The figures on the mobile phone subscriber base in India indicate that an amazing 6 million new subscribers are signing up every month. The July 2007 subscriber base has been reported at 180 million. This is when I got really curious about what it means, not only to the telecom industry but to the economy as a whole, since that figure is a population larger than that of most countries (and about half the entire population of the USA).
Some quick back-of-envelope calculations showed me that at the national per capita income average, this group would have a GNP of around US$ 110 Billion. That when I got seriously curious. After all, an economic group of this size invariably invites comparisons with countries. So a quick look at World Bank data showed me that the countries of equivalent size (GNP of $100-$120 billion each in 2005) are Columbia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Singapore! That’s when it hit me – there’s an entire country hidden here!
Like any other country, citizens of this Mobile Nation share an identity and some similar characteristics – they are connected, communicative, and probably upwardly mobile individuals. They are amongst the most energetic of their peers and connect well with each other - its not uncommon to see individuals from widely varied economic groups casually comparing their handset features and talk plans. And they are collectively worth over US$100 Billion! That’s a demographic that puts in the shade probably three-quarter of the world’s economies.
With a demographic worth that much, marketers should be adding another segmentation parameter into their thinking - "mobile-affiliations" - groups of people who can be described by their telco adoption, and have more in common with each other rather than their physical neighbours of the same economic, ethnic and social strata. It’s now worth it for marketers to build detailed psychographic profiles around this aspect.
Till now mobile marketing has been considered a niche area, and mobile marketers have mainly focused on mass marketing tactics to reach out to these prospects. Its now time for mobile marketing to go mainstream, probably more so than some traditional mediums. ALL marketers, not just the specialists, need to be thinking of marketing to mobile social groups.
Looks like interesting times ahead for the marketing and media sectors - the telecom revolution is going to have an interesting side effect!