It's worth remembering when reading this article that the smartphone is already the number one device for accessing online services globally.
Even in mature markets like the United States and Europe, where huge swaths of the population access the Internet via laptops, the smartphone is the only way a significant number of people access their email, social media, and online shopping channels.
This is particularly true for young people, those on low incomes, and late adopters to the technology. Further afield, especially in many emerging economies, the smartphone has provided people access to the online world for the very first time, completely bypassing the desktop environment.
Therefore, it's reasonable to suggest that in just a few years, the Internet will be largely considered a thing you access on your 5G smartphone more than anything else. If you don't believe that the days of the laptop are numbered, consider the rise of the Chromebook, which has more in common with your smartphone than your old heavy work machine. Chromebooks now outsell Mac OS-based devices in the United States and account for more than 60% of hardware purchased by educational establishments.
5G is the fifth generation of mobile internet connectivity. It promises lightning-fast connection speeds with experts suggesting it will be between 10 and 20 times faster than your current 4G connection. This takes the mobile Internet into new territories. Image a mobile internet experience with no buffering or page load delays. It'll work just like magic.
Note: When the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke suggested way back in 1962 that "Any sufficiently advancedtechnology is indistinguishable from magic," is it possible that he was predicting 5G? Let's face it, if you've ever experienced a slow and unreliable internet connection (who hasn't?), a lightning-fast Internet that does something the second you ask it will almost certainly appear like magic.
5G is already available in some metropolitan areas of the United States and will be continuing it's roll out throughout 2020 and beyond. While it will take some for users to upgrade their smartphones to 5G compatible devices, the benefits of 5G promoted by early adopters to the technology are sure to reignite sales in mobile devices, which have been lagging in recent years. This is because 5G goes way beyond the cosmetic changes that most smartphone manufacturers have been pushing out over the past couple of years in lieu of real innovation. Seriously, how many camera lenses does the average smartphone user really needs?
2020 will also see 5G reach many international markets – making this a truly global phenomenon if you want to see 5G in action before it hits your home market, head over to South Korea, where the 5G network is already in place. South Korea is home to the world's most successful smartphone brand. These guys know a thing or two about the importance of the high-speed mobile Internet, and the rest of the world is playing catch-up.
TL;DR: 5G doesn't just promise faster browsing via mobile devices. It's the technology behind so many of the latest innovations that promise to power our smart homes and smart cities and drive technological advancements like autonomous vehicles and drone deliveries.
At first glance, the benefits of 5G might not be too obvious to email marketers. Email marketing is, after all, a very mature technology that has worked incredibly well across numerous networks and certainly pre-dates the smartphone.
It's email marketing's maturity and resilience that separates it from other online marketing technologies. For many years now, marketing pundits have been wrong by predicting the demise of email marketing at the hands of newer online technologies, including paid search, social media marketing, and mobile marketing. If anything, all of these "advanced" marketing technologies have made email marketing stronger.
The great thing about email marketing is it doesn't work in a silo. Email marketing is the ultimate team player. It enhances everything it is deployed alongside to promote your business. In fact, email marketing is the profitable component of everything else you do to promote your business. Consider how much more your marketing would cost if you relied purely on acquisition-style marketing? If you need a reminder, email marketing is a retention marketing strategy and, as anyone who has been in business for any length of time will tell you, retaining existing customers is always cheaper than winning new ones.
So while 5G won't make much, if any, difference to email marketing in terms of deliverability or engagement, it will completely enhance the entire ecosystem that email marketing has built around itself over the last 40 years.
Think about what happens after a subscriber drops into an email marketing campaign. They are most likely directed to a web page to learn more about a specific topic or to be persuaded to make a purchase or some other form of engagement. This increasingly involves employing a number of tools that might include text, audio, video, and other forms of rich media. You don't need to look too far back in the history of the Internet (does anyone remember the Boo.com story) to see how these technologies rely on fast connections to work reliably and deliver on the promises of the technology.
Imagine how much more confident you would feel about deploying these marketing technologies if you knew they could be engaged without constant buffering or lengthy download times. Consider how many times you have considered not downloading a whitepaper, eBook, or app, or streaming a video because you know that your connection is just not good enough. Then think about entire business models built upon lightning-fast mobile connections. Movies, music, and applications could be downloaded in seconds. Online educational courses could be delivered in a seamless environment turning any mobile device into a classroom. Components and spare parts for all manner of projects could be delivered for 3D printing in an instant to anywhere on the planet. Sure all of these things can be done now, but 5G will make them all less painful and frustrating. 5G will reduce the lag time between an email arriving in a subscriber's inbox and the time it takes them to become better informed about your product or service and make an informed buying decision. This won't only mean shorter sales cycles but also, as the customers become better informed, fewer returns or customer service issues.
And we haven't even considered how the aforementioned 5G powered delivery networks (drone deliveries, etc.) will further enhance the experience.
Are you excited about what 5G can do for your business? How will you exploit the promise of faster mobile connection speeds to keep your customers better informed about your products or services?