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Mobile hot potato: how to plan, cook and enjoy a well baked idea

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When it comes to mobile strategy, I don’t think I’ve ever heard or used as many analogies or metaphors to get the complexity across. Mobile development is hard. You have to navigate vast amounts of technical considerations, time implications, stakeholder expectations and the ever-changing landscape of consumer behaviors. Plus, everyone else is trying to leverage mobile too, so original ideas are hard to find. Someone else has done it, or it is in development, or has been developed and is live in China and has been operating for five years.

New things come out all the time and it keeps us on our toes. Ideas may exist but it doesn’t mean your (and your brand’s) ideas don’t have merit for your audiences. What’s out there already could inspire you to make a better idea. This is why I genuinely love mobile.

Sometimes though, I struggle to understand why my colleagues/clients/peers aren’t all jumping on mobile like I would, given that all stats point towards its ever-increasing importance to marketers and consumers – so why isn’t everyone a mobile strategist like me?

This is because mobile is not only a potato for its meme references, it is a hot potato in businesses because everyone passes it on. Why? Marketing execs who have inherited legacy apps just don’t know where to start. Business owners often have a vision for an app that they can’t shake off until it’s done. Massive multinational businesses have insane IT bureaucratic processes which tie teams in knots. Business owners passing the project down, marketing execs moving on or up, IT departments taking over a project and turning it from consumer focused to IT process lead. I see it now, even after eight years in mobile, and I want to help.

Here is my guide on how clients can navigate the mobile development paradigm, using baked potatoes as the point of reference. Just for fun.

First of all, ask your audience if they are even hungry

Do some user research, if you have an existing app – look at its usage, look at your competitor/comparator landscape for some macro trends, we’re at an age where new ways of doing things appear rapidly and these behaviors may shape your future product roadmap decisions.

Think about how you’re going to cook it

Cross platform/native/MVP first/completed/Lean/Agile/Kanban all have a place, keep up to date with the principles but don’t worry about being an expert. The quicker you become an expert at one discipline the quicker you lose touch with the bigger picture.

Experiment with fillings

Get into a new psyche of sprinting ideas to get out of your old routine. You and your business will try something new and see results fast with audience input.

Keep up to date with the latest recipe trends

Follow accelerator platforms and keep your eye on funding rounds to see what start-ups may disrupt your industry. Monitor behaviors as they evolve all the time, we’re starting to think about a cashless society, 5G is going to change internet speeds, and people consume content however they want. Look beyond your comfort zone.

It’s your potato, own it

This is your product, know it, don’t just look forward, look back, think about how you need to help educate your peers so they know how and why, show them you know your potatoes!

Hopefully with these 5 tips I’ve given you some food for thought when it comes to being a better mobile product owner. The one thing I can’t give you advice on is passion, if you haven’t got it don’t pretend and if you have everyone will know about it!

Anyway, if you came here for an actual baked potato recipe, here you go!

Sam Watson is head of mobile at Brass

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