not enough clarity supporting them to build an effective marketing campaign or business model.”

• While location and time of day had weak relationships with usage, how people feel about their phone had much clearer interactions. For example, people who value their phone’sability to keep them informed are heavier users of news and information. Those who value the convenience of the MobileNet are far less likely to download ringtones and backgrounds, and are far more likely to use their phones for email and chat — 81 percent as opposed to 76 percent overall.

“These relationships made intuitive sense, but also offered new insights,” saidProf. Mayhew. “Providing mobile experiences based on the inherent value that each individual perceives in the mobile platform will not only yield richer experiences for individual users, but is very likely to significantly impact average revenue per user (ARPU) and overall MobileNet usage.”

• For the overwhelming majority of people, the MobileNet is primarily a communication platform. Over 75 percent of respondents gave email/chat as their most accessed content. Ringtone/picture downloads was next at 5 percent. News/information (4 percent), traffic/transportation information (3 percent), and entertainment (2 percent) were also categories with 2 percent or more response.

The analysis of the study is continuing and Prof. Sidel will present updated results in November at the IDG-sponsored “3G Japan; Wireless and Beyond” conference inTokyo.

About Professor Philip H. Sidel
Philip H. Sidel, Assistant Professor of Marketing at IUJ since 2002, teaches Internet Marketing, New Product Development, Mobile Marketing and Brand Management. He received his MBA in Marketing and Operations Management from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and has worked as a marketing executive at American Express, Muze, Inc., Lightningcast, Inc., and as a marketing consultant for Advantage Marketing Information.

About Professor Glenn E. Mayhew, Ph.D.
Glenn E. Mayhew, Associate Professor of Marketing at IUJ since 1998, teaches Marketing Management, Mobile Marketing, Marketing Strategy and Pricing and Promotion. He received his Ph.D. in Marketing from University of California, Berkeley in 1992, after earning an MBA from University of Chicago (1985) and a BA in Japanese from Brigham Young University(1982). Professor Mayhew’s primary research interests are the marketing implications of the Mobile Internet, customer valuation modeling, pricing and promotions. His research on pricing has been published in Journal of Marketing Research and Journal of Consumer Research.