Mobile Is The Strategy, But Are You Getting It Right?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 27, 2016


The the mobile revolution is already underway and currently, it’s in the midst of a serious growth spurt. This growth has some serious implications for decision makers in business. While some five years ago, one could say, “we need a mobile strategy.” Today, mobile is the strategy. However, the challenge is, are companies getting their mobile strategies right?

Adobe conducted a survey to discover how business are using mobile today. In June, the Adobe researchers reached out to 239 marketing decision makers and asked them to describe where they are with mobile and how they got there. The results of the survey published in a whitepaper stated that true mobile strategies rely on both IT and marketing teams.

In reality however, clearly not all organizations are doing mobile the same way. “Some of our customers are just dabbling or have tried to create a strategy for mobile like it’s just another channel. Or they try to cram a desktop experience into a tiny screen. These businesses struggle to really make it work. They don’t have a mobile strategy that provides the kinds of personalized experiences that today’s audience demands. On the other hand, some of our customers understand. It’s time to go all in,” said the researchers. 

Businesses like the NFL, Starwood Hotels, and Coca-Cola are driving deep changes to their business models in order to keep up with hyper innovation in the market and the quickly evolving nature of customer behavior. Does that mean they get everything right? Probably not, but that’s part of the point. They have established a mobile infrastructure that allows them to try new things, to adapt and to stay on the cutting edge.

The researchers stated, businesses that are seeing real success have one thing in common: they have maturity in their mobile processes.

“Specifically, the businesses that are getting it right are investing in mobile-specific teams, technologies, and processes that allow them to do the following:

- Manage, update, and publish a mobile app or mobile website across smartphone and tablet platforms

- Acquire: Use paid, owned, and earned media to drive user acquisition for app downloads and mobile web visitors

- Analyze: Understand how consumers are using the experience and what makes them convert or come back, and,

- Engage: Drive engagement and re-engagement to optimize conversions (subscriptions, commerce, ad revenue, etc.) and improve customer loyalty.

Adobe researchers refer to this as the mobile maturity lifecycle, a continuous workflow of behaviors and investments. These can be huge investments and new behaviors, so it’s important that you make them in ways that support your needs.

Making strategic investment

While the mobile marketing lifecycle is crucial to mobile maturity, it simply cannot thrive in a business that isn’t ready for it. Simply put, companies that are successful with mobile are the companies that invest in mobile. 

A commitment to mobile is ultimately shown by the amount of money a company invests in it. In this, marketing and IT seem to agree. Though again, the IT respondents are generally more aggressive in their estimates, note the report.

The travel and hospitality industry seems to be lagging behind other groups when it comes to annual investment. The mean investment from this industry was $2.3 million for apps and $2.6 for mobile web. At the same time, B2B high tech is surging ahead, reporting mean investments of $6 million and $6.6 million for apps and mobile web respectively. 

Still, when asked the same question about their mobile web development, the mean dollar amount of the two groups was almost identical. And when asked what percentage of their total technology spend went to creating, measuring, and optimizing both mobile apps and mobile websites, both marketing and IT decision makers agreed that in both cases.

 Mobile strategy on apps

Apps are obviously an important part of the mobile landscape and the research showed that the number and purpose of apps being published is diverse. Overall, these apps were designed both for smartphones and tablets (though in general, more respondents—9 percent of both marketing and IT decision makers—said they didn’t have any apps designed specifically for tablets).

Mobile updates

Speaking of updates, the research found, marketing and IT decision makers seem to be on the same page. More than a third of respondents claim their businesses update their apps at least every three months, if not more. And two-thirds update at least twice a year.

Whether or not this is frequent enough to meet the demands of their customers remains to be seen, but the time it takes to publish updates is certainly a factor. 

Overall, everyone agrees that developers are the ones with the primary responsibility to update apps (not surprisingly, 58 percent of IT decision makers said this, versus 42 percent of marketers). Twenty-nine percent of marketers said it was marketing’s responsibility. Only 9 percent of IT respondents agreed.

Mobile measurement

Measurement is a key part of any mobile strategy. The research showed marketers (78 percent) and IT decision makers (85 percent) agree that their companies are measuring customer engagement over time. In fact, 71 percent of marketers and 79 percent of IT respondents say their companies measure customer engagement at least weekly.

With other measurements, IT respondents are predictably more generous than their marketing counterparts. For example, 78 percent of IT decision makers claim they calculate lifetime values, while only 64 percent of marketers say the same. Similarly, 84 percent of IT decision makers measure the effect of mobile on other channels. Only 67 percent of marketers agree. Again, it’s possible that marketers have more rigorous criteria when it comes to how they define these metrics.

 Making the shift happen

As mobile is becoming ubiquitious is nature, a cultural shift has already happened, observe researchers. According to them, mobile maturity requires a comprehensive approach. In order to embrace mobile as your marketing strategy, you need to start with your organization, and then dive into the tactics. The mobile experiences that are successful are the ones that come from the fertile soil of a strategy that can guide you every step of the way.

Businesses that excel in mobile have a plan to constantly manage and improve their apps and mobile websites. They actively drive traffic to those mobile channels and analyze that traffic to understand what’s working and what’s not. Then they take steps to improve what they can and trim away what they can’t.

The results published in this report show that, while there is much work to be done, businesses are actively engaging in improving their mobile maturity. Giving an example of Uber, the researchers said,even though the kind of service they offer—getting people from one place to another—is probably one of the oldest in the world, they’ve completely turned it on it’s head by beginning and ending the whole process—and filling in generous parts of the middle—on mobile.

It is obvious from the research that those who have still not seen mobile as your strategy, maybe it’s time to start. The bar is higher than ever, and it’s time to step up your mobile game.