“Before the iPhone, cyberspace was something you went to your desk to visit. Now cyberspace is something you carry in your pocket.” - Paul Saffo
It's true, mobile and specifically smartphones have changed everything. But it's still not as easy as it seems for marketers and agencies to develop extremely effective mobile promotion plans and strategies. Retailers are expected to invest $55 billion annually in mobile by 2015, according to a new study from Juniper Research. With high stakes both in terms of investment and consumer demands, companies want to know which steps to take in order to create a successful mobile strategy.
I'd like to share the steps I think can help get the ball rolling.
1. Objectives: Identifying goals and objectives for the mobile channel.
It goes without saying that mobile goals and objectives should be related to the overall business objectives of the company. To help with the process, think about how a mobile channel can help you meet your business objectives. Many brands could have avoided developing mobile apps for download that were abandoned shortly thereafter by asking these questions:
- What do you want your mobile app to accomplish?
- Would you like to drive traffic to a store?
- Would you like customers to have any channel for support?
- At customer need can you meet that helps to achieve your business objective?
Tiffany & Co’s ”Find your Engagement Ring” mobile app is a perfect example of execution based on extensive, well-formulated research on the target audience and clearly defined business objectives. It clearly targets men who have a problem identifying the ring size for women they would like to propose to. It still showcases the product, but it solves the major hurdle in the purchasing process.
2. People: Defining the profile of the target audience.
Existing customers, new customers, what do you know about your target? Social media can be the hero and provide a wealth of knowledge about your different segments, especially smartphone users. The more marketers know about social media and mobile usage, the clearer it becomes that mobile and social experiences are interconnected and inseparable. According to OnSite Consulting’s 2011 report, 56 percent of connected smartphone users follow a brand on social media. By listening to the conversation on social networks and identifying what is being said about your brand and product, you can also identify specific problems and pain points to address with your mobile app and inform the direction of your strategy.
It is also helpful to look at the “Customer Hourglass,” Altimeter’ social model of purchase. The funnel looks at the entire customer experience pre- and post-sale. Incorporating the customer hourglass and understanding how to engage with your target consumer at each step will provide you with invaluable insight into their specific needs, which then could be satisfied by a mobile app.
3. Strategy: Determining the right approach for meeting said objectives.
Once you have identified your target audience and set your objectives for the mobile channel, choosing the right mobile development strategy becomes easier. It is important to keep in mind that your strategy is more than an appropriate technology, but it is also about reaching the right people with the right features required to meet the objectives you’ve set. Effective mobile solutions require unique and specific planning, tactics, integration and implementation. Use scenarios to establish interaction models. Scenarios must be realistic and in-context. If a feature doesn’t work within a realistic user scenario, cut it. Mobile users demand two main things when it comes to mobile experiences: content and convenience. At this stage, you should have a close to complete idea of your mobile application, functionality, features, usage scenarios, support system and operating systems.
4. Technology: Choosing the development technology that fits the strategy.
There are many development options available, and the development space is undergoing changes. This stage will be handled primarily by your technical team or a vendor, but it is important to establish right amount of cross-functional rapport to understand the process. In the perfect scenario you should have a team consisting of marketing, user experience, strategy and it members available through the entire process When choosing the development option, try to stay up to date with trends and general developments of the mobile space. In conclusion, remember that customers are increasingly looking for a full experience. To stand out in a sea of choices, your app must not only to draw attention initially, but withstand the test of time by delivering the promised value quickly and providing an incentive for continued engagement.
Marketers/Agencies: What are your best practices for creating a mobile strategy?