There is no question that the current hot marketing topic is mobility – be it Web, application, SMS, or eCommerce. What’s odd is that so many companies are just now considering it a medium worth its own strategy. It’s odd because of users’ broad adoption of mobility – for consumption, business, and interaction. It’s odd because users expect brands to keep pace with them.
A recent eMarketer article about brand mobile site offerings brought some disappointing trends about this to the surface. Despite the widespread adoption of mobile devices by consumers, it’s clear that brands remain behind – and the longer you wait, the more likely you are to rush, and the more disappointed your users can become.
Lack of Consistency Between Mobile & Desktop isn’t Surprising
Simply-put, Web sites have a tendency to become confusing. Between departments battling over prime real estate on the desktop site and the general content atrophy that naturally occurs over time, Web sites often become bloated with out-dated content.
We observe frantic clients trying to shoe-horn in mobile development without much thought about the overall strategy. Of course, that’s where we come in – but when this happens without our guidance, it often results in the development of a limited-scope mobile experience. What that means is that the marketing leadership will plan a mobile project that only includes what they think is important. The problem: staff can suffer from a familiarity syndrome that customers don’t. In other words, they’re marketing to themselves, not the user.
Get your User Experience Right for the Medium
So, how do you avoid making this mistake without creating a monster mobility project that will never end? The short answer is: engage in a User Experience Design project.
What does that mean? It means that you identify your target users, observe them, and ask them for feedback. It means that you actually interact with your customers and users in a way that allows you to understand your brand from their perspective – and it’s a process that we go through with our clients in both mobile design and marketing experience creation, so we know that it results in success.
It can include many different elements, but some common steps we take include things like:
- Persona Building (we study your targets, and create personas to help you identify with them and their goals)
- Target Journey Mapping (we help you figure out the most natural way for your targets to get from an impression to a transaction in the mediums you use)
- Experience Testing (we test your messaging, your mobile features, and your brand with your targets to identify obstacles and gaps)
- Target Experience Roadmap (we help you design the overall mobile experience based on what your users or customers have taught us)
An App is Not a Strategy
Tablet-Browsing is Stuck in the Middle
Don’t Forget Your Message (and Where it’s Being Read)
Possibly the most concerning piece of information to come out of these findings is the lack of attention to optimizing E-mail for mobile consumption. Certainly, these findings are isolated to specific industries, but if your industry falls outside of the highly transactional B2C ones quoted in the study, the numbers may be even lower.
What this means is that we have a lot of work to do. Once we understand our target users’ behaviors (as we would discover in Customer Experience Design), we can justify the places to focus. Very generally, though, there’s an immediate need for the following:
- Optimizing email design for eased reading on a mobile device
- Linking to mobile-optimized pages (or a page that can detect the browser, at the very least)
- Some consideration of SMS marketing to augment our mobile e-mail efforts
Your users expect a mobile experience by now, and this year will reveal even more valuable behaviors than ever before as more and more brands mix mobile strategies with their other channels. However, if you don’t get the user experience right, you could easily end up spending time developing an application that doesn’t get used or a mobile site that disappoints.
We can help you get the user experience right the first time – for mobile development or other engaging experiences. Let’s work together.