What Do Millennials and Emerging Markets Have in Common? Mobile-First

Canadian philosopher of communications Marshall McLuhan is famous for saying, “The medium is the message.” Which is to say, the technology used to send and receive your messages may have an influence on how that message is interpreted. With the rise of smartphone usage in recent years, marketers have needed to adjust the messages they send. This is especially true for brands with a global footprint, as millions of millennials and emerging market consumers come online for the first time on a mobile device.

Mobile explosion

When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone at Macworld in January 2007, few in the audience could have conceived the paradigm shift that was about to happen in the way people would begin consuming information. Fast forward eight short years later, and there are an estimated 2.6 billion smartphone users, with that number expected to grow to 6.1 billion by 2020. Additionally, by 2019 there will be $245 billion mobile commerce transactions in the US alone.

Brands that aren’t tailoring their messages and marketing strategy to take this explosion in mobile devices into account can expect to lag behind the competition. This is especially true for individuals tasked with marketing to international consumers as millions of them are slated to come online in the near future, and they will most likely do so on a smartphone because of the multifaceted nature of the device.

And according to an April 2015 Pew Research Center report the proliferation of mobile phone networks in sub-Saharan Africa has transformed communications in the region. As a result, consumers coming online for the first time will be doing so on mobile devices, which are easier to deliver than desktop computers, and offer a self-contained calling, connecting and browsing solution.

Millennials: the mobile-first generation

Millennials are addicted to their screens. If you aren’t trying to reach them through their mobile device, you most likely won’t be reaching them at all. As Common Sense Advisory (CSA) so aptly states in a recent report, “This generation grew up with the internet and are intimate with smartphones, on which they consume information in short bursts.” It’s a generation that will be quick to swipe left or scroll past content it doesn’t find compelling.

But, when dealing with Millennials around the globe, CSA indicates that marketers shouldn’t assume that their experience with this generation in the US will be transferable everywhere. As with previous generations, there is no overarching persona to market to. Millennials around the globe have different priorities and preferences, exhibit different buying behavior, and have attained different levels of education. As a result, brands looking to win them over will need to localize their messages and provide personalized experiences in each of the regions they do business.

Do you have an app for that?

How much harder would your life be without all the apps on your phone? They help you pay bills, book travel, find directions, stay in touch with family and business associates, and pass the time reading or playing games – to name but a few functions. Apps have also revolutionized how brands can communicate with customers and drive loyalty. But once you’ve convinced your customer to download your app, what can you do to make sure they stay engaged?

According to a report by Localytics, 76 percent of retail app users abandon the app within 30 days, while 88 percent left after 90 days. But the key to keeping app users engaged is by sending them in-app messages. Brands that did this experienced between 2x and 3.5x higher user retention than brands that didn’t. For your international customers it’s important that those in-app messages are localized, to increases the chances it will survive in a user’s phone longer than three months.

Learn more

Visit Smartling’s Resources page to gain further insights into how Smartling’s Technology can help your brand accelerate the translation and localization process, while learning about best practices for translation processes, tools, technology, management, how to select the best translation software, and more.