We’ve conducted a few qualitative marketing research projects this last quarter, specifically Marketing with Millennials, and the major consistent factor was that people use their phones or mobile devices much more than a laptop. Initially, I chalked this up to proximity bias, one’s phone tends to be within one’s arm reach throughout the entire day. I use my laptop for production/creation and my phone mostly for consumption, so I’m looking at at 80% usage of my laptop and 20% usage of my phone. It was difficult for me to believe that people were using their phones that much. That was until the abominable day my iPhone was unable to hold a charge. The following horror story walks you through what my life was like without my iPhone.
I woke up and noticed that my iPhone battery was at 10% – not cool. It must have become unplugged, or I didn’t connect it properly before going to bed, so I checked the outlet and the cable. No, everything looks fine here, what’s up with this?
Naturally, I implement the panacea of all tech problems? I turned it off and back on. Alas, it didn’t turn back on because the juice was too low. Just a box that looked like a batter with a red flashing bar.
Okay, what if it the charger was at fault? I grabbed a different iPhone branded charger and attempted to charge it. Nothing happened. The red flashing bar taunts me.
I’ll take it to the Apple store and see if there is an easy fix.
- On the way to the store, I scold myself for not Googling potential easy fixes. I’m already on tilt for not having access to my phone. I must have subconsciously known that it was something else, something more menacing, was going on here.
I get the Apple store and the sales/tech representative says hello, and I tell her my predicament. She tells me that it’s common and that she will take a look at it.
She has good news for me! There was just lent stuck in the port, and the charger wasn’t able to make a clean connection. This makes perfect sense. I keep my phone in my pocket, which is notorious for being a lent trap.
She tested it out on one of the docks, and it looked to be charging properly.
So I head over to the Barnes and Noble to see what new marketing and business books are on the shelves and to let my phone charge.
Note, I prefer having all of my books digital, so I don’t actually plan on buying anything. My normal protocol is to browse new books, and then if there are some that I’m interested, I’ll either take a quick picture of the cover so that I can find it online later, or if I have a little bit more time, I can look it up on Amazon and save it to a book Wishlist I’ve created. Unfortunetly, with my battery dead, I’m unable to do this. I have to actually use my brain and memorize the book titles!
So I find a couple books I’m interested in reading, Bold by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler and Mastering the New Media Landscape: Embrace the Micromedia Mindset by Barbar Henricks and Rusty Shelton . I find a table near an outlet, plug my phone in, and then I dove into Bold. After about thirty or forty minutes, I actually have no clue because I didn’t have my phone to check the time, I noticed that my phone still wasn’t charged and didn’t turn on.
So I went back to the Apple store to have them double check that it’s charging correctly.
Sure enough, it looked like it was charging properly. This is what I learned – when the iPhone is practically dead, it shows an empty square battery symbol with a flashing red bar notifying the user that there is minimal electric juice left to power this divine device. Moreover, if it’s not plugged in to a charger, it shows a little white cable. So when the Apple sales rep connected my iPhone to a charger base, the little white cable went away. Okay, great. It’s telling me that it’s charging.
The Apple gent politely encouraged me to keep my phone here to charge, “It should only take five to ten minutes.” I’m a marketer – I know your Jedi-sales tricks, and I know that marketing research shows that the longer a customer stays in a store, the more likely he or she purchases more. I’m not going to stay here for ten to fifteen minutes while you try to sale me a $3,000 computer. I already assume that I will be spending two hundred bucks to fix my phone.
I head home. And I drive in silence because I’m unable to listen to my podcast shows or pandora.
Again, I contemplate that maybe it was my cord that is the problem. I have a few at home I can test out.
At home, I first tested all of the chargers with my wife’s iPhone, and they worked perfectly fine charging her phone. Check. Now it was time to test my phone. I plugged it in and the little white cord on the screen went away. Perfect. I’ll go work on my laptop and come back to check it latter.
After one hour, it wasn’t charged.
After two hours, it wasn’t charged.
After three hours, I knew I had to go back to the Apple store. But this time I learned from my past mistakes and Googled a solution for this problem. I know nothing about fixing iPhones and I take no pleasuring in trying to fix things like this. Past experiences have taught me that when I attempted to fix things like this, I wast my time by making things worst, and I still have to pay an expert to fix it. Thus, I’m going to save the opportunity cost, pay the premium cost and just take it back to Apple tomorrow.
Quick overview of me learning the ever-presence of my phone in my life:
- Use my phone as an alarm clock to wake up in the morning. I can’t remember the time I had an actual alarm clock; what am I supposed to use?
- Use my phone as a radio while I drive.
- Use my phone to document ideas and notes during the day.
- Use my phone as a source of entertainment during commercial breaks.
- I reached for my phone during TV commercial break and forgot that I didn’t have it. When watching Big Brother 18, which is my only connection to network television anymore. Normally, I would simply watch it online when the time is convenient for me, but CBS’s website video player is too laggy (not my internet, I speedtest.netted it), and is riddled with way too many commercials, and they tend to repeat the same three over and over. So basically, going against all that I believe in, I’m willing to schedule my life around CBS’s time – this is how much I hate that laggy video player and repetitive commercials.
- What time is it again? I don’t know, because I don’t have my phone.
- Use my phone to document my exercise regiment.
- I wanted to go running in the evening, but I didn’t have access to my running app to keep track of my time and distance.
- Again, I don’t have access to my podcasts or music.
- Use my phone to text. Most of my communication goes through social media or Slack, but there are a few people that I like to text. I can’t do that anymore.
I have a slight sense of being vulnerable right now. Even though I’m connected via my laptop, I feel like something is off. This unplanned personal marketing experiment showed me that I use my phone much more than I previously believed.
Stay tuned for Day 2 and hopefully the conclusion.