Published: February 21, 2014
Let’s face it. Mobile devices have drastically shifted the online landscape to the point that in 2010 more than 50 percent of all Internet access was being done via handhelds of some sort. During 2014, the number of mobile devices is predicted to exceed the number of desktop and laptop personal computers (worldwide), and thus the turning point for mobile strategy. It’s no longer optional for your business to operate “mobile friendly,” it’s required.
“Mobile is completely different from anything you’ve done before, and you need to throw conventional wisdom onto the dust heap of out-of-date thinking. You may have a bunch of people in business and IT telling you how to approach mobile, but beware. They may not even recognize that mobile is different in every way from previous technology waves. The user experience from a phone or tablet is 360 degrees different than the user experience at a computer, at least it should be.
Yet, before you fall into a panic, the complexity of mobile does not have to remain a roadblock to implementation and greater visibility for your business across devices. The strategy behind mobile is easy if you take the right approach.
The core to a winning mobile strategy is this: Start with a problem, don’t just create an app or mobile website for the sake of being in the app store. It’s not simply about having a presence in the store – your app or any mobile initiative needs to actually provide some sort of value for your audience.
If this acts as your guiding principle, development of the rest of your mobile strategy will come easy. Typically creating an effective strategy takes the form of the following 5 key steps.
1. Know Your Audience. It’s even more important now with mobile that we’re looking at audience, context, and behavior. Knowing your audience ties directly into ensuring you are solving a problem for them. Sit down and create a customer journey map to determine who your audience is, what they need, how they live, and when and where they best welcome branded information.
2. Start Simple. Start with the bare bones. Don’t feel like you need to build a Facebook because the truth is, you’re not going to. It doesn’t happen overnight. Build smaller, task driven apps that provide simple, high value to a niche audience. The New York Times is a great example of a phased approach to mobile success. They transitioned from an old site to a new site built using responsive web design incrementally. Deliver the value in a way that’s “stupid simple,” you can always add additional features later.
3. Understand the Limitations of Mobile. There are always potential roadblocks. Before you start dreaming up features and functions, know your limitations and boundaries. Here are a few considerations that businesses often forget:
- Shifting to mobile is 24/7, mobile isn’t just “mobile” anymore – you can be at home and browsing, at work on your phone or standing in a store searching for product reviews. There is an important and different layer of context to consider.
- Don’t just create a web page in an app – an iOS app should feel like an iOS app, an Android app needs to follow the same logic. Know devices on top of knowing your audience. Apple users expect different experiences than Android users because of how they typically interact with the device.
4. Take A Risk. Understand the limitations, but at the same time do not fear taking risks. Think about all the functions that modern devices incorporate and use that to your advantage. Take for example, 3 mobile technologies that will change business in 2014. Take advantage of high quality cameras and GPS functionality that is continuously improving in mobile devices. Location-based shopping coupons using mobile devices are gaining popularity. As mobile users become more acclimated to sharing their whereabouts via mobile devices, they’re also are becoming more open to receiving information relevant to where they are at the moment.
5. Make Informed Decisions. When you’re ready to move from strategy to implementation, have an idea of what you want. Mobile apps serve very different functions and objectives than mobile websites. Many companies are using mobile apps to boost brand awareness and affinity but it’s very easy to get bogged down by the details, especially when you start talking native apps versus web apps and the technology. Educate yourself so you can contribute to the conversations when you get to mobile deployment.
“Mobility is not just another technology fad. It is, unquestionably, the next transformative wave that will drive deep changes in how employees, customers, partners and suppliers interact. And it is important to realize that enterprise mobility is not about just building apps. Approach mobile as you would any other business strategy. Carefully devise a plan. Find the right people to design, build and deploy it. And don’t wait too long or you’ll fall behind.”
Believe it or not, it’s possible to make mobile easy. Download our recent presentation on “Making Mobile Easy” for additional resources.