The global explosion in mobile web access, be it via a mobile phone or tablet, shows no signs of abating. Pick any year between 2008 and 2013 and you can be sure that marketing experts touted it as the ‘year of mobile’. We are bombarded with articles and ‘thought pieces’ waxing lyrical about the mobile wallet, geo-fencing, location-based advertising, rich media mobile content…
Only a third of FTSE 100 companies have a mobile-optimised site and only 16 percent of marketers have a formalised mobile strategy (CMO Council 2013), despite the fact that 57 percent of consumers will not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site and 40 percent of consumers will go to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience (Compuware 2012).
At the same time, mobile advertising accounts for about one percent of marketing spend, even though we are increasingly using our mobiles across the purchasing process, from finding new products and comparing prices in-store right through to purchase. Incredible.
But marketers aren’t stupid – why the slow march towards mobile rather than the stampede one might expect?
The Land of Confusion
Forrester’s ‘State of Retailing Online 2012: Investments in Mobile and Tablet Commerce’ offers some clues: -
Firstly, retailers find that business objectives for mobile are unclear – the lack of revenue from mobile channels makes it hard to build a compelling business case and ROI model, whilst there is confusion as to whether to focus on supporting stores or driving direct sales.
Secondly, Forrester states that retailers are wary of a “rapidly evolving mobile landscape that is challenging in terms of knowing which platforms and mobile offerings to invest in”.
So in short, it seems that retailers, who one might expect to be at the vanguard of mobile strategy and deployment, are still asking some fundamental questions:
So, how to avoid the confusion and make sure your organisation gets mobile right?
Taking a Strategic Approach to Mobile
Mobile’s growing importance necessitates a measured, strategic approach – a series of tactical implementations undertaken in the absence of an overriding strategic framework is the surest way to fail in the long-term.
But first things first…
Get the foundations right
If you don’t have a mobile site to be proud of you should start with a re-development ASAP – this will give you a destination around which your complementary marketing communications (virtual or in-store) can revolve. There are exceptions to the ‘mobile site first’ rule, but they are few and far between.
Responsive Design or Mobile Specific?
The question I am asked more than any other when it comes to mobile is whether it is best to develop a site using responsive design or to build a mobile specific site.
The answer to this question depends very much on the type of site you are deploying – for content heavy websites (such as news sites or corporate sites) responsive design makes a lot of sense, but for sites that are transactional or have very specific mobile usage patterns, a mobile specific site is probably your best bet. But every case is different – and the key here is ensuring you understand your audience and the context within which your mobile site is going to be used.
Develop your mobile ecosystem
When you have a mobile optimised site, you can begin to look at more advanced mobile initiatives – apps, mobile transactions, augmented reality, geo-fencing and all the other sexy stuff you read about in marketing magazines.
And one last thing…
Be agile – no area of marketing is changing as fast as mobile and we will see this pace of change only accelerate. Have a plan, yes – but be ready to adapt. And fast.
Five critical success factors for developing a mobile strategy
Chief Strategy Officer
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