CMOs need to constantly challenge themselves to stay on top of the customer experience across all facets of the brands they are responsible for.
Today’s customer is increasingly a mobile-orientated customer. Given that something like the last seven years have been the “Year of Mobile”, I was fascinated to read the latest Econsultancy/Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: The Quest for Mobile Excellence to identify trends and take-aways that will hopefully help marketers in making their goals a reality.
Last year’s report focused on how mobile was reaching maturity, so it’s great to be able to see how things are shaping up in 2015 as we head on the quest for true excellence in mobile.
Strategy For Mobile Is Lacking
Just 34% of companies have a mobile strategy, yet many more are working on it: this lack of strategy for mobile is because mobile intersects and cuts across so many different business functions from customer service and ecommerce to marketing and IT.
The report also highlights that often mobile-related activity is happening in business silos. Less than a third of companies (30%) agree their mobile activities are ‘central to the overall business and how they engage with customers’.
Mobile is central to people’s lives today: the human posture of the decade is someone staring down at their mobile.
These data points show that there is still plenty to do in order to embrace mobile opportunities: starting with defining a strategy that reports into business goals, and making mobile more central to the business--these are two critical pillars in achieving mobile excellence.
There is cause for optimism with the data showing a small but growing percentage of businesses describing themselves as ‘mobile-first’; around a fifth (19%) of organisations compared to 13% last year.
Apps are taking off at even greater velocity than mobile-orientated web experiences (responsive, adaptive and mobile-specific websites).
Almost half of respondents say they employ mobile apps (up from 35% last year), for a range of different use-cases including content (81% of companies), interaction (60%) and gaming (13%). A great app should be brand-relevant and customer-centric; how can this tool be of benefit to your audience, yet stand out in a cluttered market place?
Excellence is not cramming a website into an app. I’m often asked “as a brand owner, why do I need an app?”. If you can afford one then it’s a great way to build depth of experience: repeat behaviour, loyalty and content upload. Apps enable data visualisation, research, transaction and deliver a quick, premium, personalized experience. Notifications are excellent at prompting re-engagement too. Apps (versus websites) should do fewer things, better. With apps taking off and generating huge returns, but at a higher risk, is it time for you to take app development more seriously?
Don’t Forget To Innovate With Mobile
The reduction of experimentation in mobile is concerning (7% reduction in those who have “budget aside for mobile experimentation and prototyping”). Mobile moves at such a pace, and with so many disruptors and start-ups entering markets, that it’s dangerous for brands to reduce their focus on new experimental mobile initiatives. Google and Coca-Cola using the 70/20/10 model to ensure 10% of their time and budget goes towards getting innovation out of PowerPoint and into test and learn experiments (20% is for new initiatives and 70% is for tried and tested brilliant basics). Food for thought perhaps?
Meet The Four Horsemen Of Your Mobile Apocalypse
The survey rightly identified ROI, personalisation, optimisation and messaging as the top four techniques in mobile across agencies and companies. And these four trends are the four horsemen of the mobile revolution this year.
The BBC says its future on mobile future is personalised and curated; there is just too much out there and not enough time. So trust comes in, as does the lovely algorithm. Recommendations must be current, to maximise engagement, so the race to predict and personalise in real time is the new arms race. Amazon’s ‘buying suggestions’ are said to generate an additional 10% to 30% in revenue for the business. Other popular products that rely on recommendation algorithms include Netflix, which even sponsored a $1m prize for improvements to its predictive algorithms.
The mass penetration of messaging services will have implications for app developers who will integrate increasingly sophisticated messaging services in order to increase conversion and improve service.
According to Bi-Intelligence there are now over 2bn monthly active users of messaging apps. The four largest (WhatsApp, Messenger, LINE, WeChat) have just overtaken the four most popular social apps (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram) in terms of active monthly users. Zuckerberg should be happy, given he owns four of the eight! In fact WhatsApp alone has over 700m users. 84% of Millennial’s would rather contact brands via an app rather than calling.
In the quest for ROI, arguments for mobile investment are starting to focus on loyalty and reducing customer service costs. As well as minimum viable products (MVPs) you now have commercially viable products (CVPs), so ROI is and will continue to be the daddy for mobile investment arguments, particularly as time with device is now coming into line with increasing direct and attributable revenue via mobile.
Yet mobile doesn’t sit on an island in the customer journey, it is the connecting tissue. And as seen in the graph above, less than a third (29%) of responding organizations use cross-channel tracking/visitor stitching as part of their mobile marketing efforts.
Analytics: Better Basics Required
Not being able to measure and therefore optimise for the varying behaviours and expectations across channels is a major problem.
And the report highlights this key issue, with data showing that 30% of businesses cannot identify devices, and 33% cannot properly apportion mobile traffic – so there is room for improvement in how brands do mobile analytics. Something drastic has happened as last year 11% stated they couldn’t apportion mobile traffic. Things have gotten worse year-on-year, so it feels like the bridge from mobile maturity to excellence is currently blocked for many brands.
App measurement results show that currently there is too much vanity and not enough sanity: three-quarters of companies (76%) measure total app downloads (big numbers = vanity) but less than half use a range of other key engagement and conversion metrics (what I would call ‘sanity’), including recurrent usage (48%), time spent (41%), revenue/leads generated (40%) and conversion (38%).
Getting the measurement basics wrong from the beginning means the likelihood of being customer-centric across touchpoints reduces by orders of magnitude. Mobile measurement is the big pain-point for marketers according to the report, and as so many are not measuring the right things it’s going to be interesting journey for many brands on their path to mobile excellence.