Graham Bell to Rogers and Bell: How phones are changing Canada


I learnt a new word today. Micro-moment! It’s the moment when people spontaneously look up a mobile device to search, buy or learn something. Impressed? So was I.

It was an interesting morning on Thursday Feb 16th, 2017. 6S Marketing held an informative seminar on “optimizing customer journey in a mobile-first world” at the swanky Google office in downtown Toronto.

There’s something savvy about sitting with digital masterminds. It really doesn’t matter how much you know, pretend to know or don’t know. You always walk out with something useful: digital insights at best or smart selfies at worst!

I stepped out with new inputs on mobile technology in Canada that may interest you if you are a marketing maniac like me or a smartphone addict like me.

From Graham Bell to Rogers and Bell

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Evolution of the phone. Photo credit: VOPI Warehouse

Canadians have a fixation for phones. Perhaps it’s got something to do with the telephone being invented in Canada. Alexander Graham Bell who patented the telephone in 1876 at the age of 27 was an immigrant like most of us. Born in Scotland, Aleck and his parents moved to Brantford, Ontarion in 1870 in search of greener pastures after his two brothers lost their lives to tuberculosis.

Mind you, I didn’t just invent that nickname! Alexander’s granddad called him that. It somehow makes him appear less cerebral and more human like the rest of us. Aleck also spoke the Mohawk language and translated it into visible speech symbols. But the Canadians stuck to the telephone and buried his native linguistic skills in the pages of history.

Ever since then the telephone has a special place in Canadian homes. Smartphones rushed into the scene after IBM introduced it in 1992. iPhone toppled Poutine as the national obsession from 2007. In between we had our very own Blackberry that fathered free chats (BBM) but is somewhat sidelined now.

Today three out of four Canadians own a smartphone. That adds up to 76% as of 2017. In 2014, it was just 55%, says Catalyst Canada.

The telecommunications market is a virtual jungle here. But three service providers rule the roost controlling 90% of the cellphone market: Bell, Rogers and Telus.

Cellphone plans are as competitive and confusing as the variety of snowflakes here. How to pick the best cellphone plans? Go beyond just dollars and cents. Choose wireless coverage, data usage and speed instead. Here’s a reference by globalnews.ca to help you weigh the odds.

Smartphones get Smarter

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Shopping to Searching, Smartphones do it all

The little instrument is increasingly ruling not just our relationships but lives in general, both personal and professional. It is not just an internet gateway but has doubled up as a local map, global atlas, video recorder, camera, encyclopedia, social media booster, email curator, calendar, clock and personal diary, to say the least. You can also make calls!

The new dimensions of the mobile phone don’t allow much room for just idle chats. When you see your kids or colleagues peer into their phones, it may be wise to not shoot them down. More often than not, they are busy with research, jotting notes, managing social media, checking mails, or browsing through reference resources!

The smartphone has grown from a simple communication tool to a complex computing device. 26% of mobile-maniacs are reportedly not planning to repurchase desktops once they break down, says 6S marketing in the seminar that I attended.

The Two Worlds in Canada: Visible and Invisible

After three years in Canada, I’ve come to an interesting conclusion. You live in two worlds here. The visible (real world) and the invisible (virtual world)!

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Two worlds today : offline and online

In the real world, your five senses are all at play. You can see, touch, feel, hear and experience with full capacity! In the virtual world, your senses go mute!

Take for example a pizza on an e-commerce site. You see it, but it’s not what you see. It’s an illusion. You can’t taste the grilled mushrooms or smell the smoky aroma or touch the melted cheese glistening wickedly at you. But what really works here is your sixth sense. You intuitively know which one your family or friends would like!

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Ordering Pizza: A Micro Moment

When you turn to your mobile phone to search out the nearest outlet and order it online – that is a micro-moment!

Tips to make mobile marketing work for you

As smartphones become smarter and customers become savvier, brand marketing has  smartened up too. Here are 5 tips from 6S marketing, to make it work for you.

  1. Make your website mobile-friendly
  2. Have a mobile-optimized marketing strategy
  3. Make sure your site loads quickly
  4. Ensure your business is easy to search
  5. Build reliable security especially for paying bills

What is mobile marketing? Learn more from this short video.

If mobile technology is too much for you or you are smartphone-phobic, I have just one thing to say: If kids can get the hang of digital technology before they sprout their first tooth, so can you before all of yours fall out.

Micro-moment may sound as intimidating as Alexander Graham Bell. But call it something simpler (like Aleck) and see how friendly it gets.

Remember how “hello” warmed us up to the earlier telephones?

 

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4 thoughts on “Graham Bell to Rogers and Bell: How phones are changing Canada

  1. Nice article…. like the correlation of Cell Phone to being a virtual prisoner of it but like any addict out there hate to admit it…. 🙂

    Like

  2. Very comprehensive.
    It is a morning ritual to check whatsapp messages. Also when you cannot sleep.
    Can become too much. But it is there and will not go away, unless it is replaced by something which may be lurking.

    Like

    • Hi Nidhi. Messaging apps are not just here to stay but growing in use every day, especially among the millennials. Will be interesting to see how it grows though. Technology is full of surprises. We live in a world that we never even imagined as kids. 🙂

      Like

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