The IDEA Cycle -- A Better Way To Think About Mobile Development

What are the four words everyone involved in mobile strategy should fear?

"Let's build an app!"

The reason you should fear these words is that they will lead to pain. Your CEO, or your CMO, or somebody else in your company has noticed that mobile engagement exists. Great. Now they're ready to plunge right in and create something without thinking it through. And if you're involved in mobile development, this means a whole lot of pain in your future.

There is a right way to think about mobile. It's called the IDEA cycle, and it's the central idea in our new book The Mobile Mind Shift

When you're wondering how to engage with your customers on mobile, follow these four steps, which you'll remember with the acronym IDEA:

  1. Identify the mobile moments and context. Think through your customer's day and how they interact with you. What are the moments in which she might turn to mobile? Is she ready to check in for a flight? Wondering what to buy her daughter for Christmas? Realizing that her prescription needs to be refilled? For each of these moments, there is a context -- the customer's location, history, and state of mind. Taken together, these moments represent the set of possible times and places in which mobile can help.
     
  2. Design the mobile engagement. Here's where you evaluate those mobile moments to determine which ones are most beneficial to the customer, and helpful to you as well. It's also where you think about the potential ways to interact, such as sending a push notification, displaying content, enabling sharing, or presenting a possible transaction.
     
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What To Learn From The Japanese Mobile-Centric Market

Japanese consumers are among the most mobile-savvy in the world: They were shopping, banking, and gaming on mobile phones long before consumers in other nations. The Japanese mobile ecosystem used to be unique; telecom operators specified to Japanese handset manufacturers the design of services to implement on multimedia phones. This is changing in an app world.

Indeed, the mobile market is opening up quickly to the smartphone app ecosystem. While Japan is a mobile-centric society, smartphone adoption has lagged behind other major markets. Many international brands launched their first mCommerce initiatives in Japan several years ago, but the market subsequently disappeared from the innovation radar due to the US-centric smartphone app ecosystem. But this is changing. It is time to take another look at Japan to uncover how the nation is combining innovation and scale as its market embraces smartphone apps.

More than a decade ago, I had the opportunity to work with NTT DoCoMo to introduce i-mode — the mobile multimedia service in France. At that time, Japan was clearly two to three years ahead of the rest of the mobile world. The Japanese market — and more specifically, the i-mode business model — is rumored to have inspired Steve Jobs to launch the Apple App Store. After that, Silicon Valley became the new source of innovation and inspiration for mobile marketers. Now that the app ecosystem has come full circle, marketers should again consider mobile marketing in Japan, benefiting from a more open ecosystem to distribute their apps and engage with Japanese customers. I recently spent a full week in Japan, and it is fascinating to see the relationship people have with mobile phones over there.

There are lots of lessons to learn from the likes of Rakuten, Line, Felica, Softbank, or NTT DoCoMo and from a mature ecosystem of mobile contactless and connective-tissue technologies.

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What Does Acxiom's $310M LiveRamp Bid Mean For Marketers

On May 14, Acxiom announced its intention to acquire LiveRamp, a "data onboarding service," to the tune of $310 million in cash. Several Forrester analysts (Fatemeh Khatibloo, Tina Moffett, Sri Sridharan, and I) cover these two firms, and what follows is our collective thinking on the impending acquisition after having been briefed by Acxiom's leadership on the matter.

  • The acquisition sets Acxiom up to displace traditional MSPs. LiveRamp has built integration relationships with four of the biggest managed service providers (MSPs): Epsilon, Equifax, Experian, and Merkle. Acxiom is claiming agnosticism, and it has told us that it is "open to many ways of proving neutrality, including contractual commitments, [and] third-party audits." The firm considers the acquisition "an evolution of Acxiom’s Audience Operating System (AOS), which was launched to connect the ecosystem of marketers, technology, and media more tightly together and make every part of that ecosystem work better." But when we project out a few years, we have a hard time seeing how marketers will justify a standalone customer relationship management (CRM) database when they could, for example, port their POS and order management system (OMS) data directly into AOS and use that as their "customer marketing platform-as-a-service."
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Look Beyond The Obvious When Considering Social Login

Chances are, you have recently registered on a brand’s website or community page and were prompted to use your social network credentials. Perhaps you (reluctantly) used your Facebook login because it’s easy to remember — or it made the registration process a little less painful. 

Personally, I am finding that I am using my Facebook or LinkedIn social credentials more frequently. Just the other day, I used my Facebook login to access the scheduling tool for my favorite barre studio. I use social login out of laziness (its easier) or because my memory is maxed out on user names and passwords. But the more comfortable I get using my social network credentials, the more information I will allow the brand to access — especially if it’s a brand I trust.

And I am not alone. According to this study, over half of the 90% of consumers who encounter social login use it. And for some websites, that percentage is as high as over 80%.

So if consumers are using their social network credentials, why are marketers lagging behind? Many marketers I speak with do not think about social login as a key component of their social marketing strategy. They understand the obvious benefits like faster and easier registration, but they struggle to see social login’s potential as a complement to their social marketing strategy.

And the adoption percentages reflect this. Social login is the least-adopted social depth tactic by digital marketers:

 

 

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Why You Should Read The Mobile Mind Shift

Worldwide, people use mobile devices pretty much continuously. Mobile access on smartphones and tablets creates a dramatic change in behavior as people use, then expect, and then demand service from every entity they deal with. This is the mobile mind shift:

The mobile mind shift is the expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need.
 
Despite this complete transformation in expectations, companies typically have no idea what to do about it. "I guess we should build an app," they tell us. Instead, this transformation demands a complete rethink of the way they do business. Business competition has now focused down to the mobile moment — the point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context. Win in that moment, and you have his or her loyalty. Fail to be there, or screw it up, and an entrepreneur will do a better job and steal your customer. 
 
Getting mobile right will require you to change how you see customers, your relationship with those customers, and (the expensive part) the platforms, people, and processes that power those systems. When mobile engagement fails, it's usually because companies didn't recognize the scope of what they need to get that mobile moment right. They need a mobile mind shift of their own.
 
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Mobile Moments Change Everything — Check Out #MyMobileMoment And Add Your Own

Stop thinking in terms of what you do, or how your technology works now. Start thinking in terms of the mobile moments of your customers.

A mobile moment is a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context.

Thinking in terms of mobile moments is the lesson of our new book, The Mobile Mind Shift. It's a new way of thinking for many companies, but it's essential to getting mobile strategy right. Without it, you end up spending a lot of effort on features your customers won't use. Meanwhile, some entreprenuer like Lose It! or Roambi swoops in and steals your mobile moments.
 
How pervasive are mobile moments? We started a hashtag campaign on #MyMobileMoment to encourage people to share the mobile moments. Go ahead, check out the hundreds of posts so far. Or post your own.

Here are few revealing posts we've seen:

Mobile is there in a moment of crisis.

And in the second-grade spelling homework.

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Messaging Apps Are Thriving In The Age of The Customer

By now, you've surely heard of the second-largest acquisition in tech history, with Facebook acquiring WhatsApp for $19 billion.

However, you may be less familiar with other messaging apps like LINE, KakaoTalk, KIK, Nimbuzz, SnapChat, Vibes, Whisper, and many others.

If you think messaging apps are just a free way to communicate, you’re missing their potential: They are Mobile’s Trojan horse, as explained by my colleague Julie Ask here.

Messaging apps are mushrooming.They illustrate perfectly the age of the customer, which Forrester defines as a new business era where your customers are now empowered through social, mobile, and other technologies giving them the power to disrupt your business. Why? Because they are mastering the four key market imperatives Forrester has identified as critical to differentiate in the age of the customer:

■  Transforming the customer experience over SMS and other messaging tools. Messaging apps offer differentiated and seamless experiences over SMS and other mobile communication tools. For example, they offer advanced group messaging functionalities, multimedia features, constant innovation, and ability to opt-in or follow brands at consumers’ convenience. They are now morphing into marketing platforms redefining social media.

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Introduce The Marketing RaDaR To China

Marketers in China are becoming more aware of the effectiveness of their marketing spending. They will no longer blindly spend a lump sum on China Central Television’s ad auction, for example. Home appliance giant Haier Group recently announced that it will stop spending on traditional magazine ads and maintain paid editorials only.

As Chinese consumers increase the time they spend on new channels such as social and mobile, it's more important than ever for marketers in China to optimize all touchpoints to reach and make an impact on their target audiences, especially when it comes to the new challenge of multichannel and multiscreen orchestration.

My recent report Sharpen Your Mix In China With The Marketing RaDaR illustrates how the RaDaR framework (first introduced by my colleague Nate Elliott) can help marketers successfully prioritize resources across their entire marketing mix in China.

RaDaR refers to “reach and depth and relationship” — three types of channels. Smart marketers are beginning to embrace a four-stage customer life cycle, from discover, to explore, to buy, to engage, then back to discover, and different types of channels support different stages of the life cycle:

  • Reach channels support discovery. Chinese consumers use channels such as in-store promotions and online search to discover brands.
  • Depth channels support exploration and purchase. Chinese consumers use channels such as consumer review sites and friends’ recommendations to research products and services they want to buy.
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Embrace Utility Marketing — Even If You're Not A US Brand

Last month I blogged about the impressive growth of always addressable customers among US online adults. We've just seen the data for Europe, and I can confirm what we all knew instinctively: This is not just a US phenomenon. At least one-third of European online adults are always addressable today — and the pace of this evolution is only accelerating.

These customers are exposed to more brand interactions than ever before simply because they're always connected to some kind of digital media. But this doesn't mean you should just push even more brand-centric messages out to them. Instead, the opportunity is to demonstrate your brand promise — not just talk about it — by creating programs that are visibly and functionally useful from your customers' point of view. That's what we call utility marketing.

Last year, in our research about the mobile mind shift, we discussed the five primary strategies you can employ to achieve this kind of utility:

  1. Become a trusted agent.
  2. Solve a customer problem.
  3. Get out of the customer's way.
  4. Automate mundane tasks.
  5. Fulfill a need they didn't know they had.
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The Irony Of The "Look Up" Video

Does anyone else find it ironic that a video telling you to stop using social and mobile sites got 28 million views on YOUTUBE? Go ahead, watch it on your phone, tweet it, share it on Facebook. Why not immerse yourself in the irony a bit further?

It reminds me of Paddy Chayevsky's movie Network, in which a man generates huge ratings by telling people to turn off their TVs.

The most shocking moment in this video is when the hero leaves his house and walks out without his phone. We've truly made the mobile mind shift, because this is unthinkable.

It's good advice, to leave your devices behind once in a while. I recommend it. But this video exists and is popular because every popular technology creates backlash, and that backlash has a romantic appeal. The chances of this making an impact on attitudes about mobile and social is close to zero, even if it's comforting to some to think it might.

If you think mobile and social technologies are about screens, you've missed the point. They're about generating and enriching interactions in the real world. That's the romantic appeal of "Look Up," and it's a lesson worth learning.

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