I’m a person who likes to think ahead and be at a place now where most people will be in the next few years. Something that’s been itching me for a while is the future of marketing. Blogging, social media etc are all great but they will get crowded and noisy in a few years. What will come after?

This week I had the pleasure of meeting Hiten Shah. I look upto his achievements and admire his thought process towards marketing and entrepreneurship. I decided to ask him my pressing question: “What’s next in marketing?”

Hiten pulled out his iPhone and said “this is what’s next.”

Everyone says mobile is next so I thought what’s new about his answer.

Then came a statement from Hiten which blew me away. He said “mobile is intimate.”

The only other platform which allows a marketer to have a personal interaction with a customer is email.  An email comes right into your “personal” inbox. It’s great when something says “Hi Smit……” It feels personal.

Mobile is the next platform where a message can be delivered right to the customer. Explicitly speaking, when you download a mobile app, its on your “personal” phone. It’s intimate.

So why is “intimacy” so special?

Think about it for a second. Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Ads are all public. On most of these platforms, when you share a message, it can been seen by all or most of your followers.

On social networks like Facebook and twitter, you can engage with a specific person but it’s still public. Direct messaging on twitter or private inbox messaging on facebook may be intimate but it’s not scalable. You cannot go and DM all your followers or else they will hate you. In fact if a brand directly messaged me on facebook, I’d feel uncomfortable.

You may say that ads can be targeted. Sure, but you cannot target them to a particular person. The closest it can get is filtering people by interest, location etc. Something that comes close are targeted messages or CTA’s provided by HubSpot or companies like Spinnakr. You can customize your message by IP address.

The growth of companies like LocalResponse or Adelphic is only a testimonial to this “mobile intimacy” factor.  For eg. If you go to a CVS, Local Response will identify your location and offer you a coupon for CVS. This is much more personal than the flyers they send to every CVS card holder or the coupons in the newspaper. In fact, it’s even better than receiving coupons in the email because they are irrelevant until you need to buy something or you are at CVS.

We’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg in mobile marketing with companies like LocalResponse. Working at an enterprise company, I’m very curious on how to use mobile to reach enterprise customers.

Mobile is intimate and it’s a huge distribution channel given the number of mobile devices round the world. What are your thoughts? Tweet me @thesmitpatel.