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.