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Is a Mobile-First Marketing Strategy Worth the Investment?

The amount of time people spend on a mobile device is growing 14 times faster than desktop usage, forcing brands to reimagine the relationship with their customers. Here’s why mobile-first marketing strategy is gaining global traction and how to overcome the associated challenges.

Our smartphones are our constant companions. People check their phones from the moment they wake up, to the second they go to bed; using them on the go, for shopping, entertainment, keeping up to date on work, following the news, the brands they love, and all the latest trends.

This intimacy with our phones has changed the way we interact with brands forever, and organisations need to understand how to take on the challenge of mobile or risk being left behind.

We’re living in what’s been termed the “swipe generation”, which means that brands need to identify the most effective digital practices for engaging users, driving app downloads, and increasing conversion rates. “Doing mobile” no longer means just optimising your website to be accessible on a smaller screen, it means fundamentally changing the underlying programmes to react to touch, movement, even eye motion, and more. It also means linking together all of the information available about a customer to provide a more intimate and personalised experience.

Brands that get this right, now have a unique opportunity to connect with consumers throughout their customer journey and, with the right tools in place, gather a wealth of invaluable data that improves the end experience and the business bottom line.

Practically, there are challenges marketers need to overcome in order to develop a truly mobile-first marketing strategy:

Be channel agnostic

Brands need to give consumers the best possible experience whatever channel they land on to put their brands in the best light. The sheer number of devices and different operating systems can be daunting, especially as most people neglect to regularly update their operating systems, so marketers must also support a huge variety of OS versions.

Having the right tools in place to manage this myriad of mobile factors is crucial. For example, Adobe PhoneGap Enterprise helps mobile marketers and mobile app developers ‘work smarter, not harder’ by streamlining and speeding up previewing and testing to multiple devices. It allows you to make a change to your app centrally and then push out the update, optimised to any device and OS, at the touch of a button. This speed and simplicity is essential in the real-time marketing environment we work in today.

A single view of the customer

Customers want to engage via channels of their choosing. What they do on a mobile device might be very different to how they engage on a PC or in a physical environment. For example, think about the so-called ‘showrooming’ trend where mobile and physical retail converge enabling consumers to seek out the best deals using both channels.

Those who have the capability to connect the consumer journey across any and all channels, can better understand true consumer behaviour and journeys, improving individual experiences and conversion rates.

Embrace change

Our recent digital roadblock survey revealed that marketers are facing vast changes in their roles – with two thirds of European marketers (68%) stating that marketing has changed more in the last two years than in the previous 50, and more than half (54%) of European marketers expect their own roles to change in the next year. When asked to identify the most significant driving forces of change, marketers point to the expanded number of channels and platforms to reach audiences as the most important driver (65%), followed closely by new ways of thinking about audience engagement (59%) and new technologies for analysing marketing effectiveness (54%).

Digital Marketing Roadblock: Marketing Changes


Digital Marketing Roadblock: New Technologies

Mobile is key to this. It’s not just about buying and implementing mobile products and processes to drive a mobile-first strategy. It is the people that will ultimately make it happen.

Over the years, we’ve worked closely with many brands on how to approach all three of the Ps – product, process and people – and as a result we have developed a self-assessment tool which helps companies to benchmark where they are in the digital marketing revolution, or evolution. The Digital Marketing Maturity Self-Assessment Tool allows marketers to take a high level view on how they stack up against industry best practice, drilling down into what they’re doing successfully, and where their key focus areas need to be across seven digital marketing dimensions.

We hope that this tool will be a good start in helping marketers understand what both their digital marketing and mobile-first strategy might look like in the context of their specific industry, business challenges and ultimately, the outcomes they need to achieve.

Do or die

Meanwhile, the pace of change and innovation in the mobile space continues undiminished. This year, we’re seeing more and more wearable technology devices entering the market, each of which create even more opportunity for marketers. Add to this the building noise around iBeacon technology for geo-location services, and the situation is only going to get more complex for marketers.

What is for certain, is that mobile is having a major impact on the move to hyper-personalisation in marketing. As devices become even more personal (we’ll be wearing them), and consumers can be targeted based on their location, brands will need to navigate a careful path between being too personally disruptive and adding real value to the end-user.

But we all have to start somewhere, and for those brands that need to catch up quickly in mobile marketing, technology and consultancy can help marketers feel more self-assured and comfortable in their abilities to succeed with mobile in the future.

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