The Mobile Tipping Point

Noah King

Malcolm Gladwell famously wrote about the concept of ‘tipping points’ — the point at which an emerging trend takes hold and goes from reaching early adopters to reaching mass audiences. When it comes to mobile technology, industry professionals have long been waiting for the tipping point when more people than not have smartphones. In the U.S., that time is now.

Each month, comScore releases a report on U.S. mobile-phone subscribers, and today’s report announced that, for the first time ever, over 50% of people with mobile phones in the U.S. now have smartphones. That might not sound like a big deal, but it’s an enormous milestone that has huge implications.

In the short term — as in tomorrow — your brand should no longer think of mobile as an afterthought. Your websites and interactive experiences need to be mobile-friendly, and your business model needs to embrace mobile-content creation and consumption. In fact, being mobile-friendly won’t even be as good as being mobile-amazing. The leaders of this new era will be the companies that put mobile above all else and are first to deliver the next generation of rich mobile experiences.

In the longer term — let’s say the next two years — here’s what I predict will also change:

1. The release of more powerful and affordable smartphone hardware
2. The creation of faster and more affordable wireless data access
3. Mobile payments will become the primary way of exchanging money
4. Smartphones will become the primary channel for consumption of news,
music, video, and other media.

If it feels like the world going mobile is something that will hurt your business, you may be feeling a combination of denial, shock, and disbelief. Fear not — the future of mobile will be prosperous and beneficial to all. Your brand can make the jump, and the opportunity to make meaningful connections with your customers will be greater than ever.

1968

In 1968, Jay Hill, Alan Holliday, Jack Connors and Steve Cosmopulos founded an agency in Boston based on the principle that creativity could drive business. Forty five years later, we're still operating on that very same premise, albeit with a few more people. Today, there are more than 900 of us who work at Hill Holliday. Together, we are the 13th largest ad agency in the United States. It's very nice to meet you.