I attended the ThinkMobile conference sponsored by MediaBistro in NYC this week and was reminded how important Strategy, with a 'big S', is to the success of a mobile product offering. A lot of the conversation over the two day event centered on application development and the technical considerations around what platform or mobile operating system to code for. Invariably the iPhone and the iPad had center stage in most of the conversations, but all were cautioned not to undervalue a proper mobile Web site (when will we stop calling these WAP sites?).
Technical considerations like this are critical in ensuring the success of your mobile product offering, but are definitely not the first thoughts that should cross your mind. It's a given that this is the fun stuff to talk about and it makes for good conference fodder (who doesn't like a good OS/platform war) but this takes away from the real question organizations should be asking themselves - what is our mobile strategy?
All too often organizations take a backwards approach to developing a mobile product offering and begin with a technology decision rather than a strategic plan. Statements like "We need an iPhone app" or "Let's do something with SMS" lead to siloed approaches and marketing fragmentation. Success in mobile demands a systematic approach that begins with understanding your customers mobile usage, determining your product suitability to a mobile offering, defining your business objectives, and evaluating your level of commitment. Only once all of these steps are completed should you begin to implement the necessary technologies to achieve your mobile objectives.
In response to the need for a systematic approach to mobile strategy and measurement, Semphonic has put together the SMART Mobile Program.
Strategy - Determine your ‘Mobile Readiness’
Measurement - Define a mobile ‘Measurement Plan’
Analysis - Establish intelligent mobile ‘Correlations’
Reporting - Make strategic information ‘Obvious’
Tactics - Generate ‘Actionable Insights’
The starting point in the SMART Mobile Program is obviously Strategy - with a 'big S'. By defining an overarching mobile strategy informed by primary and secondary research, competitive evaluation, and market intelligence, organizations can establish their 'Mobile Readiness' before jumping headlong into technology and enablement decisions.
'Mobile Readiness' is assessed by thoroughly and systematically evaluating the mobile opportunities across your online properties and determining the necessary steps required to establish or optimize your mobile product offering. Good measurement is the data-driven foundation of any strategy, as such, a deep audit and analysis of your existing measurement infrastructure will assist in determining overall product suitability for a mobile product offering. Looking at existing mobile users on your site and their level of activity and engagement across site sections and experiences will provide insight as to where you should (and should not) focus your mobile attention. Analysis should be conducted across various dimensions including mobile device type, mobile visits, and mobile engagement to identify key sites or experiences that would represent significant opportunities for mobile product development.
Don't get caught up with tactical questions like, "Which mobile platforms should we support?" or "Do we need an iPhone app and mobile web site, too?" in the beginning but instead focus on Strategy first. With a well defined Strategy, organizations can be better equipped to handle the myriad of challenges and avoid the tactical execution pitfalls that mobile presents.