The Quest for Mobile Excellence

The smart­phone – bless­ing and bane of our exis­tence, both as indi­vid­u­als and as mar­keters. It’s become so inte­gral to our lives, and yet in many ways, we’re still try­ing to get our heads – or rather – our hands – around it. ‘Doing’ mobile mar­ket­ing – let alone doing it well – has been on our radar for a few years now, and yet we have still not seen a fun­da­men­tal shift across brands and industries.

We at Adobe recent­ly did a study with eCon­sul­tan­cy to check in with busi­ness­es on where they are in their ‘Quest for Mobile Excel­lence’. Sur­vey­ing 3,000 mar­keters and dig­i­tal pro­fes­sion­als, only 19% of busi­ness­es would define them­selves as ‘mobile first’, and less than a third of com­pa­nies said mobile is cen­tral to their over­all business.

Now, talk­ing about mobile-first is noth­ing new, and in many ways it’s become an emp­ty con­ver­sa­tion. And although the num­bers have slow­ly increased over the past few years, the sto­ry is still the same, bely­ing mobile for most busi­ness­es is still very much a tac­tic, not a strat­e­gy.

So in aim­ing to achieve not just mobile excel­lence, but busi­ness excel­lence now and in the com­ing years, it is imper­a­tive we reframe mobile:

Instead of con­tin­u­al­ly mulling over how mobile can add val­ue to your busi­ness, con­sid­er mobile is your busi­ness.

Instead of ded­i­cat­ing some bud­get to just tick the box, con­sid­er mobile is your gate­way to per­son­al con­nec­tion with your customers.

Instead of debat­ing whether to invest in a mobile-opti­mised site or an app, con­sid­er how you can trans­form your cus­tomer expe­ri­ence.

Instead of treat­ing mobile as incre­men­tal to your bot­tom line, con­sid­er mobile is your bread and but­ter.

So let’s take a look at these three key areas with the insights we’ve gained from our Quar­ter­ly Dig­i­tal Intel­li­gence Brief­ing help­ing us high­light suc­cess­es and gaps in the field.

Let’s Get Personal

‘No tool in our mod­ern his­to­ry approach­es the depth and breadth of the smartphone’s role in every­day life.’

Think about how you use your smart­phone – it’s an incred­i­bly per­son­al device. It’s with us just about every­where we go and stores our per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al lives. It’s how we con­nect with peo­ple. It’s how we access infor­ma­tion and prod­ucts to aug­ment our lives.

As mar­keters, we have unique access to con­nect direct­ly with our cus­tomers through their mobile devices. So think like a con­sumer – how could a brand add val­ue to your life, instead of just push­ing prod­ucts? This is where con­sis­tent, rel­e­vant expe­ri­ences are key, and it’s espe­cial­ly crit­i­cal when we’re look­ing at mul­ti­ple chan­nels and across channels.

We also found in our research 31% of total dig­i­tal traf­fic is via mobile. This means the mobile expe­ri­ence – web­site, app, or both – can­not be cre­at­ed and left sta­t­ic, espe­cial­ly if you’re going to keep it per­son­al. That’s why it’s cru­cial to test often and test with pur­pose, just like you’d be sure to be doing with your desk­top site. And with less than a third of respon­dents say­ing they have bud­get ded­i­cat­ed to mobile exper­i­men­ta­tion, there’s a long way to go.

Your Cus­tomer Jour­ney Depends on It

Remem­ber – although there are always sim­i­lar­i­ties amongst busi­ness­es with­in ver­ti­cals and there is a lot of val­ue in best prac­tice shar­ing, your rela­tion­ship with your cus­tomer is unique. So although 49% of respon­dents we sur­veyed have cho­sen to focus on apps, the key to an invest­ment in mobile that will dri­ve busi­ness val­ue is to real­ly under­stand your cus­tomer jour­ney. How do _your _cus­tomers engage with you? Under­stand­ing this means you can get over where they are to make that engage­ment as easy, enjoy­able, and effec­tive as possible.

When you do need to make that deci­sion, though – to app or not to app? – cost will be a fac­tor, so invest wisely.

A native app build can be in the range of 2x the cost of a mobile web­site. Both require ongo­ing main­te­nance, test­ing, and exper­i­men­ta­tion, plus the addi­tion­al fac­tor of mul­ti­ple app stores to main­tain, in the case of the appli­ca­tion. The good news is there are solu­tions, such as Adobe Expe­ri­ence Man­ag­er Apps + Phone­Gap Enter­prise, which enable the easy, scal­able man­age­ment of apps from start to fin­ish across mul­ti­ple app stores to help man­age cost and resource.

Suc­cess Requires Strategy

Our research results indi­cat­ed a sig­nif­i­cant gap in strat­e­gy across busi­ness­es. Only 34% of respon­dents said their busi­ness has a mobile strat­e­gy that extends for a year or more. This con­firms we still have a long way to go to cause a par­a­digm shift in the way we think about and for­mu­late our busi­ness strategies.

Two main com­po­nents of a suc­cess­ful mobile strat­e­gy that emerged are respon­si­bil­i­ty and mea­sur­a­bil­i­ty. For the first, what works is cen­tral­is­ing own­er­ship and diver­si­fy­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty. Ulti­mate­ly, some­one must be account­able. And because mobile touch­es each part of the busi­ness, each part must touch mobile and be clear what their deliv­er­ables are. Essen­tial­ly, everyone’s got to have some skin in the game. In the cur­rent land­scape, how­ev­er, the per­cent­age of busi­ness­es which have all teams or depart­ments account­able for some mobile-spe­cif­ic KPI is only 13%.

What our research has revealed is the most dig­i­tal­ly advanced com­pa­nies have a mobile cen­tre of excel­lence – so a core team to own mobile, who can then over­see mobile through­out the busi­ness, and to whom oth­er teams must feed back into.

Strat­e­gy means under­stand­ing and action­ing busi­ness val­ue in con­junc­tion with busi­ness vision, so mea­sur­a­bil­i­ty is key. Your mobile activ­i­ty is only as good as the revenue/customer retention/uplift it’s dri­ving, just like any oth­er chan­nel or cam­paign. Admit­ted­ly, there are some chal­lenges with the tech side of mobile track­ing as it stands; how­ev­er, we as mar­keters don’t wait for 100%. We make the most out of what’s avail­able, and there’s already a lot. With Adobe tech­nol­o­gy, you’re able to track a pletho­ra of mobile-cen­tric met­rics along­side hard con­ver­sion data.

So what does your busi­ness need to mea­sure and why? This will help you deter­mine what you need to be able to mea­sure, and then inves­ti­gate the best way to imple­ment that track­ing. And the effort is worth it – 67% of respon­dents who invest in cross-chan­nel tracking/visitor stitch­ing say they under­stand how mobile fits into their cus­tomer jour­ney cross-device & cross-channel.

Under­stand­ing the cur­rent state of mobile in busi­ness­es enables us to draw three pow­er­ful con­clu­sions to help us cause the par­a­digm shift cus­tomers are already demand­ing: 1) cre­ate per­son­al and con­sis­tent expe­ri­ences, 2) under­stand and action your cus­tomer jour­ney, 3) match busi­ness val­ue with busi­ness vision. Putting these insights into action, we can start to catch up with our cus­tomers and con­tin­ue to win in busi­ness today and in the com­ing years.