Business Performance Customer Experience Mobile Product Development Social Media

3 principles of realtime interaction in an Always-On culture

It’s remarkable how quickly the Always On culture has established. It’s insinuated itself within our lives to the point people often remark they cannot remember what they did or how they coped before it. Social and Mobile are, of course, at the heart of its meteoric rise. The adoption of both as ‘must-haves’ in our lives has changed the way we, as individuals, behave.

As a consequence it has also changed our expectations. Urgency and immediacy are the expected norm. Like much in modern life we want things now. The big difference is that the new channels have given the consumer a voice. The relationship between brands and people has changed. The message – controlled by the brand – has now become a conversation, with the individual exerting more influence than perhaps is comfortable for brands. Brands need the individual. They must work together in collaboration. And that’s not the future, that’s now.

Shifting the approach

So, if the behaviour of the comsumer has changed, has your brand adapted and followed suit? Sadly, brands are often hippos to the consumers’ gazelle when it comes to changing behaviour. Look at mobile: consumer use has reached a hygiene level and many brands are still discussing the need for a mobile-friendly site.

What’s needed is a shift in thinking from top to bottom through your organisation. We can’t keep doing things the old way.

Here are three principles to consider…

1. Understand the moments that matter for your audience

Success in business stems from having a clear idea of who is your intended audience and what need your product or service fulfils. That concept extends throughout your company whether it’s Sales, Marketing, product development or customer service.

Regardless of your department, you need to answer the questions: Who, what, where and when? Who is your customer? What do they need/want? Where will you find them and when do they need you?

To be particularly effective in this ‘Always-On’ culture, you have to understand the moments that matter for your audience – when is it they need your product or service (or those of your competition)? If you can deliver at that time, you’ll develop / strengthen the relationship between the customer and your brand. Likewise, fail at that moment and the customer will be gone.

Let’s consider Product. In this case, for an insurance company. As the brand I may think that I should simply replicate my desktop site onto a mobile site, complete with its homepage sales messages. However, as a consumer visiting via my phone, am I there to buy a new insurance policy? Maybe, but unlikely – it doesn’t strike me that that is something I’d want to research on a small phone screen.

So as a brand setting it’s mobile strategy, I need to think about what my customers are likely to want in the moments that matter and prioritise the appearance and functionality accordingly.

If I’m already a customer, the moment that matters to me would be an emergency situation, such as a burst pipe, where I want to be able to use my phone to quickly find your telephone number, be able to access my policy details and maybe even a simple way to file a claim or record the damage. I don’t want to find a site unoptimised for mobile that requires me to hunt for a support number and with no help information easily available.

2. Anticipate & Prepare: Realtime is too slow

Real time is too slow. Your response is a reaction to something happening and this can take time. The gap between the event and your response can often determine the success of your activity. This applies to responding to a comment in social media, content marketing, your promotional mix or product functionality. So it becomes more about anticipating what your audience wants  – and when – and then being ready to answer the call when the moment that matters arrives.

For instance, if content marketing is part of your strategy you’ll want to be aware of and prepared for the conversations you know will be happening – Oreo’s set up for the Superbowl is a great example of the big pay-off of anticipation and preparation. You’ll need to determine which of those conversations are relevent for your brand to participate in. However, more importantly, you need to be prepared for the conversations you don’t know are going to happen. They will be the true test of your planning, structure and resources. Can you react in time?

An example:

Within minutes of the Pope resigning earlier this year, (my employer) began to see tweets linking the brand to the news (i.e. jokingly wondering if the job would be advertised on Jobsite).

Firstly, it was great to see our brand-building work paying off by being mentioned, but also it presented us with three opportunities:

1) to engage with our existing social community

2) to produce sharable content that’ll reach a wider audience

3) an opportunity to generate valuable social signals for the search engines to help our rankings

With the help of our agency iProspect, our team produced a spoof job ad advertising for the role, but using modern business language (i.e. ability to build a global strategy, whilst recognising local differences, strong negotiation skills, office with a view, use of a company car, etc.).

From the news breaking to posting the ad on our blog was about 3 hours. It would’ve been quicker if I hadn’t had to deliberate over whether it was right for the brand to have a little fun with a religious subject. Which illustrates a key point about being prepared – yes, you need ideas people, creatives to produce assets, a clear and responsive sign-off process, but you also need to have a clear idea of what you’re comfortable doing with your brand. How do you want to behave and how you want to be perceived?

To answer my Pope question I referred back to one of my own principles: I won’t take advantage of or mock someone else’s misfortune, particularly when someone has lost a job. However, in this case, the outgoing Pope resigned by choice and we weren’t ripping religion, so I was comfortable to sign off the creative.

The response to that post was fantastic. We had more shares of that post in the first few days then we had for all blog posts over the previous 12 months. To top it off, 77% of the traffic to the blog post came from new visitors to the site, so we’d succeeded in reaching in the new audience.

Awesome Reactive Content from @jobsiteuk – Seeking New Pope For Immediate State #contentmarketing

— Chelsea Blacker (@ChelseaBlacker) February 11, 2013

The principle of anticipate and prepare also extends to your advertising mix. Are you prepared for what happens after your audience see your advertising?

Take TV advertising for example. Your ad appears on screen – what happens next?

Whilst TV is often used as a tool to raise brand awareness, it can prompt realtime action.Depending on what you’re selling this can be difficult in the space of an ad break.

So you have to anticipate and prepare.

1) Can your audience find you? Make sure your web address is in your advert for starters. Bear in mind though, people don’t always type in the URL directly. Sometimes they will do a brand, product of keyword search. With competitor bidding allowed on Pay-per-click you can’t just rely on being no.1 in the organic listings for your brand name. You also need to be in the first paid slot. So make sure you’re using day parting on brand term campaigns, giving you 100% visibility for a period after your ad airs.

2) Once the visitor lands on your website, do you make it easy for them to achieve their goal or have a process in place to capture their details for future activity?

3) Is your site mobile friendly? Increasingly consumers will be visiting via mobile devices – what will they see? Is it usable?

4) Anticipate they won’t have time to purchase / sign up to your site before their programme re-starts, so deploy behavioural retargeting to reach those that did not convert first time around.

3. Bring value to a customer at a receptive moment

Value = answering a question, providing a service, providing escapism (i.e. a game or humour)

Receptive moment = at the right time rather than realtime

The absence of value for the customer makes your interaction spam, noise or frustrating, and doing it at the wrong time can be instrusive.

Providing customer service via social media is considered a best practice no-brainer, even if its still not actively happening in many companies. However, according to a consumer privacy study by Netbase and JD Power there is perhaps a disconnect between what businesses think should happen and what the consumer wants. The conclusion of the study was:

Consumers find social listening intrusive…except when they don’t.

It’s obvious when you drill down that us consumers are fickle creatures, who clearly want things our own way – in part, a result of the empowering nature of social.

The study showed:

  • 51% of consumers want to talk about brands without the company listening in
  • 48% want companies to just listen in to improve products
  • 64% want brands to respond to social comments only when spoken to

So you’re kind of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. That’s why it’s important to understand what your audience needs and provide value at the right time.

Another Jobsite example. We monitor and engage via a product called Radian6. One Easter I’m standing in line at Starbucks playing with my phone as I wait. I open Radian6 and see a jobseeker venting on Twitter about our service. There are several tweets getting progressively worse about the jobs we’re sending her aren’t in the right location and she’s ticked off.

On a normal day our customer service team would respond and fix the problem. But its Easter and I don’t want to leave it, so I respond back to her, calm her down and promise we’ll fix it when the office opens on Tuesday. She was appreciative and said something that stayed with me “thank you, I just wanted someone to listen“.

As it turns out, she hadn’t actually told us where she wanted to work, so it was easy fix to remedy the situation. This became a win for us because we’d anticipated the need to monitor, we engaged at the moment that mattered and we provided value by listening and delivering on a promise.

Away from social listening, another good example would be National Rail Enquiries.

They know that travel can be frustrating – customers are sensitive to delays, cancellations etc.  – so they’ve developed a number of realtime services that are there at the right time to make the experience better. This includes a mobile app, a text service, a phone line and social media updates.

Personally, I use the mobile app to plan journeys – even when sat in front of my PC – it’s just quick and simple. I use it on trains and on stations – it can be quicker and more informative than the departure boards.

National Rail Tunnel Damage

Interestingly, they even share photos of damage to tracks and tunnels with customers via Facebook. Brands usually prefer to hid defects in their service, but in this instance I believe it’s done to make the delay more tangible for customers. If you can see why a train is late, you may be more understanding of the situation. Whilst National Rail Enquiries can’t make the trains run on time they can at least keep their audience informed in the moments that matter to them.

Your happy customer

Times are a-changing. You can’t just rely on your advertising budget to win new customers. The one way broadcast is on the decline. You’re now part of a conversation. Are you ready for it?

Remember, know who your customers are and what is important to them. Know how you can help. Be ready for that time. Look for the moment they need you and then deliver.


MOBILE: How the smartphone is changing recruitment

It was raining so I decided to take my son to watch a movie.

So we did a search online for our local cinemas, viewed the listings, checked the reviews and BBFC rating (for child friendly suitability), booked the tickets and checked Google Maps for the best place to park to avoid getting too wet.

Hang on, did I mention I hadn’t yet sat up in bed?

Nary a desktop or laptop in site, I did it all on my phone (I also later used my phone to check-in on Foursquare just to maximise the pain and embarrassment of watching Mr Popper’s Penguins).

My point: the smartphone has seriously changed my behaviour (and yes both my online and offline behaviour – I do many things differently in the ‘real’ world now due to my mobile access).

You’re obsessed with your phone, so what?

That’s great, so we’re all doing a lot more on our phones, but their use is still small fry compared to PCs, right?

Not so fast. The tide is turning, rapidly.

Ponder these 3 stats:

  • Over 2bn mobile phones have been sold globally to date. It took 14 years to sell the first 1bn and just 12 months  to sell the 2nd billion (Google Think Mobile, 2010)
  • Smartphone manufacturers shipped 100.9 million devices in Q4 2010, while PC manufacturers shipped 92.1m units worldwide. It’s the first quarter in which smartphones outsold PCs
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, PC manufacturers are struggling. Hewlett Packard, the worldwide market leader is apparently considering offloading its PC business. The only other leader thriving is Apple, due to their shift into the smartphone and tablet market. iPad pulled in $9bn in the first half of 2011 – 30% more than all of Dell’s consumer PC business.

So how much have they become part of our lives? When asked what they would prefer to give up for a week, 70% of smartphone owners admitted that they would rather give up alcohol rather than their phone. 1/3 said they were prepared to give up sex instead of their smartphone.

So what’s that got to do with recruitment?

Okay, we’ve established that mobile is big business and its changing people’s behaviour. So what happens when jobseekers start using it to job hunt?

Well, they actually already are.

In the 2.5 years we’ve been tracking mobile data at Jobsite we’ve seen traffic from mobile devices increase by over 1500% (think of a really dramatic looking hockey stick).

In Jan. 2009, mobile contributed less than 1% of total site traffic. Today it accounts for 10%, having doubled in just the past 12 months. That’s some serious traffic.

Those are impressive top line stats, but it gets really interesting when you dive deeper into the data to reveal behaviour changes.

A typical day for a UK job board sees a quiet start to the day before a surge in traffic throughout the morning with a peak between 11am and lunchtime (so I guess it takes people roughly two hours to realise just how much they hate their jobs). The afternoon is busy but drops off as the day goes on before an early evening plateau precedes low levels of night time traffic.

If you overlay that activity with the mobile traffic you see a very different pattern to the day. The typical commuting times of the day are very busy, particularly the morning commute to work – by far the most popular time of the day to job hunt via mobile. This supports the stat from Google that 65% of people use mobile to kill time on a commute. Except these people aren’t playing Angry Birds, they’re searching, shortlisting – and yes – applying for jobs on their phone.

Interestingly, the two other noticeable activity periods are:

  1. Throughout the working day – so those of you with restrictive web access policies…good luck with that
  2. Late evening – the early evening activity has extended into the later slot traditionally reserved for TV and bed

Begs the question, is Mobile enabling existing customers to extend their activity over a longer time period via multiple platforms or is Mobile attracting a whole new audience? (or most likely, a bit of both)

This isn’t just traffic either. These people are applying for jobs. 9% of all visits result in an application. Mobile applications now account for 5% of all Jobsite applications (and that’s a lot).

Why do jobseekers like mobile?

A mobile roundtable we conducted with representatives from companies such as Google, Microsoft and the IAB in May 2010, revealed 4 key reasons why jobseekers love mobile.

  1. Accessibility – you’re no longer chained to a desk to job hunt
  2. Convenience – you can use your phone whenever, wherever you are (subject to a signal!)
  3. Privacy – no-one snooping over your shoulder at your PC monitor
  4. Freedom – you can avoid corporate firewalls and access restrictions

Four very compelling reasons – all backed up by the Jobsite mobile traffic statistics – and key drivers for mobile job hunting growth.

Are recruiters using mobile?

Some, but not enough of them. Forward thinking businesses, and especially tech companies, are already there – using both mobile sites and apps. In the job board market in the UK, there are quite a number of iPhone apps in the app store and some have mobile friendly sites too, but it’s a slow migration.

Having spoken with people in the business of building mobile recruiting solutions, I get the impression that for many companies, it’s less of a case of ‘must have’ and more of a ‘hmmm, I think it might be too early for us’.

But is it really?

What does the data say?

Check your analytics reports for traffic from mobile devices. You might just be surprised. Is it more than you thought it would be? Check the bounce rate too. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, then chances are it will be high and your visitors quickly leave frustrated.

What do your customers say?

Have you spoken to your customers about mobile? You may find they are using it on a regular basis for other activities and would receive an enhanced experience from your company if they could incorporate your service into their mobile lives.

How you answer those two questions could determine a whole new direction for your business.

One final thought for you. If jobseekers are already showing an appreciation for mobile jobhunting in 2011, how will the recruitment landscape look when mobile usage overtakes desktop in 2014, as predicted by Google? And what role is your business going to take in that new world?

Are you ready for it?


Make your site mobile-friendly in 2 minutes

Do you know how you could make your blog or website more appealing and usable to your visitors today?

It’s quite simple – make it mobile-friendly.

Econsultancy – unoptimised for Mobile

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been finding it increasingly irksome to navigate or even just read web pages on my mobile phone. The text is tiny, the buttons and links are too small and the page takes an age to load.

Sure, they weren’t designed to read on the phone, so I should cut them some slack, right?

Well, maybe last year, but frankly it’s about time everyone got on board this train, as it ain’t stopping.

Let’s take a quick look at a couple of numbers. There are now 7.1 million people in the UK accessing the internet via their mobile devices, with 46% of users accessing mobile media daily.

That’s a lot of people. So right now, if your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re missing a great opportunity, and hindering your visitor experience. Oh and those numbers are only set to get bigger.

So what’s the problem?

Mashable – optimised for Mobile

Most of my blog reading is done on my phone. I read posts when I’ve a spare moment – usually via Twitter. There are essentially two problems I frequently face:

1)      Slow pages – If a page is slow to load on my phone (quite possible depending on 3G or WiFi) then I might skip it and move on to the next article.

2)      Readability – If the normal desktop webpage opens up, it’s going to need some work on my part to read it. I’ll probably give it a chance and zoom in to read, but it’ll need to be a good article to keep me squinting until the end.

The problems aren’t just affecting your existing readers either. You’ve got Twitter and Facebook Like buttons on your blog and web pages, right? Smart move, that’ll help your readers share your content their networks. However, consider this – both Facebook and Twitter users are prolific mobile consumers (Facebook have 150 million active mobile users). So when they share your link and their equally mobile-enthused friends access your site via their mobile Twitter clients or Facebook apps, what kind of mobile experience are they going to get?

Given the meteoric rise of mobile use, it should be a no-brainer to fix this today.

You’re not alone

Its not just small blogs or website that are overlooking this aspect of mobile; some of the big names are too. To illustrate this point, I took a small sample of sites from my Twitter feed. There are some notable names in the No Mobile list, ironically, several of which, frequently dedicate significant screen space enthusing about the fast adoption of mobile.

Interestingly, these brands may have a separate mobile site. However, if they have, it didn’t detect my device, so you have to bear that in mind when you investigate a solution for your site.

Mobile Friendly? NO Mobile Friendly? YES
Clickz Mashable
Econsultancy Slideshare
Hubspot TechCrunch

So how do you make your site mobile friendly?

I’ m no expert on the technical build side of things  (check this great post from Inspiration Feed for a list of companies that are), so lets just focus on two simple solutions:

WPtouch for WordPress

If you run a blog on WordPress you’re going to laugh at how simple this fix is going to be. Simply install the WPtouch plugin. It will detect when a visitor accesses from a mobile device and will serve up an iPhone-style interface. Its very quick to load and simple to use. With WPtouch this is no excuse for a WordPress blog not to be mobile friendly in less than 2 minutes.

(I use WPtouch on all my blogs, works a dream)


If you want to build a mobile site you can hand code it all yourself or you can use a product such as MoFuse to do the work for you. A smart suite of tools, MoFuse lets you easily adapt your desktop site for mobile use. It includes a WYSIWYG editor (no need to learn HTML), Google Checkout, Form Builder, Image transcoding (to resize images for mobile), Google Maps, Store Locator and Mobile Analytics. Importantly, it also enables you to sync your content from your desktop site via RSS feeds.

I’d recommend you implement a mobile friendly site as soon as possible, as the number of mobile internet users is only set to rise. Check your analytics before and post-launch to monitor the impact of the change. With a better user experience you should see an increase in visits and / or time on site as visitors read further through your posts.

Happy mobile reading!

Innovation Mobile

Mobile statistics: Building a case for your mobile site & app

  • ebay sell 1 item every 2 seconds via mobile
  • In 2014 there will be 300m mobile coupon users
  • 7.1 million Brits now access the internet through their mobile

(If you’re just here for the mobile stats, scroll down, I won’t be offended)

In my recent ‘60 second mobile review’ post, I explained a very simple health check for your business to determine whether you should be building a Mobile offering. Even though you may feel your company or industry is not ready, your Analytics may prove otherwise. A quick check will illustrate just how popular your website already is with mobile users.

If you’ve tried accessing your website on a mobile phone, you may have already realised that those visitors might not exactly be getting a premium customer experience. You may already be deliberating which is better for your business – a mobile site or smart phone apps.

However, to get your mobile site or app built you’re going to need to present a business case. You can pull together your supporting evidence – including existing mobile statistics – from both internal and external sources.

Three of which include:

  • Existing site analytics data – use this to illustrate how your audience already wants to access your service via a mobile device. It could also highlight the need for a mobile-specific interface, if the mobile stats don’t paint a pretty customer experience
  • External data / case studies – sometimes the biggest impetus to getting something signed off comes from showing the successes of others. The whole ‘its working really well for them, so it should be okay for us to do it too’ thing. It’s about confidence – if you can show how its worked for others it makes it easier to feel comfortable with any associated risk
  • Survey customers / prospects – sometimes the easiest way to get an answer is just to ask the question. Just be careful how you ask the question though. Asking ‘Do you think we should have a mobile site and iPhone app?’ will probably get you plenty of ‘Sure’ answers but won’t be very enlightening. You’ll be better off trying to understand their behaviours and needs via your questions and their answers.

The important thing to remember with the business case is to be clear why you need a mobile site or app. Just having one isn’t enough. Why should your company foot the development bill? What is the return on investment?

If it’s going to be a mCommerce site and generate revenue (selling products / services / access) then justify it with a financial forecast to offset the development costs.

However, it doesn’t need to be revenue generating to justify development. Adding value to the customer experience could be your reason – my favourite example is the Sky+ App that enables you to record your favourite TV programmers remotely. Sky doesn’t make direct revenue by charging for the App but it does contribute to the loyalty and retention of their customer base.

The final reason is innovation, or experimentation. This may seem a little fluffy, but for many it is justification enough to have observed the behaviours and trends and to want to experiment with a new product or service to see how customers respond. You may hit on something and grab market share with first mover advantage. Just be wary of the development costs with this approach, in case you have a few misses.

Mobile Statistics that may help your business case (or just interest you)

The majority of the following mobile stats came from Google’s recent Think Mobile seminar at the Royal Opera House in London. Others have come from a variety of sources. I have credited the original source where known, otherwise apologies, let me know and I’ll update.

  • 2 million iPads were sold in the first 59 days after release (that is one iPad sold every 3rd second (Apple, 2010)
  • Mobile advertising is expected to grow to £355m in Britain by 2014 (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2010)
  • 24% of mobile users have a smart phone
  • Today’s mobile phone would have cost £1 billion to build in the 1970s and would have been the size of a house
  • In 2014 there will be 300m mobile coupon users
  • 50% of mobile users start their activity with a search
  • 90% of all apps are deleted in 30 days (so make it a good one with real value!)
  • 25% of Android searches are made using Voice search technology (Google, 2010)
  • 48% of US smart phone users have used a mobile browser
  • Mobile search is growing as fast as mobile apps (
  • ebay sell 1 item every 2 seconds via mobile
  • 10% of all PaddyPower sales come via mobile
  • 1 billion mobile phones were bought in the first 14 years – 1 billion mobiles sold in the last 12 months
  • 11.5% of all UK shoppers use their mobiles to research before they shop (
  • 48% of social media users check Facebook / Twitter after they go to bed. 7% said they’d even check during an ‘intimate moment’ (SF Gate, 2010)
  • In the UK, 81% of mobile media users access mobile media more than once a week with 46% using it daily (MobiAd News, 2010)
  • 7.1 million Brits now access the internet through their mobile phones (Internet Monitor Survey, 2010)
  • Each month in the UK, 4.2 million consumers visit retailers’ websites using the mobile internet (GSMA & Comscore, 2010)
  • Despite the recession, over the last year m-commerce has accounted for nearly £123million worth of goods sold in the UK and this is predicted to double by 2013 to £275million (eBay & Mobile Marketing Association, 2010)
  • iPad applications have downloaded over 35 million times (Apple, 2010)
  • More than 1 in 10 mobile users will download or buy mobile tickets in the next four years (Juniper Research, 2010)
  • There are more than 150 million active users accessing Facebook through their mobile devices (Facebook, 2010)
  • People that use Facebook on their mobile device are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users (Facebook, 2010
Business Performance Mobile Search Engine Marketing

Your 60 Second Mobile Review

This article is one of a series entitled Digital Marketer+. The series is aimed at marketers working in the digital marketplace and also at others looking for new ways to promote or build their business online.

The intention of the series is to take a second look at what you’re currently doing and approach it from a different perspective. So far we have covered knowing your objectives and fixing your customer experience. Plenty more to come, including tips, best practice and case studies.

Let me know if you’ve any ideas or experiences you’d like to share.

For many companies getting the website right is enough of a task, so something like Mobile just has to wait. Especially as it’s not yet mainstream, right?

Or is it? If you read the press / blogs, it’s very clear that this year is finally the long-promised ‘Year of Mobile’. Smart phone uptake is substantial, Facebook has 150 million active mobile users and more and more companies are making mobile revenue.

Great for them, but your market isn’t quite there yet, is it?

Or is it? I think it’s an easy assumption to make, especially for less ‘glamorous’ industries. But I’ll ask you this, how do you know?

On the clock

This series is about being a better digital marketer and making a personal impact. Well, to do so you have start looking at things differently. This is an easy one, it’ll take just 60 seconds for you to work out if you need to pull your finger out and go mobile now or whether to add it to your list of ‘check back in 6 months’ projects.

It’s simple. You could survey your customers now and ask them if they would use a mobile solution and run the risk of getting a bunch of “sure, probably would, I guess” answers. Or, you could just look to see what they are already doing with mobile.

The answer lies in your analytics.

A mobile case study:

Before I show you where to look, consider this example. Over at we have just announced some fantastic stats for our mobile usage. Over the past 19 months, traffic from mobile devices to the website has increased by over 600%. We’re not playing around with impressive sounding percentages on tiny actuals here either, the mobile traffic represents over 5% of our total site traffic – more than double what Yahoo and Bing search engines provide to us combined.

The takeaway from this example however, is that we only discovered the initial mobile traffic growth because inquisitive minds asked the question (“I wonder how much mobile traffic we get?” ). Stunned by the numbers, the data was fed into strategy and product development discussions and a year later Jobsite is now leading the way in mobile recruiting.

We could have waited until the mobile recruiting market was more established, but our customers were telling us otherwise – they wanted a mobile job hunting solution now – so we moved quickly.

What are your customers telling you? And are you listening?

Checking the numbers

So, this is what you need to do (using Google Analytics for this example):

  1. Login to Google Analytics
  2. Select your date range (top right). Recommend at least a year to see a growth pattern.
  3. Open the ‘Visitors’ menu on the left of the page
  4. Click the ‘Mobile’ link to open up the mobile options
  5. Select ‘Mobile Device’
  6. Marvel at the information

So what do your customers say? Is there a need for a mobile friendly version of your offering? If yes, you need to ask – and answer – some important questions.

  • Does your business lend itself well to mobile?
  • Can you improve the customer brand experience via mobile?
  • Should I do something in Mobile right now?
  • Which first – iPhone, Android, Mobile or other?

You can answer these questions soon, but right now you need to spend 60 seconds in your analytics package. You’ll learn something about your business and customers and have an opportunity to influence the future direction of your company’s strategy.

Other posts in this series:

Know your Objective

8 Steps to Fixing your Customer Experience

Over the course of this series, we’ll be looking at a wide range of things for you to try in your marketing, including behavioural re-targeting, smarter customer service, social media monitoring, conversion rate optimisation, mobile marketing, and creating linkbait to boost search performance. Please feel free to add your comments and join the conversation.

Or if you’d like to contribute to the series by writing a guest blog post, please get in touch to share your idea for consideration.

Innovation Mobile

MOBILE: iPhone or Android – which is more App for your business?

Have you seen our iPhone App? Do you have one? No? Really?

Been asked that recently? I wouldn’t be surprised if you had, mobile seems to be on the lips of everyone. If you haven’t got an iPhone app, some would have you believe it’s a minor miracle you’re still doing business.

So, should you be rushing out to find a mobile developer?

Yes, no, maybe, well, it depends.

Don’t be a lemming

First of all, you don’t have to follow the crowd. Just because it’s cool and trendy, doesn’t mean it will be successful (see the ‘popular’ kids at school as an example). There are some fundamental questions you need to ask of your business first, before you can determine your mobile strategy.

Five Questions to ask of your business:

Does your business lend itself well to mobile?

You have to be realistic. There are just some businesses that don’t lend themselves well to the mobile web – certainly the App market – and you have to ask yourself, is yours one of them?

Anecdotally, the average lifespan of an iPhone App is 2 weeks – in all likelihood because the App is pointless or poorly thought out or designed. To justify the expense of developing one you need to be sure it will be used.

Brainstorm a few ideas and share them with your customers. Feed the response back into the decision process.

Can you improve the customer brand experience via mobile?

If your customers access your product via the web, could you make their life easier by providing mobile access too? The key here, is to ensure that the mobile and web version are integrated, otherwise there is a disconnect and you compromise on the customer experience.

Should I do something right now?

Tricky one. Ask yourself whether you’ll be left behind if you don’t – and if your brand will suffer if you release a shoddy product. Rushing doesn’t guarantee the latter, but it’s a risk. You need to find a balance between speed and quality. ‘Bells and whistles’ could always come in the version1.1 update, whilst you gather feedback from the initial release.

Which first – iPhone, Android, Mobile or other?

Ah, the hot potato. There is a lot of information out there on mobile use and many of the numbers are conflicting. However, what all the Mobile experts can agree on is that big things are about to happen in the market.

In a nutshell, we can thank Apple, their iPhone and their marketing budget for kick starting the smart phone market. That got consumers interested, now Google are coming along with Android to mount what is expected to be a serious challenge.

So which should you do first? Well, it depends on your business. If you’re ready to go now, it could be worth launching an iPhone App to go with market surge. Once live you might want to get started on the Android version pretty quickly to jump on that bandwagon as the platform gathers traction.

Conversely, you might find that your niche is already a little overcrowded in the iPhone App store, so you could dive straight into the Android space and be the big fish gobbling up market share before your competitors get there.

Or to continue with the nautical metaphors, perhaps you’d be better off swimming against the smart phone tide altogether? Whilst apps may be sexy, the mobile web (i.e. sites accessible via mobile browsers), may be where your biggest wins could be found.

Would you be better off making a great mobile-friendly site so any internet enabled phone can access it? It’s certainly a bigger market.

Do my audience want a mobile offering from my product?

Exactly how big a market is actually an important consideration. The global uptake is huge, but that doesn’t really matter to you. How big is it in your market?

Try this. Go to your analytics package and look up the Browsers/Operating System report. You probably don’t delve in there too often and you might be a little scared by what you find when you start adding up the number of visits from Mobile devices.

Look at the data over the past year or two – how much has it grown? One site I worked on recently, experienced a 136% increase in mobile visits in just a 9 month period and nobody knew.

So the worrying thing is you may already have a mobile audience and they can’t use your product. Is the audience big enough to jump the smart phone Apps in the development queue?

Decision time

It’s clear when you consider the answers to the five questions that it’s not as simple as just responding to the excitement of the iPhone with an App of your own. What’s in the best interest of your company?

It’s an important time for businesses as we adapt to the changing media consumption of our audiences. We must move swiftly, but not hastily, and embrace the opportunities new technologies provide.

So what will Mobile mean to you?