Why your business needs to adopt an appropriate mobile strategy?


Mobile phones and mobile apps are significant parts of a modern life. Sometimes, we use a mobile phone umpteen time a day! And, it is not used for making phone calls alone. The unprecedented growth of mobiles worldwide has made us an app-driven society.

The ubiquitous mobile app
As on start of 2016, Android users could choose from 2 million apps, while Apple’s App Store offered around 1.6 million apps that had been downloaded a cumulative 100 billion times.

Mobile apps are driving our lives. From the morning cup of coffee ordered remotely via the Wi-Fi enabled smart coffee maker, to the remote switching off of smart lights, late at night. In between, mobiles and mobile apps are used for news, appointments, weather updates, traffic updates, diets, health plans, videos, games, shopping, music, pictures and even dating.

People around the world are spending more time using the apps, than ever before.

Making a business case 
For the first time in December, 2014, website visits through mobile phones overtook website viewing on desktops. The trend has only been accentuated since then. With more than half the world’s population becoming users of the mobile internet, it is important that marketers give serious thought to the selection of a mobile strategy that is most appropriate to their businesses.

Making a business case and crafting a mobile strategy isn’t a simple case of developing a suitable app as apps can be developed for almost any need.

The important thing is to have a mobile strategy that’s right for the business challenges at hand and the opportunities before you. In other words, before jumping on the mobile app band wagon, making a business case for a mobile strategy is vital and all business starts with understanding customers and providing what they need.

Customers are getting more complex 
The consumer ought to be at the core of your mobile strategy. But, understanding your customer or target audience is no longer easy. It is not easy to define your customer in terms of demographics like age, sex, income or education alone. Psychographic descriptions based on personalities, values, opinion and attitudes are more challenging than ever before. As “Think With Google” puts it “Mobile has forever changed the way we live, and it’s forever changed what we expect of brands, it’s fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Each one is a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences.” 

Understanding your target audience 
Understanding your consumer and your brand’s relationship with the consumer is a good beginning.

Who among them is more likely to become your brand advocate?

Are they looking forward to engaging with and respond to your brand through mobiles with the appropriate comfort level?

The youth certainly does, spending more than three and a half hours per day on mobiles! Early adopters of technology and social networkers are certainly comfortable with technology. Business travelers, salesmen and others who need to work from outside their offices are also likely to be more predisposed.

What do the marketers ask? 
Where are the majority of your customers located? What are the penetration and usage levels of desktops versus tablets and mobiles for accessing websites?

What are the market shares and growth rates of Android and Apple platforms? Android for example, has a lead over Apple in the developing and emerging markets.

How much are customers willing to spend on a smartphone and apps in USA compared to users in Asia or Africa? Within Asia, are there more buyers of premium smartphones in prosperous Dubai compared to emerging India? Which smartphone is perceived to be more premium and which one is preferred in terms of the superior value offered for the more price sensitive markets of the world?

Revisit the market plan and the goals 
Your marketing plan defines the marketing goals. Before deciding on an appropriate mobile strategy, you need to revisit your business and marketing goals.

All mobile options are not the same. The mobile option you select has to help your business achieve the goals.

Enhancing brand awareness, building or rewarding brand loyalty, generating and nurturing leads until they are ripe for conversion, increasing sales, offering superior window shopping or brand experiences,  improving customer service and support are a few examples of goals.

  • Will a store locating mobile app for your retail network of stores help your business increase sales?
  • Can an augmented reality app on your mobile deliver better brand experiences by making your new sports car look more exciting to the consumer?
  • As more and more customers shop online, can you create a great window shopping experience on the mobile phone? Can a lady check out how a red dress will look on her by trying it out on the mobile app?
  • Can apps reward brand loyalty and nudge additional purchases through loyalty points or contests?
  • Can a live chat on the mobile help close a sale by providing answers to the customer?
  • Instead of having to call your local bank, can better service be delivered through messages providing bank balance updates and information on other transactions?
  • How about a mobile app that allows a customer to contact his service engineer through a SMS?
  • Is there a place for QR code scanners on mobiles that help customers connect more easily to online company and product resources?

A question of technology
Another important consideration for the mobile strategy is the choice of mobile technology for the development of apps. Several options are available. An inappropriate choice can set you back by millions in terms of development costs and lost business opportunities. Should you opt for a mobile friendly web or a mobile site or native applications?

Mobile friendly websites are websites designed primarily for computers. But, they also perform, with a few limitations on smartphones and tablets. The advantage is that you do not have to incur separate website development costs for computers and smartphones. The content teams and the webmaster do not have to develop and update contents twice.

Mobile sites are designed from scratch for smaller screen devices like smartphones and tablets. They have lesser content, relevant to smaller screen sizes plus touch screen functionality. They involve extra costs in terms of designing and development.

Native apps are for specific platforms like Android or Apple iPhone and are designed to take full advantage of smartphone capabilities.

Reading the future
There are many decisions to be taken on the choice of platforms, devices, features, development costs, content, maintenance costs and connectivity that best meet the business and marketing goals of the organization.

With technology changing every day, a decision taken today could be outdated very soon.

The case finally rests with a choice that best meets what the customer needs!