Development of digital tablets: the impact on B2B marketing

Lynda St-Arneault – 6 July 2012

On July 3, 2012, the results of a study (published in an article on the website of La Presse) demonstrated that tablets will become more popular than laptops in the next four years (available in French only).

Though this may not come as a surprise (in my humble opinion), we can’t help but notice that there will be major consequences for B2B marketing. Below is my take on the main reasons for this:

The ergonomics of websites need to be rethought

Between Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Nokia’s Symbian OS, the operating systems of various tablets have very different characteristics… that should be understood.

A few of these systems are compatible with Flash technology (like the tablets under Android) while others aren’t (the iPad, namely). This can be problematic for web pages that use visual and interactive content, which is the case for Ikea. To fix this, the Swedish firm created an application allowing iPad users to consult Ikea’s catalogue with Flash from their beloved tablets.

In addition, the “tablet format” generally characterized by smaller screens (than those of laptops) and virtual keyboards encourages us to rethink the user guide for websites. These users want websites that are simple and instinctive, where they can find the information they’re looking for by touching the screen as little as possible. Finished are the days of excessively long, poorly optimized web pages with painfully slow loading time. The end of the physical mouse and keyboard has opened the door to web simplification!

Adapting to a new lifestyle

Through their user-friendliness and conviviality, digital tablets are used by “your average Joe and Jane,” or, in other words, by very heterogeneous groups. From the trendy community manager to the busy company executive, passing by the onsite technician; everyone has specific web needs. This is why B2B strategists need to adequately define the appropriate communication methods necessary to reach their targeted audience.

Finally, digital tablets should not be seen as a threat but rather as a new opportunity. Namely, they will allow for simplification and optimisation regarding web ergonomics. To make the most of the situation, one of the main challenges to consider is adapting communication tools to the needs and uses of different target groups.

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