2012 Mobile Trends: What’s On Your Strategic Roadmap?

Let’s take a step back, first. You started as the “mobile person” two to three years ago. You siphoned a hundred thousand dollars or so from the eBusiness team budget and got a mobile optimized web site and maybe an application or two built. You measured your success by engagement – web traffic and application downloads. Maybe you measured direct revenue. Life was easy.

Two to three years later, as eBusiness professionals, you’ve got some experience with building, deploying and maintaining mobile services. You’ve added tablets to your portfolio. Hopefully you’ve convinced your organization that you need at least a 7-figure budget. Most industries have seen clear financial returns on these investments so that hasn’t been too hard. As eBusiness professionals working on mobile, you were feeling a lot of love.

In 2011, you benchmarked yourselves versus your competition. You looked at native applications by platform and key functionality on mobile web and applications. You took a deep breath and said, “ok, we’ve done it. We have mobile services. We’ve checked the box. Mobile web traffic and sales are growing. We’re good.” Perhaps others with fewer services are thinking, “I can see what we need to do. I think we can catch up if I can get some budget.”

The thing you are seeing though is – the finish line is out of sight. Mobile has only gotten more complicated – not less. No one feels comfortable. No one feels they can slow down, stop spending, or rest. Anxiety levels are high.

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2012 Mobile Trends And What They Mean For Product Strategists

When revisiting our 2011 mobile trends, Julie Ask and I concluded that many, if not all, of them were still evolving and relevant. We have placed the main new trends for 2012 into four categories: business, ecosystem, consumer expectations, and technology.

Mobile Is A Key Business Strategy Enabler

Product strategists must work with other roles in the organization to:

  • Develop a scalable approach to delivering mobile services. Organizations will need a strategic approach to building and spreading institutional knowledge as well as governance for the development of mobile services.
  • Craft a mobile strategy that extends beyond phones. The emergence of tablets in particular will require a different approach than smartphones.
  • Differentiate on the delivery rather than the content of mobile services. In 2012, “how” mobile services are delivered will differentiate them — not what they offer.
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If Only We Had Done X (Lessons In Project Management)

How many of you have managed consulting projects that didn’t turn out as planned and left you saying, “If only we had done . . .” ? Have you ever wondered how many steps and criteria are involved in successful consulting projects? And do you know how to avoid project failures?

In an upcoming research report, “Five Stages To Optimize The Research Process,” Forrester will lay out the five key stages, 30-plus key steps, and 130-plus key criteria identified in successful consulting projects. Not all criteria are equal and required for every project, but miss some key criteria and project steps and you could have a project crisis (or expensive failure) on your hands.

Some highlights for each of the key project stages:

  • Preparing. We identified 33 key criteria that help MI professionals avoid rushing into the project design without having a clear idea of potential gains and risks, timelines, and threats and how they will prove value-add.
  • Designing. Forrester found 36 key criteria to help build successful project designs. Some of the most overlooked were identifying all the stakeholders, their expectations, capabilities, and timing so that deliverables were designed from the start to be stakeholder-aligned.
  • Implementing.From finalizing scope to RFPs, final project plans, and kick-offs, Forrester found 27 criteria involved in making sure your project gets off on the right foot. Like creating a deliverable template that matches the goal and making sure that everyone is on the same page with what they need to do by when so that you don’t crash your timelines.
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Principles For Mobile Marketing Success

Most marketers know that there are opportunities for them to engage consumers on mobile devices: consumers are increasingly buying smartphones, using them more frequently, and using them as a supplemental resource for content and communication. So it’s great to see that marketer spend in mobile is increasing. However, we find that most efforts still treat mobile as a translation of PC-based campaigns, or are otherwise experimental. And while it’s smart to start with those kinds of programs, we think it’s important that marketers begin to evolve their mobile marketing strategies so their programs can be as sophisticated as their customers.  

In our latest report, we’ve identified a few steps you can take to move your mobile marketing strategy forward:

1)    Know what phase of mobile marketing evolution you are in.To get where you’re going, you first have to know where you are. We’ve has outlined five phases of mobile marketing evolution and the accompanying approach, resources, goals, and tactics for each so that you can see which phase you are in today: Foundation, Experimentation, Device Strategy, Channel Strategy, and Comprehensive Strategy.

2)    Use the three pillars of mobile strategy to guide your marketing programs in each phase:

a.     Immediacy: Provide content that is timely and actionable in the moment.

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Watch Out…Customer Experience Innovations Can Come From Where You Least Expect Them

Last week I posted some of the most frequently asked questions we get about the Customer Experience Index, 2012. One question I didn’t include but should have is “Who got the highest score in my industry?”

I scanned the list of industry high scores and wasn’t surprised to see names like USAA (banks, credit card providers, insurance providers), Apple (consumer electronics manufacturers), and Southwest Airlines. But there were names we don’t hear about as much in customer experience like Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (investment firms), Bright House Networks (ISPs), US Cellular (Wireless service providers), and Dish Network/EchoStar (TV service providers)*. 

To me this says that brands trying to differentiate on the basis of customer experience need to look in a variety of places for possible competitive threats and standard-setters, not just the most obvious ones.  History is full of examples of small firms that could transform more quickly than their larger competitors or introduce a disruptive innovation that no one saw coming. I expect both those scenarios to play out in customer experience over the next few years. The question is just where and when.

As part of our research in 2012 you can be sure we’re going to look into what these lesser talked about brands are doing to raise the bar in their industries, but in the meantime here are two of my favorite examples of CX innovations that came from places I would have never thought to look:

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Onboarding: Financial Services Out-Of-Box Experience

The drive for revenue and the desire to improve the customer experience are converging within financial services, with one of the results being a renewed interest in new customer onboarding. On the revenue side, the importance of onboarding is clearer. A new customer who leaves after opening a new account is an expensive proposition. For something like deposit accounts, that attrition rate is somewhere between 25% to 30% of new customers, and when you add up the cost to acquire the account, the cost to open the account, and the potential loss of ongoing revenue, the impact can be huge to a financial services firm.

On the customer experience side, a new revelation has surfaced. Onboarding is to financial services what out-of-box is to companies like Apple computer. Apple sweats the details around the experience of getting, opening, and engaging with their devices. Financial service companies do little in that way, but that is changing with a renewed desire to improve the customer experience. That is where onboarding comes in. Onboarding is the out-of-box experience for financial service product. It is the processes and experience new customers have as they activate and utilize a new product.

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Finovate Europe 2012: Innovation In Digital Financial Services

A number of people asked me to repeat my blog post from last year with my impressions from Finovate, so I thought I would.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Finovate, it’s a fast-paced format with seven-minute live demos and pitches from 35 financial technology vendors. It’s produced by Online Financial Innovations, the people behind the excellent NetBanker blog.

I was lucky enough to go along to the show in London today. Unlike last year, when four or five themes dominated the day, this year’s exhibitors were more diverse. Among them were:

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The Brick-And-Mortar Renaissance

Since the 1970’s, retail stores have slowly undergone a digital evolution. POS systems replaced cash registers, credit cards became the payment norm, and security tags reminded shoppers to pay. Despite these changes, the fundamentals of the customer shopping experience remained unchanged: We still pick up products, ponder a decision, and either leave empty-handed or wait in line to pay.

However, in the digitally connected store of 2012, big changes are underway. Fixed checkout aisles and cash registers are being replaced by smartphone-wielding store associates who now take the checkout to the customer. Furthermore, the smartphone generation performs self-assisted checkouts directly from their phones while sleek new in-store touch-screens allow them to experience products without opening the box or removing the coat hanger.

Welcome to the brick-and-mortar renaissance.

In my new report, The Digitization of the In-Store Experience, I take a detailed look at the digital transformation underway at retailers across the US and Europe, including:

  • The technologies being adopted. Retailers such as Lowe’s, Gap, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Sears are rolling out smartphones and tablets to their store associates and investing in next-generation interactive displays and kiosks. Certain solutions are starting to prevail across retailers.
     
  • The empowerment of the sales associate. Armed with smartphones and tablets, empowered sales associates are helping customers on the shop floor as well as busting checkout queues with mobile POS.
     
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Google, Amazon, Apple, And Facebook: What eBusiness Executives Need To Know For 2012

Nearly 50% of web shoppers start their research process on Amazon or Google.  Over 40% of the world’s Internet traffic constitutes daily visits to Facebook and Google. Twenty-one percent and 49% of iPhone and iPad owners respectively purchasing products via these devices. Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook not only absorb consumer time but are quickly becoming gateways for other eBusiness traffic. This makes the Big Four critical in the product research and sales funnel.  In our recently published report, “Google, Amazon, Apple, And Facebook: What eBusiness Executives Need To Know For 2012” we help eBusiness professionals identify what’s on the horizon for these companies and what it means for them. Some key findings of the report include the following:

  • Google has broad ambitions to support (or displace) incumbent eBusinesses. While Google struggles to move beyond its paid search roots, eBusiness professionals will need to keep the company top of mind because it maintains a majority share of online marketing spend but promises to transform every industry from financial services to travel to health care and retail.
  • Amazon is disrupting retail economics. While Amazon has the smallest market cap of the four players, it is completely changing the dynamics of manufacturers and distributors.
  • Apps can be powerful tools to support eBusiness objectives. Companies that see apps as just extensions of web content are missing the many opportunities to enrich experiences with cameras, microphones, speakers, accelerometers, and location-sensing capabilities.
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The Super Bowl On The Second Screen

I think that the Super Bowl ads fell short this year.  Teasers for ads and ads that were "leaked" on YouTube became old news by the time they aired and offered no element of surprise.  The creative was, well, not that creative.  But something exciting did happen.  This year was a testing ground for advertising on the second screen.  During the big game,  brands like Best Buy, Pepsi, Toyota, and Bud Light partnered with Shazam, a popular app that can recognize music and television programing, to deliver customized offers and content to viewers that tagged the spot.  This morning, Shazam reported "millions of tags" during the game.  What will be more interesting to find out is what viewers actually did after they tagged the spot?  Did they enter a sweepstakes?  Watch a music video? Like the brand on Facebook? 

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