By: Bob Kernen
We spend a lot of time talking to our clients about mobile. Frequently, they want to start right away talking apps. That’s great, we’re thrilled that they’re engaged and interested in this exploding media-tech space. But we always try to back them up a step or two so we can understand more about them, their audience and their product. Out of those interactions, we’ve begun to zero in on some basic questions that are crucial to a successful mobile strategy.
- What’s the big picture? Part of that process of stepping back is getting a more complete handle on their whole marketing and product plan. The best mobile strategy is one that integrates smoothly with everything else they’re doing, and lots of clients will make the mistake of thinking about digital as its own separate thing. It’s not. And it will only work if it’s a well thought out part of the big picture. So whether or not you have anything to do with the rest of the marketing plan, be sure to understand it. It’s the only way to craft a solution that will be successful.
- What’s the mobile value proposition? A lot of people think they just “need an app,” but it’s crucial to understand exactly what function that app is going to serve. Is it delivering the product (distribution), or is it a consumer engagement tool (marketing)? You have to help your client understand where in the consumer value chain their mobile strategy sits, and how it improves the customer experience. Identify the goals and memorialize them in a way that allows you to revisit them throughout the development and deployment process.
- What action are you trying to get the customer to take? Once you’re clear on the big picture and the value proposition, it’s time to dive into the details a little. Do you want more foot traffic? Are you looking to execute an e-commerce transaction? Or, is the product actually delivered via mobile? By knowing what the desired consumer action is in the app, you can design and prioritize functionality and make sure that what you want the user to do is easy and clear.
- How do you plan to drive engagement? We’ve seen lots of great apps die terrible deaths because the brand forgot to promote it. Before building even begins you should be working with your client to outline a promotional strategy that will get people to download and use the app. What tools do you have/need to get consumers to engage with your brand? What else is being done (this is where the “big picture” thinking back in #1 comes in again) that can be leveraged to drive interest in the app.
- What are your expectations from your marketing program? This may be the last item on the list, but it’s one of the most important. So often we see clients who get well into a mobile program and only then ask the question, “Are we succeeding?” Unfortunately, at that point, not only is it hard to know, it’s harder to change course. So, be very clear with your client about what success looks like. Determine the metrics that will be used to measure success, and know the variables that can influence those metrics so you can make any necessary mid-course corrections.
All of these questions are central to a successful mobile program, and you need to have this conversation with your client before you begin executing.