Mobile-First Will Not Be Enough

The global mobile revolution is still in its early stages! Forrester forecasts that there will be nearly 3.5 billion individual smartphone users among more than 5 billion individual mobile subscribers by 2019. Mobile will clearly be the new battleground where you must win, serve, and retain your customers globally. Mobile is no longer simply a digital channel; it is an opportunity to transform customer experiences and to invent new businesses. It will be the hub of new connected experiences in mature economies but the ultimate “converged” medium in emerging ones.

To move away from simply shrinking and squeezing their desktop PC websites and ads onto mobile, many B2C marketers have embraced the notion of “mobile-first”. They are starting to design websites and marketing campaigns with mobile in mind instead of simply retrofitting their approach to mobile. More often than not, mobile-first still implies that you consider mobile as channel. While you must design with mobile in mind and adapt your content to smaller screens, this approach won’t be enough to fully address the upcoming global mobile revolution.

Marketers must now leverage mobile to transform their customer experience and to act as a catalyst for business disruption.

■  B2C Marketers must transform the overall experience to win in customers’ mobile moments . . .Marketers must stop thinking about mobile as a goal or a strategy and start thinking about how it can help them achieve their overall marketing and business objectives. Only 14% of the companies we surveyed have started down this path, and only 4% of them have allocated the resources, budget, and organization needed to undergo their own mobile mind shift. Those that are investing in the mobile mind shift are pulling ahead.

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Key Takeaways From Mobile World Congress 2015

This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona brought together 90,000 attendees, including 4,500 CEOs and a growing number of CMOs and marketing leaders. Let’s face it: MWC, unlike SXSW, Cannes Lions, ad:tech, or dmexco, is not a leading marketing and advertising event. However, because mobile is a catalyst for business transformation, MWC is progressively morphing from a business-to-business (B2B) telecom trade show to an event that affects all industries, from automotive to payments. 

I think MWC 2015 was still too technology focused. Too many announcements and headlines at MWC 2015 focused on the launch of new hardware devices, from the new Galaxy S6 to virtual reality headsets; centered on telecom technologies, such as 5G; or focused on the technology OS wars, which will be irrelevant for marketers this year. However, marketers could get a glimpse of what it means to deliver contextual experiences. By cutting through the hype and taking a look at innovative, specialized mobile marketing and ad tech companies at MWC, marketers can get a better sense of how they can act on data to deliver more-contextualized and more-personalized experiences across new connected devices and objects.

My colleague Dan Bieler put together his observations of what MWC means for CIOs in his blog post. Together, we will host a free Webinar tomorrow (Thursday, March 12) at 4pm CET / 3pm GMT / 10am ET, you can still register here.

For clients willing to know more about this, you can access my new report.

What Can We Expect At Mobile World Congress 2015?

I remember the first time I attended 3GSM in Cannes: It was primarily a B2B telecoms trade show and centered on DVB-H, WiMAX, and other technology-centric acronyms. Fast-forward 11 years, and Mobile World Congress (MWC) will be the center of the business world for a couple of days (March 2 to 5). Some things don’t change: We will continue to hear too much about technology. Simply ignore the hype, especially around 5G; it will have no impact at all on your marketing strategy for the next five years!

However, the list of keynote speakers is a good indication of what MWC has become: a priority event for leaders willing to transform their businesses. The CEOs of Facebook, Renault-Nissan, SAP, MasterCard, and BBVA will be speaking, and more than 4,500 CEOs will be among the 85,000 attendees (only 25% of which are from operators). It is fascinating to see how mobile has changed the world in the past 10 years — not just in the way that we live and communicate but also in terms of disrupting every business. I strongly believe that mobile will have a bigger impact than the PC or Web revolutions. Why?

First, mobile is the fastest and most ubiquitous technology ever to spread globally. People in Asia and Africa are skipping the PC Internet and going direct to mobile phones; they’re the ultimate convergent device and often the only way to reach people in rural areas. As Andreessen Horowitz's Benedict Evans put it, mobile is “eating the world”. It has already cannibalized several markets, such as cameras, video recorders, and GPS, and is now disrupting entire industries, changing the game for payments, health, and education, especially in emerging countries. Second, mobile is the bridge to the physical world. It is not just another “subdigital” channel. This alone has a huge impact on business models. Last, mobile is a catalyst for business transformation.

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The Future Of Mobile Wallets Lies Beyond Payments

Apple Pay makes up more than $2 out of $3 spent on purchases using contactless payment across the three major US card networks. I agree with my colleague Sucharita Mulpuru that this is likely a big chunk of a small pie, considering the lower maturity of the mobile contactless ecosystem in the US. It's always better to look for absolute value. In this regard, PayPal processed $46 billion in mobile payment volume in 2014, up 68% over 2013.

Should marketers care about mobile wallets? Yes. Mobile wallets are not just about mobile payments. Consumers want a better shopping experience. Offering faster or more-secure payments is not enough; wallet providers will have to solve real pain points, such as giving consumers the ability to see what’s on stored value cards at any moment in time, access loyalty points, or automatically receive digital copies of payment receipts. In particular, 57% of US online adult smartphone users are interested in having access to loyalty program points and rewards within a mobile wallet. Access to loyalty rewards from brands is the most wanted feature from consumers, and it's the one least integrated in mobile wallets today.

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Five Myths About Mobile Apps

Time spent on mobile is skyrocketing. Since about 80% of that time is spent on apps, many marketing leaders have quickly jumped to the conclusion that the only way to reach and engage their customers is through their own branded apps. Wrong! Here are five — often ignored — good reasons for marketing leaders to broaden their mobile approach beyond their own apps:

1.   Branded apps are relevant. Yes, some of them (Starbucks, Nike, and many others) are success stories. But more often than not, branded apps don’t deliver real mobile benefits and engage only a small subset of customers. It's about time marketers connect their apps to their marketing and CRM systems to personalize and contextualize the brand experience. Marketers should launch fewer but smarter apps.

2.   Apps offer real engagement opportunities. Yes, but only for a minority of apps, according to Forrester’s App Engagement Index. Several of the most engaging apps — Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, and WhatsApp — either don’t have or only recently introduced mobile advertising offerings. Marketers must identify the overlap between the most engaging apps and the most popular apps among their brand’s customer base. Then they have to mix content and context to tell a story that is relevant to customers in their mobile moments. It will not be about ads but about sparking a conversation instead of broadcasting a marketing message. Marketers should select the most promising partners evolving their apps as marketing platforms.

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Another Year In Review: Revisiting 2014's Mobile Trends

Every year for the past few years, I've revisited our predictions for the previous year's mobile trends. It's now time to look back at what happened in 2014. Let’s have a look at some of the trends we put together a year ago with my colleague Julie Ask:

  • Mobile sat at the epicenter of mind-blowing exit events. Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for $22 billion is the best illustration of the phenomenon. Acquiring mobile expertise and audiences is increasingly expensive. There have been numerous acquisitions – especially in the mobile analytics and advertising space (e.g Yahoo/Flurry, Millenial/Nexage, etc…). VCs increasingly invested in companies that power disruptive mobile-centric business models. Uber was valuated up to $40 billion, demonstrating the power of matching supply and demand in real-time via a best-in-class customer mobile app.
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Mobile (And Mobile Natives!) Will Be A Catalyst For Organizational And Cultural Changes

Marketing teams are expanding their use of mobile across functional, geographic, and brand boundaries, and the mobile vendor ecosystem is still fragmented and increasingly convoluted. The result? Marketing leaders are unsure about how to organize and support their growing mobile initiatives — they’re not even certain what responsibilities and talents they should allocate to mobile.

While CMOs are the primary leaders of mobile strategy among C-Suite executives, there’s rarely one clear mobile leader simply because mobile is not solely the domain of marketers. A third of marketers we interviewed still lack CMO support. While executives consider mobile as strategic, only 35% of marketers we surveyed consider they have the budget they need to support their initiatives. More often than not, we have found that marketing leaders lack mobile skills and ways to coordinate mobile across the company.

To help marketing leaders figure out the impact of mobile on their organizations, we have just updated our “Organize For Mobile Marketing Success” report.

Looking down the road, the widespread adoption of mobile technologies will deliver unprecedented levels of change for marketing leaders and their teams as:

  • Agile approaches to marketing will become standard. To embrace the velocity and agility required to reap the benefits of the mobile world, marketing leaders will need to transform their teams’ organization and processes. Mobile’s data granularity and velocity will drive the need to constantly iterate marketing campaigns and tactics.
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Mobile Leaders Will Break Away From Laggards In 2015

Mobile reached a tipping point in 2014 as it solidified its position as one of the most disruptive technologies for businesses in decades. Not since the advent of the Internet has a technology forced businesses to rethink completely how they win, serve, and retain customers.
 
Forrester believes that, in the future, the new competitive battleground will be the mobile moment. Why? Consumers expect to engage with brands to get any information or service they desire immediately and in context. Today, 18% of US online consumers have this expectation, while 30% are in the midst of a transition to this mobile mind shift. This revolution is taking place quickly across the globe: Forrester forecasts that 42% of the total population globally will own a smartphone by the end of 2015.
 
Forrester believes that, in 2015, the gap will increase between marketing leaders and eBusiness professionals who will re-engineer their business to deliver valuable mobile moments and the majority of executives who will continue to take a myopic approach by considering mobile just as another digital channel.
 
Together, with my colleague Julie Ask, we expect new mobile trends to shape the market in 2015. In particular, we predict that:
 
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Mobile’s Untapped Value Is In Contextual Data

As the hub of our offline and online experiences, mobile interactions are a powerful catalyst for contextual marketing. The untapped opportunity in mobile for marketers will be to get an extremely granular understanding of their customers, then anticipate their expectations, and develop unique insights to power better marketing across all channels, not just mobile.

Few Marketers Make The Most Of The New Customer Data Gold Mine

Because smartphones are the hub of our offline and online experiences, they generate valuable insights for contextual data-driven marketing. However, the majority of marketers are not yet ready to exploit the convergence between mobile and big data.

Short Term: Engage Your Customers In Real Time In Their Mobile Moments

Harnessing and extracting actionable insights from this unprecedented wealth of customer data will enable marketers to serve customers in their mobile moments on a channel where they will increasingly spend the majority of their digital time.

Long Term: Power Better Marketing Initiatives Beyond The Mobile Channel

Mobile is more than simply another digital channel. Marketing leaders should combine mobile data with other sources of customer intelligence to get a deeper understanding of customers, anticipate their expectations, and act on these insights to improve all marketing initiatives.

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The State Of Mobile Technology For Marketers

Marketers are in love with the latest mobile “shiny object” – and with technology acronyms – NFC, AR, LTE, BLE, RWD, QR. What’s more, hype questions abound: Will beacons replace NFC? Do you believe in HTML5 or should we develop a native app? Should we build an app for Apple Watch? But most of the time, these questions are irrelevant.

The reality is, marketers are increasingly using a variety of mobile tactics and technologies – but this use is rarely sophisticated and more often than not, does not match customer behaviors.

Sophistication of consumers’ use of smartphones is climbing — without consumers even noticing it. Mobile is simply part of our daily lives and, therefore, fundamentally changes customer expectations. With mobile traffic exploding, marketers are not only underserving their best customers by delivering a poor mobile experience, but risk losing their business altogether.

It’s time for marketers to start asking questions like how their core audience is using mobile, the value that mobile is adding throughout the customer lifecycle, the experience they want to transform, and the marketing objectives they have, to name a few. And only then, begin to align the right technologies.

If you want to know more about the gap between consumers’ and marketers’ use of mobile technologies, you can download our updated State Of Mobile Technology For Marketers report.