In my last post, I wrote about the problems marketers and communicators run into when they can’t be sure if their audience is consuming content on a 30-inch or 3-inch screen. In this post I want to focus on the 3-inch screen and mobile content, specifically on how much effort life science marketers should spend developing mobile content (of course, because I’m a scientist, the answer is not going to be a simple yes or no but rather, that depends…).
At the WebContent 2011 Conference, Gian Fulgoni of comScore, Inc., cited some interesting statistics around mobile media use in the US—projections show that this year, around 50% of the general population will use mobile media, with 32% of the devices having a touch interface. Last year there was a 55% growth in smartphone ownership, with Android ending the year as the leading smartphone platform.
Life scientists are clearly part of the general population, but does mobile content make sense for marketing to the life science sector? To really answer this question, we need to take a look at how the general population is using mobile media and then see if any of these uses translate into the life sciences environment.
One of the most important features of mobile media consumption is that context is king (well, this is true of media consumption in general), and that for mobile media, context is usually fluid and not static. By this I mean that people using their phone to access content are usually not sitting still at their desk but are elsewhere, perhaps walking, perhaps commuting (hopefully not driving). They also tend to consume mobile content in small bits—my favorite phrase from the meeting is “content snacking”—and the most successful content is either task-focused (navigation, finding movie times, finding out what to do at the moment), information-focused (catching up on email, reading blogs), or distraction-focused (playing a game while waiting for a train). Social networking such as connecting via Facebook and Twitter are particular standouts.
Translating these activities to the life sciences, the problem now becomes one of identifying your target audience in the life sciences and deciding if any of these contexts apply. The easiest one for me to address is the distraction-focused context. Having been a bench scientist for many years, I can confidently say that waiting takes up a substantial portion of your time (in addition to re-doing) and that there is definitely room for distraction-focused content. In this context, “snackable” is really key—ten-minute incubations, fifteen-minute centrifuge spins are common and are short enough that you don’t want to get distracted with something that would require too much focus. When you start getting into longer wait times, you are able to do something more involved and at your desk, so consuming mobile content is less likely.
And that content should be fun, and distracting, and short.
What other ways might we translate mobile content to the life sciences? I’ll have some more scenarios in my next post.