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Posted by Thomas Husson on October 18, 2010
How Mature Is Your Mobile Strategy?
To help consumer product strategists and executives answer this question and benchmark their mobile consumer strategy, Forrester fielded a Global Mobile Maturity Online Survey in Q3 2010. We interviewed more than 200 executives in charge of their company’s mobile strategy across the globe (40% in the US, 40% in Europe, and 20% in the rest of the world).
First, only a third of respondents said that they had had a mobile strategy in place for more than a year. Companies in this situation are from many different industries, but online players, media companies, and financial institutions are often more advanced. Forty-five percent of respondents are just waking up to the mobile opportunity and thinking about integrating mobile into their overall corporate strategy — just like they did a decade ago with the emerging online channel.
For the majority of respondents, mobile is mainly seen as a way to increase customer engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty. Mobile is less useful as a way to acquire customers and generate direct revenues — just 2% expect to generate more than $10 million in mobile revenues for 2010. While companies are assigning clear objectives to the emerging mobile platform, 23% of respondents still consider their primary objective with mobile to be to “test and learn.”
Consequently, the commitment to and resources for mobile are still limited. Responsibility for mobile consumer strategy varies greatly by organization. However, a quarter of respondents told us that top management executives were responsible for mobile strategy in their companies. While these senior execs do not necessarily need to own the mobile consumer strategy, they do need to be more involved to ensure that mobile gets the right level of funding. It is thus no surprise that some 46% of our survey respondents reported that one or fewer employees work full time for their company’s mobile efforts globally!
Among companies that have a strategy in place, many are making an effort to establish a collaborative and qualitative vision for mobile in the future. However, mobile remains too siloed: Just 45% of our respondents with a mobile strategy in place stated that they have a shared mobile vision across the organization, while only 44% have created a mobile task force to agree on mobile objectives. This highlights the lack of a holistic mobile vision and the lack of collaboration between various departments — from IT and technology to marketing and strategy. The majority of players still fail to quantify precise objectives, allocate costs, or measure the overall success of their mobile business.
Bear with me one second. I fully agree that mobile is an emerging platform and that, for example, mobile advertising and mCommerce revenues are still limited — and likely to remain insignificant for the majority of firms in the months to come. However, I do believe that mobile is opening up plenty of new opportunities beyond direct revenues. I was surprised to see the lack of integration of mobile into companies’ broader corporate strategies.
Many players who think it is too early to focus on mobile tend to claim that they first need to fix the basics regarding their overall digital and social initiatives. While this would seem to make a lot of sense, one should bear in mind how quickly mobile is evolving. For example, Facebook’s mobile global monthly audiences skyrocketed from 65 million users in September 2009 to 150 million users in July 2010. Sixteen percent of Twitter users now start with mobile, versus 5% in April 2010; during the same time frame, the number of mobile Twitter users has increased by 62%. In short, it will be increasingly difficult to plan a Social Computing strategy without taking a mobile component into account.
The detailed findings of our survey are available to clients in a new report “How Mature Is Your Mobile Strategy?” Forrester will shortly produce a mobile maturity model to help strategists improve the performance and integration of the emerging mobile platform.
I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on what makes a good mobile strategy, which players you think are the most advanced, and why. Feel free to comment on this blog or to join our debate in the Forrester Community For Consumer Product Strategy Professionals.