by Nina Joubert

My dad would always know who to blame for the high phone bill each month by looking at the wall opposite to where our telephone stood. Only one person in my house could lean his feet against it and make those footprints. My Bigfoot brother.

I, on the other hand, hated the phone. As a visual person, I found talking on it quite awkward. Today, however, mobile technology has grown on me, maybe because it has more than one channel of communication. I can email, SMS and access all my social networking platforms from my phone. For example, my Bigfoot brother has just had his first baby boy. Due to distance I haven’t been able to visit the Littlefoot yet, but thanks to the many communication channels on my phone, I know what he looks like and even how he hiccups.

Recently I’ve been scanning through contracts offered by different service providers in South Africa. I’ve noticed my feelings towards phones are mutual among the masses. Previously expensive smartphones are being offered at more affordable prices. Why? Because the contracts offered have little to no talk time, or are on par with the amount of data and SMS bundles offered. It’s evident that data and SMS bundles have become as necessary as airtime.

The Mobility 2012 research study done by World Wide Worx and backed by FNB shows that the average cellphone user has increased their data spending from 8% at the end of 2010 to 12% in mid-2012. Topping that, voice calling has decreased from 77% to 73%, while SMS expenditure remains constant at 12%.

Quite evidently, the average mobile user is decreasing voice usage and increasing usage in other platforms of communication. Demystifying the Inbox, a research series conducted by Everlytic, shows that 52% of email users read email on their mobile phones. The research conducted by World Wide Worx reveals that use of popular social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, on mobile devices has almost doubled.

It’s time to get your mobile strategy on the ball. The age of telephone marketing has evolved to sharing content via email, SMS and social media on mobile devices. Less talking, more sharing. Come on marketers, you know what to do.