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I just got my first tablet and I love it.  It is rapidly overtaking my smart phone as the piece of technologyI can’t live

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer

Are tablets the next big marketing "thing?"

without.  And I am not alone.   A recent study conducted by the Online Publisher’s Association looked at tablets and their impact on advertising.  Business owners everywhere need to take note of their findings.

Although only 12% of U.S. internet users age 8-64 currently have tablets, over the next year that number will almost double meaning more than 54 million people will be interacting with your business through a tablet.  Tablet users predominantly access content and almost 80% of them are willing to pay for apps.  This information opens many doors for businesses looking for new ways to engage their customers.

I predict that the rapid adoption of tablets and the numerous marketing opportunities they provide make the tablet the marketing “thing” of the future.  If my prediction is true, then business owners need to adopt this technology now and integrate it into their marketing efforts.

Here’s why I think the tablet is the next big marketing thing.

Tablets are light and portable.  One of the key selling points of smart phones is portability; you can literally take the internet with you wherever you go.  Much like my smart phone, my tablet is portable and easy to carry around.  I can slip it into a backpack, large purse, or briefcase.  I can even carry it by hand; although, I recommend buying a leather cover to keep it protected.  With wi-fi functionality and a hotspot on your tablet, you can have Internet capability virtually anywhere you go.

Tablets are easy to read.   Although I have a smart phone, I find it difficult to use it for much more than email.  The screen is just too small to see anything on the Internet clearly.  It’s like standing real close to an elephant; all you can see is one wrinkle at a time.  On my tablet I can easily view the whole webpage (or elephant) at once. It’s much more like an electronic book or magazine with full size pages.  I see this medium replacing traditional textbooks in schools and universities all over the world, allowing students the benefit of books without making them lug heavy books around campus.

Tablets can access apps.  Although originally geared toward smart phones, applications built specifically for mobile platforms, apps for short, also work on tablets.  Apps offer tablet users all the extra benefits of a smart phone with a more usable screen size.  Need directions? You can use your tablet in your car to get where you need to go.  Looking for a great location for dinner?  Search for a good place to eat while visiting a different city from the comfort of the hotel lobby.   Need to send flowers to a friend?  Shop for a beautiful bouquet while you relax at the beach.

Tablets are preferred for shopping.  A recent study from Forrester shows that online shoppers who have both a tablet and a smart phone prefer to shop using the tablet because of screen size, content, and portability.   The study also found that tablet use increases the time people spend online and that 21% of the mobile traffic coming into retail sites is already being generated by tablets.

The bottom line for business is that in the near future everyone will be using tablets.  Savvy shoppers will be surfing for deals not from their small screened smart phones, but from their tablets.  When people ask if there is an app for that, they will be looking for an app that works with their tablet more often than for their phone.  Business owners need to look for ways to use tablet technology as a medium for marketing so they will be ahead of the game, and the competition.

What do you think?  If you have a tablet, what do you like about it?

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