Just a few years ago, a common objection to the value of mobile in business strategies was that “phones are not for marketing”, because you couldn’t do anything real - payments, to name one - on a phone or tablet. That time is well behind us, as mobile technology is not only reshaping the customer journey, it is rebooting the entire experience of connecting with clients. So that maybe it’s time to go beyond mobile first and start thinking mobile-only.
Forget the days when connections were faulty, touch screens slow to respond, and the only marketing action you could think about was ‘SMS advertsing’. The evolution of mobile devices has brought to you amazing new tools to bolster the connection with customers, and build a digital customer experience well-integrated into an ecosystem that melts physical and digital into a new amazing reality.
Mobile First or Mobile Only?
A mobile only strategy is not alternative to mobile first. It's a natural evolution of your strategy, in markets where the pace is imposed by disruptive digital technologies. Problem is: mobile-first is often still considered a goal - and not a stage already fulfilled. Too many brands still struggle to move with the times, while customers evolve and become more and more empowered (what we called the Age of the Customer).
Mobile should be already the standard for all things marketing. The next step into a real digital transformation would be, then, a mobile-only approach. This further step doesn’t mean that you should ignore physical touch points of the customer journey; it is a plain consciousness raising that we are moving towards a world in which the mobile will be the first screen, not just a secondary screen.
Mobile-Only: Is It Real?
The centrality of mobile only strategies may seem just a risky conjecture, but it is a trend rooted in facts and stats:
Half of customers believe mobile is the most important resource in their purchase decision-making. More than a third confessed that they used mobile exclusively. (Nielsen)
As of last year, mobile platforms accounted for 60% of total time spent on digital media. (ComScore)
Roughly one third of shoppers use mobile exclusively, and more than half consider mobile the most important resource when it comes to the purchase decision. (Altimeter, in Brians Solis' webinar called - not by coincidence - ‘The Inevitability of Mobile-Only Customer Experience’)
Reality is that technology ties the best knot with marketing and sales when users can experience a positive connection without feeling it at work. The Internet of Things is the perfect example of this invisible interconnection of smart objects, and smartphones are at the forefront of a revolution that will soon involve also smartwatches, activity trackers and virtual reality devices.
The Evolution of Customer Journey
The smartphone is already the first screen among connected customers, the first place they go to communicate on social networks, look for information about products and brands and share their opinions, wants and needs. There is a major consequence for companies: customers expect that you are capable to reach them wherever they are, whenever they need it, across all touch points of their omni-channel customer journey.
For the most part, however, mobile strategies are still focused on an isolated aspect of customer engagement - push notifications, E-Commerce, loyalty programs. Basically, they still can’t go beyond single minded campaigns, and lack of an overall vision. Your ability to understand clients’ desires and fulfill their expectations will be, then, the key element for successful customer experience management.
The small screen dictates how and when customers interact with brands throughout the lifecycle, from research to purchase (i.e. mobile payments), service and support. Mobile is now part of the customer experience, crucial for your engagement strategy, to enhance loyalty and improve customer retention. To be successful, you must think - or at least start to think - about mobile-only as the basic foundation for the next generation of digital customer experience.
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