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.

Invest In Analytics To Meet Your Mobile Objectives

A year ago, I blogged about the fact that the app economy was blurring the lines and opening up new opportunities, with a lot of new entrants in the mobile space, be it with mobile CRM and analytics, store analytics, dedicated gaming analytics, etc.

Since 2010, more than 40 companies have raised about $500 million in that space! Watch it closely – consolidation will continue, as evidenced recently by Yahoo’s acquisition of Flurry.

While a lot of innovation is happening on the supply-side, too many marketers have not defined the metrics they’ll use to measure the success of their mobile initiatives. Many lack the tools they need to deeply analyze traffic and behaviors to optimize their performance.

Fifty-seven percent of marketers we surveyed do not have defined mobile objectives. For those who do, goals are not necessarily clearly defined, prioritized, and quantified. Only 38% of marketers surveyed use a mobile analytics solution! Most marketers consider mobile as a loyalty channel: a way to improve customer engagement and increase satisfaction. Marketers must define precisely what they expect their customers to do on their mobile websites or mobile apps, and what actions they would like customers to take, before tracking progress. Too many marketers focus on traffic and app downloads rather than usage and time spent. While 30% of marketers surveyed consider increasing brand awareness as a key objective for their mobile initiatives, only 16% have defined it as a key metric to measure their success!

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What To Expect From Berlin's IFA And From Apple's Upcoming Announcements

Will the iPhone 6, to be announced on September 9, have NFC and a Sapphire Crystal display?

What about the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, to be announced at Unpacked on September 3? And will the new Nokia Lumia 730 (a.k.a Superman), to be announced on September 4have a 5-Megapixel rear-facing camera?  

This week's scheduled launch events from Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, Motorola, LG, and Apple will cause lots of comparison about device features – with about 15 new devices to be launched along the IFA show in Berlin.

It simply does not matter.

Forrester made the call that competition shifted from devices to ecosystems about two years ago. New devices are simply vehicles for increasing the value of the entire digital relationship across a rich digital platform.

As my colleague Frank Gillett puts it, “Samsung's challenge is to establish an enduring relationship with customers, rather than being an interchangeable Android device maker – and it will take more than a new Galaxy Note to do that.”

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