I spent the last 20 years working at Forrester Research. My work here is my legacy. Now it’s time to move on. I’ll be leaving the company on March 2.
Let me get into two things: what we did together, and what I’ll be doing next.
I joined Forrester in 1995, when the Web was new and there were only 65 people here. Forrester offered me the opportunity to think big about the changes that technology would bring to the world of business.
American government is divided along liberal-conservative lines on just about everything. But the Supreme Court agreed that you can't search somebody's mobile phone without a warrant, and it wasn't a typical split decision -- it was unanimous. (The other big ruling today, on the controversial question of whether Aereo can sell you streaming access to your own TV channels, was 6 to 3 against Aereo).
Why? What is in your mobile phone?
Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out that they are "cameras, video players, Rolodexes, calendars, tape recorders, libraries, diaries, albums, televisions, maps, or newspapers." You might as well add alarm clocks, wallets, stethoscopes, and running coaches. There is literally nothing about you that your phone may not know at some point (your browsing history probably contains a lot of secrets you may want to hide from some people). If I had a choice, I'd rather have an invasive government search my house than my phone. (I wonder how many of them have phones under their robes.)
A lot of the articles on this talk about why it "makes sense" (the typical after-the-fact justification that journalists do). Once you get past the dining puns in the headlines, you learn that the merger makes sense because Priceline sells mostly outside the US and OpenTable mostly within the US -- so they can target each other's customers. Or it makes sense because Priceline can sell restaurant reservations to its travelers.
These justifications are all true, but allow me to propose a different justification. Imagine for a moment that the world is undergoing a mobile mind shift -- and that mobile moments are becoming more valuable. OpenTable has dominated the restaurant reservation moment. You can be anywhere, decide to make a reservation, check reviews, and book a table in a moment. It's a perfectly suited task for an app, and the OpenTable app is perfect for it.
OpenTable has also cleverly embedded itself into restaurants -- many of them use its system to manage reservations, even as their customers use it to make reservations. I don't know if there is a restaurateur app from Open Table, but there ought to be. Why not manage the reservations on your mobile device as well?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan just announced that more than 10% of all consumer deposits are done through mobile devices. That's in Q1 2014, and it's up from 6% in Q1 2013. (What you see in this picture is my local Bank of America branch, which I never visit any more.)
I love this from the Wall Street Journal's MoneyBeat blog:
Banks that don’t offer a full suite of mobile banking services may run the risk of alienating customers. All told, about 60% of smartphone or tablet users who switched banks in the fourth quarter said mobile banking was an important factor in the decision, up from 7% in the second quarter of 2010, according to data from New York-based consulting firm AlixPartners.
A mobile transaction costs 10 cents. An ATM transaction costs $1.25.
Here's what this means for you: Find a mobile moment where you can make your customer's life easier and you'll make money three ways. First, you'll make the customer happier with a better experience. Second, you'll keep him from switching to a competitor. And third, if you engineer it right, your own processes will be simpler and you'll save money, too. That's mobile mind shift thinking.
It's not just banking. Where are the mobile moments like this in your business?