With consumer adoption of smartphones and mobile media consumption on the rise, companies that have pushed mobile strategy to the bottom of their marketing and communications To-Do list may be quickly coming to realize their missed opportunity. As a result, mobile device users may now be able to find the sites they need when surfing, but their pleasure may be short-lived as they discover critical gaps.
“Putting something out there” isn’t a workable strategy for any channel. As a user, there are few frustrations greater than finding the thing you’re looking for, only to discover disconnects that leave you still unfulfilled. Being the first of your competition to publish a mobile site won’t win any customer accolades (or satisfaction points) if the site doesn’t deliver what they need most when they’re in the car, in the store, or making good use of down time between innings of their kids’ game.
And sure, while you can create a simple mobile site that allows users to determine your hours of operation, learn your phone number, or get directions to your office (granted, all important boxes to check), this mentality creates an isolated island in both function and form. Soon these swiftly-tackled mini-projects give way to today’s pressing agenda – forgotten until a competitor enjoys strong revenue growth for their innovative mobile strategy. That’s when “putting something out there” becomes a liability to the more deeply thought-out strategic initiative.
In their haste to “go mobile,” many businesses may place resources against the tactical pieces – the mobile website design or applications – without providing sufficient thought to forming a comprehensive mobile plan that integrates within their overall marketing communications strategy.
In other words, many businesses make the mistake of hastily moving into a developing channel like mobile without really knowing things like:
- What functional, informational, and experiential needs their customers have for the channel.
- How they plan to govern or maintain the channel moving forward, as customer needs and expectations evolve.
- How the technical and operational aspects of the channel compliment or feed into their more established, traditional communications and lead generation channels.
- How the channel can be used to reach customers and prospects at critical decision-making points, and how to maximize the results of that contact by gathering more user information, delivering a (trackable) incentive, or providing experience-enriching context that helps override linear price-driven comparisons.
This may be because, as a still-wet-behind-the-ears channel, companies are hesitant to spend budgets and employee costs on a program that may not pay out for a year or two. The recession effects, recovery plans, and new, more conservative, spending policies may inhibit more radical transformation.
As with any business decision, what’s appropriate for one company may not be appropriate for another. The key to taking full advantage of a new channel and consumer trends lies in applying the activity to the unique needs of your own market and user base. Once a determination has been made to add another prong to a multi-channel marketing strategy, consider not only how to deepen, strengthen, and enrichen the channel itself, but also how user activity crosses the boundaries we marketers set up when organizing and executing our plans.
Just because internally mobile strategy falls into someone else’s department doesn’t mean that your customers think of your brand in terms of separate channels.