I think many folks really feel they understand mobile or they do not have to do much about it. They have a some presence.. it works.. its good.. right?

medium_6238509140One of the things I love doing it getting access to organizational data. It can show so much about an organization. It is the cornerstone to building a solid strategy.

Recently I was working with an amazing non-profit organization about what is happening on their website. It was very telling to look under the covers and somewhat surprising.

  • 20% of users were mobile
  • 80% of those users were new and don’t come back
  • iPhone had  considerably larger usage over android
  • 57% of users never go past the first page on mobile devices

I was surprised by the high usage of iPhone. It goes against the trends but if given the time, looking deeper at the data may indicate something about the audience. An area that I certainly would want to dig deeper and feel is the most powerful bit of information is 57% of users never go past the first page. That is a huge opportunity to connect with people and is being missed. Clearly people are not getting what they need from their mobile experience.

Can this be fixed.. of course. . The desire to meet the needs of mobile users is the first step to success.

In considering mobile, here are some interesting data points about what happened after an organizations developed a mobile strategy. 

Time Inc.*

  • Mobile is up 23% compared to what it had been. (source)
  • Homepage uniques are up 15%, and time spent is up 7.5%. (source)
  • The mobile bounce rate decreased by 26%. (source)

O’Neill Clothing*

  • 65.7% conversion rate increase on iPhone/iPod (source)
  • 101.2% revenue growth on iPhone/iPod (source)
  • 407.3% conversion rate increase on Android devices (source)
  • 591.4% revenue growth on Android devices (source)
  • 20.3% conversion rate increase on non-mobile devices (source)
  • 41.1% revenue growth on non-mobile devices (source)

Skinny Ties*

  • 42% revenue growth on all devices (source)
  • 13.6% conversion rate increase (source)
  • 377.6% revenue growth on iPhone (source)
  • 71.9% conversion rate increase on iPhone (source)
  • 44.6% increase in duration (source)
  • 23.3% lower bounce rate (source)

Regent College*

  • 99% increase in unique visitors (source)
  • 77% increase pageviews (source)

63% increase in online applications (source)

So do we need to think about mobile?
I think the answer is obvious.

* source: http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1691

Technology is guilty of ambiguity. Look at all the organization out there focused on the cloud, big data, web 2.0..3.0.. 15.23 0… Ask three different people what these terms mean and you will get
three different answer. It is amazing that in a field that built around logic, people don’t agree on what something is.

Mobile is has the same problem. In fact, IA Contender dinghy planing on a broad reach. N... was recently talking to a respected person in IT for a very large organization about mobile strategy. Their immediate response was, we have it all taken care of. Well, in digging a bit deeper I learned, they have the ability to support any device in their organization. Really.. nothing at all to do with mobile strategy.

So what does mobile mean.. To some, it can mean device or responsive web. To others mobile is all about the applications or content. To others, it is about the cloud. It really all depends on their perspective.

To be straight.. mobile is all of that and none of it. It can incorporate pieces from everyone’s perspective but in the end.. it is not about any of it. Mobile is about connecting with people. Giving people what they need and expect from your organization.

They are predicting by 2015, over 700 million people will have internet access only through a mobile device. It is how we connect now. In the coming years, all business will be done through a mobile devices. Will there be traditional ways to do business.. absolutely but it will also completely mobile focus.

Really the question that needs to be answered is how your organization is going to align to this new way of operating. How are you going to communicate with the people you work with, your customers and employees? It is an exciting new world and the opportunities are endless. It takes proper thought, planning and execution to do it right. It takes a strategy aligned to your business not technology.

It goes without saying that mobile is changing the way people do business. The best organizations (but very few) see mobile as a critical business function. A core part the organizational strategy that can either help them succeed or fail.

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Unfortunately, the concept of mobile is often approached as tactical decision. A decision based on current knowledge, the “cool” factor or because everyone else is doing it.

To be successful today, it is imperative to understand that mobile needs a strategy. A strategy of engagement with customers or employees to increase sales, visibility of your organization or improve efficiency’s.

With mobile, there are many directions an organization can go. Which platform will we use (Apple, Android, Windows, All)?  Native or not?  Responsive or not? Etc…etc..etc.. The tactical list goes on and on. All of these decisions have impact on your business  but none of them really matter unless you know where you want to go.

To develop a mobile strategy, it is my belief that all of this boils down to a few essential but familiar elements:

1)      Why
2)      Who
3)      What
4)      How

As you answer each one of these, it will inform the others, building a stronger strategic effort.

Why

This is defining a reason for doing something? Increasing revenue, have deeper engagement, improving internal operations. Whatever the reason,  it must align to the goals of the organization.. it is the why we are doing something.

Who

This is your target audience. The people whom you’re trying to engage with. It is very important to understand this group of people and how they interact in their mobile world. If we are talking about employees they may have company owned devices (which are highly predictable)… or are we going after women, men.. teens.. etc.

This maybe a surprise to many but people normally associate “new” or trendy things with teens. But the reality is with mobile, people between the ages of 35-44 own more smart devices than any other group. But this is just the surface. To define who… you must understand your audience.

What

This is getting into the tactical side of things. Based on the “why” we are doing something and “who” we are doing it for defines what platform, what language, what approach we take.

If the goal is to increase revenue and your audience is women between a certain age group, you may be looking at a target market of iPhone users..

The next question is more important than the device, it is the experience. Do my users need an experience that requires more advanced technology? That may indicate you need a native application or maybe it is more informative and calls for a responsive website design. These are just some of the things you need to tackle to answer the “what”.

How

For me, this about measurement. There is no point in developing a strategy unless you can understand if it is working or not. Are you meeting the goals you set out in the beginning? What is your return on this investment? How are we doing?

Because I have a background in the startup world.. I am a huge believer in being ready to pivot. When you answer some of these question and the results you see are not what you expected… learn, adjust and execute again.

Mobile is essential to your business and it is not a matter if your organization is going to have a mobile strategy, it is when.