What makes a successful mobile strategy?

From consumers to marketing directors, mobile is the word on everyone’s lips at the moment. And it’s not difficult to see why - it’s estimated that by 2014, mobile devices will have overtaken PCs. Mobile devices are not only more portable – they’re more personal and customisable too. Living in people’s pockets, they provide the ultimate communications platform. With mobile comes a wealth of almost limitless opportunity for brands to get straight to the heart of consumers and ultimately increase brand engagement.

But is developing a mobile marketing strategy worth the time, effort and investment for companies? Does mobile live up to the hype? How much impact can a killer app make?The Drum caught up with leading agencies in the world of app development and mobile strategy, posing a series of questions to discover just what it is that’s got people talking, and why developing such a strategy might not be just prudent – but actually essential for the future of your brand.Nigel Little, Managing Director, Distinctive DevelopmentsAs with any strategy you firstly need to have a clear objective of what you are looking to achieve. If you are thinking of having an app developed as part of this strategy you should be thinking of what an app can uniquely do that helps you deliver the marketing message to the intended audience. You should also factor in that a good quality app is going to take an absolute minimum of six to eight weeks to develop; does this fit in with your campaign timescales? Once you decide to have an app developed, choose a professional app developer with experience in delivering branded apps and who propose the innovative ideas that will make your app standout in the marketplace. Make sure they understand your objectives and have them sit down with the other creative agencies that may be working on other parts of the overall campaign.Then once development is underway, ensure that feature creep is kept under control and that the app is delivering value where you need it, constantly benchmarking it against your original objective.Graeme Hastings, Creative Director, Science Creative LtdBefore development it’s important to decide on the purpose; this generally falls into three categories – utility, entertainment or content. It could be a combination of these elements, but it’s still important to focus on the aim and eventual value to the end user.It is also essential to choose a capable development team such as Science Creative to ensure your app does not give a poor impression from slow performance or poor reliability.Howard Simms, Operations Director, ApadmiFirstly, consider what you want to achieve. We hear people say ‘we need an app’ and it’s not clear why, other than mobile is ‘the place to be’. There are several avenues you can take in the mobile arena, and relevant platforms for your target audience needs consideration. It changes from company to company, so we would always suggest talking it through, thinking beyond iPhone, thinking beyond web, understanding the options available and then taking each one as it become relevant.Simon Jones, Head of Online, IntermarketingUnderstand your customers and analyse your data metrics. Even the smallest businesses will be surprised at the trends they’ll see in Google Analytics by the number of visitors browsing their site on mobile devices.Consider optimising your website for mobile devices. It’s cheaper than creating an app and statistics show that more of us are searching the web on mobile devices.Peter Dolukhanov, Joint Managing Director – Technology & Operations, Nice AgencyRyan Hall, Joint Managing Director – Client Services & Experience Design, Nice AgencyDon’t rush. It’s important to get the right result and ensure there is enough thinking time factored into creating the strategy.It is also so important to put the users at the heart of the strategy to ensure it satisfies their needs and wants as much as the business objectives.Agencies and client must ensure they have an awareness of current and upcoming mobile platforms and devices. To succeed a mobile strategy must consider and plan for a continuous, connected and personalised experience for end users across a brands mobile proposition.Gemma Oversby, Head of Bbusiness Development, Storm IDYou will have noticed in your analytics package that the number of requests for your online services from mobile devices is increasing. You may have also noticed the bounce rate is shocking. There are many things to consider, but here is a generic mobile strategy that you can show your children and friends at the pub and which will ensure you existing services do not disappear off the map during the great shift to mobile:
  • Ensure your website leaf pages can be consumed by mobile web browsers arriving from Google on their phone
  • Get the web developers to use a bit of adaptive CSSCreate a mobile web view of your website (navigation, search, etc) for mobile webGet the web developers to create a new site template optimised for mobile web
  • Improve your mobile web view by creating apps for discrete functions
  • Work out what your most important features are and nail the mobile web implementation – another web development
  • Improve your apps by creating a single native mobile app for one platform
  • Take your mobile web apps and think about how you can make them slicker and more useful when run natively on a phone. Also think how to bundle them into a package that someone will recognise as useful.
  • Promote your new native app via your mobile web view and any other channels available. You are going to need to get mobile app developers talking to your web developers here and have a chat with digital marketing too.
  • Increase your reach by adapting your native apps for other platforms
  • The native app you have created will be suitable for all platforms, you just need to translate it slightly to accommodate the differing UIs available. Do *not* reinvent the app for each platform – keep the flows the same and use the same backend web based services. Ideally use the same mobile app developers for this, making sure they have proven capabilities for all target platforms and can work with the backend web services.
  • Consider mobile marketing campaigns around your core offering
  • When considering marketing ensure a healthy component is focussed on mobile – use a digital marketing company with mobile app dev capabilities. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you develop the best app in the world people will just download and use it. You need to promote and market it using all the channels available.
  • Adapt your core offering to ensure that it is optimised primarily for mobile consumption
This is one for the business owner – can you extend or repackage your service so that it is more valuable in a mobile context? Yes? Go on then, what are you waiting for?

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