Capturing Today’s Mobile Consumer – Leveraging lifestyle or cultivating addiction?

John Lim
Founder & CEO, linknexus


There has been a raging debate about mobile consumers and whether or not they are addicted to their phones. This isn’t surprising, since our reliance on mobile technology has happened with unprecedented suddenness. Since the introduction of the smartphone 10 years ago, more than a third of global users now access all things digital via mobile only, according to comScore. Last year, the number of mobile users was forecast to grow to 4.77 billion, with 50 percent of mobile users being smartphone users by 2018.

Americans spend an average of 5.5 hours a day with digital media, and more than half of that time on mobile devices, according to the research firm eMarketer.

Based on these facts alone, one might think that consumers have become addicted to their devices. But it is impossible to be addicted to a device; it is the addictive content delivered through a device to which people become attached. The mobile device has revolutionized the way we live our lives, allowing us to create and capture an abundance of amazing experiences that we would not have been able to otherwise.

Knowing this, it is more important than ever to look at how brands connect to mobile consumers. I would like to share two principles that I use to capture, engage, and convert consumers in today’s mobile world. Both principles address consumers’ connectivity to their mobile devices and how to leverage their lifestyle.


Consumers have elevated their “I-want-it-now” behavior into an “I-need-it-now” society. They are more inclined to purchase from those companies that understand how to help them get whatever it is they need now more quickly.

To capitalize on the “I-need-it-now” society behavior, you have to build a relationship with consumers by marketing to them enough times in advance that they turn to you and your company in the moment when they need it. It takes seven impressions for a consumer to remember a brand. In their rush to fulfill their needs, consumers select the brands they know, like, and trust — brands they know they can rely on, brands with which they have built a relationship.

Starbucks, for example, continues to innovate to keep up with customer demand and need. The coffee shop added mobile ordering in 2015 to help customers avoid lines. According to Forbes, mobile now accounts for roughly 30 percent of the company’s U.S. orders.

However, on its first-quarter conference call in January of 2017, Starbucks officials attributed a lack of growth to long lines that were being exacerbated by an uptick in mobile ordering. Waits at its higher-volume stores at peak times caused some customers to walk out. The company had to innovate once again.

To test ways of eliminating the bottlenecks, Starbucks opened a dedicated mobile order and pay-only store at its Seattle headquarters. The location only served Starbucks employees who made use of the Mobile Order & Pay feature on the Starbucks mobile app. Starbucks successfully recognized the mobile consumers’ “I-need-it-now” behavior by first providing the option of mobile ordering and then implementing changes to ensure that all consumers’ needs for quick service were met.


Dr. Tony Alessandra’s Platinum Rule states, “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” This is one of the most important keys to your success in integrating into the dynamic lifestyle of the mobile consumer. Most of the modern world grew up on the Golden Rule, which states, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” This is now an outdated approach. We want consumers to click on our ad, like us on our social network, or enter their information via a special form. We need to market to consumers the way they want to be marketed to.

One great example of the Platinum Rule: Taco Bell’s 2016 Cinco de Mayo Snapchat lens, which allowed Snapchat users to turn their heads into giant taco shells. This engagement shattered Snapchat records with 224 million views in one day, and its success can be attributed to the fact that Taco Bell and Snapchat partnered to communicate to the consumer in a way in which the consumer communicates.

To create for consumers and their lifestyles, you must not discriminate or force them into your brand your way. It is about them — what they want and where they want to receive it, explore it, buy it, or use it. This is a higher level of service, one that leads to a better relationship and, ultimately, higher levels of engagement.


While it is impossible to be addicted to a mobile device, there is no doubt that consumers are more connected than ever. To market successfully to these consumers, it is therefore essential to leverage their lifestyles and how they interact with and use their devices to communicate in today’s mobile world.


A version of this article was originally published by the Association of National Advertisers at