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Posted by Thomas Husson on August 1, 2013
Mobile phones have changed not only the way we live and communicate. They have also changed the way we think. Customers have experienced a mind shift: They expect any desired information or service to be available, on any appropriate device, in context, at their moment of need. Technologies packed in mobile devices enable people not only to instantly consume but also to create content and maintain greater control in their everyday lives.
Customers' behaviors are becoming as sophisticated as their devices. Mobile has become the new digital hub. According to our Technographics data, 47% of European online adults who own a mobile phone use mobile apps at least weekly. Forty-five percent browse the Internet at least weekly, and 38% search for information on mobile search engines, too. In the US, 50% of online adults who use a mobile phone use their devices to check sports, weather, or news at least weekly. Forty-five percent access social networks on their phones at least weekly, and 22% research physical products for purchase! This implies that you must have a mobile component for your digital strategy. But it goes beyond this, as mobile is bridging the offline and online worlds.
Yes, mobile is a hot topic. Reading the press or listening to conferences, you may be under the impression that marketers have embraced the mobile mind shift and are really integrating mobile into the marketing mix. A significant majority of marketers told us that their senior leadership team understands the importance of mobile.
Really? We find this hard to believe.
There is still a mismatch between customers’ and marketers’ mobile usage. Marketers are using a wide range of mobile tactics and technologies. However, there is a disconnect between technologies rolled out and regular usage among customers. Marketers tend to focus too heavily on building native mobile apps, spending money where they don’t need to — porting apps to unproven platforms with limited reach and usage instead of connecting their apps to their CRM systems; relying too significantly on trendy mobile technologies (e.g., QR codes or augmented reality); embracing the latest concepts, such as responsive web design, as one-offs instead of thinking about the need to contextualize offerings for different devices; or failing to make the most of more mainstream mobile technologies (e.g., SMS or mobile Web).
Since the first release of Forrester’s mobile POST report four years ago, we've been saying that marketers should focus on understanding the mobile behaviors of their core target audience and stop focusing first on mobile technologies per se. Unfortunately, the reality is that the passion for mobile technology acronyms (NFC, AR, LTE, RWD, QR, etc.) still prevails.
For now, marketers are talking more than they are acting or planning their mobile approach. Here a few stats from our Q1 2013 Global Mobile Maturity Executive Online Survey:
- While many are trialing mobile technologies, 42% of marketers we surveyed told us they have had a mobile strategy for less than a year or were in the early stages of building one.
- Forty-three percent don’t know their customers’ mobile behaviors.
- Only 37% told us they have the budget they need for their mobile initiatives.
- Only 45% have defined a mobile road map for the next six months.
Consequently, it is no surprise that organizing for mobile is a growing challenge for marketers. Global brands often have to deal with dozens of mobile initiatives that stretch across the organization, well beyond marketing. Marketers and their companies will benefit from a coordinated approach to these mobile initiatives, though most companies haven’t yet embraced a structure that facilitates smart prioritization and best-practice sharing.
Marketing leaders must not get bogged down in debates about ownership over mobile. Instead, they must first work with their business and IT counterparts to decide how best to allocate strategic mobile resources and implement enterprise-wide mobile governance. Then they must acquire and develop mobile expertise to execute mobile campaigns.
It is thus urgent to move away from the quixotic quest for the latest shiny objects and from dabbling with new technology. Marketers should focus on delivering useful experiences that meet the growing expectations of customers on their most intimate devices.
Marketing leaders who start focusing on how mobile is fundamentally changing their core audience’s behaviors and attitudes, and who define a business case by implementing new tools to measure mobile success, will be able to leapfrog the competition. In just two to three years’ time, failing to close the gap between your consumer’s usage of mobile and your own will not just damage your brand; it will:
Clients who want to know more about this can read our two brand new reports: