I recently came across an interesting article in Mediaweek.
The article, "Calling on Niche Markets," was by Mike Shields. "Overall, the category [of wireless communication] is fairing better than most as mobile phones have become an essential to most Americans' lives," he writes.
As I got to thinking about it, I realized that his statement is very true. Despite the fact that many people are strapped for cash these days, people still rush out to buy the latest and greatest in cellular technology. In many ways we have become inseparable with our cell phones, and have come to see the ability to communicate with anyone at any time as a non-negotiable right.
As the economy continues to be a pervasive struggle, it got me wondering. News outlets are dying out and closing their doors, but cell phones and "smartphones" have only seemed to grow in popularity of late. Is it possible that cell phones and smartphones are the future vehicles of our messages as public relations practitioners? If the economic downturn continues, will we come to rely on smartphone technology to reach our audiences?
The world of wireless communication has also set an example for a good advertising model during the downturn, as wireless companies seem to be segmenting their advertising to strategically target their respective audiences. "With the challenging economy, there has been a clear rush to value," one analyst remarked in the article. "There has been a lot of competition around the low end. Companies have been spending to get that message out, that they offer predictability. No hidden fees, no charges sneaking up...At the high end [smartphones], carriers are willing to spend on advertising. It's worth it to get those highly profitable users. These are people who are better insulated against tough times and can handle expensive plans," he said.