"The inventor hardly knows what the invention will really be used for."
That is a known turn of phrase. Still, when it comes to developing your business by leveraging mobile, technology, social media and understanding the consumer of today, it’s a whole other world. It’s also a narrative that we, as business leaders, often forget. A very senior marketing professional quipped to me the other day that mobile is a very expensive platform, and it’s only getting harder and harder to justify the costs. For brands, there exists a massive chasm between the development of native and the usage of the mobile version of their respective websites. That, coupled with mobile advertising, and there is a sentiment of “what really works?… and is it all worth the cost, time and effort?” when you layer in the marketing opportunities that exist in places like Snapchat, Instagram and, yes, even Tinder. It’s a fair sentiment. Companies made significant investment in websites and suddenly find themselves shelving that all to have mobile-primed experiences. Maybe they should just sit out mobile and wait for augmented or virtual reality to take hold?
Well, what choice do you really have?
For years, I have been writing, talking and speaking on The Art Of… stages about the “mobile-first posture.” In short: your brand experience needs to match the current customer expectation. Your consumers have been exposed. They are swiping, buying, learning, tapping, thumb-scrolling, messaging, and sharing more than ever on their mobile devices (hello, iPhone, hello, Android). Your mobile brand experience can no longer afford to simply be a watered-down/less-than version of your desktop website. Think about it like this: they can get a car (Uber) with a simple flick, and the same motion for a mate (Tinder…. not kidding), with little complication. They’re not going to stand for cumbersome Web user experiences that were halfway adapted for mobile (pinch, click, enter data, etc.)... Don’t believe me? A recent Media Post article has this headline: 85% Of Shoppers Unlikely To Go Back After A Bad Mobile Experience; 95% Want Issues Resolved On First Try.
From that MediaPost article: “...a company gets one shot for resolving issues with a mobile shopper. To add icing to that, a large majority (85%) of consumers said they are unlikely to do business with the same organization following a bad mobile experience. On the other side, 72% say they are likely to do business with a company in the future following a good mobile experience.”
Beyond current consumer’s usage, expectations and experiences (which is massive), consider this...
Things are changing. Things will always change when it comes to technology. The concept of a mobile phone was created as a way for people to speak on the phone, and be reachable outside of their office and home (untethered). When it was first commercialized, many wondered what the point was, many laughed/made fun of those who used them, it all seemed so absurd at the time. Now, not only has that hurdle been jumped over (and, in the blink of an eye), but hardly anybody uses these smart”phones” to talk on at all. Voice/call usage is dropping big, as messaging, streaming and mobile data usage explodes. Think about the timeframe between the creation of mobile devices to now. Amazing. The main reason that the technology was created and adopted has become the least important functionality that people care about. The problem, of course, is that businesses are the ones left having to build on that infrastructure... and deal with it. So, yes, deal with it.
Simply complaining that it’s expensive doesn’t solve for the consumer or future-proof your brand today. If your consumer can meet another human being and get intimate with a few flicks of their thumbs on an iPhone, how much more difficult are you making it for them to connect with your business?