Mobile First

I bet you’ve had “mobile first”  come up at your strategy table in the last year.  It’s one of the most popular CMO strategic imperatives of 2016.  

And why not, when 59% of digital shopping occurs on a mobile device (eMarketer) and time spent on a mobile device has increased 400% since 2011, finally surpassing time spent on desktop/stationary machines.  

Mobile first is more than a mobile strategy, it’s a shift in business priorities, outlooks and culture.  For almost two decades now, mobile was an alternative channel.

Mobile strategy has gone through a “lens” change over the past decade:
-- From a business anywhere stage, where most realized they needed a mobile website and possibly a mobile app to augment their traditional channels for the outlier mobile visitor.
-- Moving toward enriching customer experiences and engagement with the world of adaptive websites and better-thought-out app experiences – still focusing on the experience.
-- To capturing new revenue streams anywhere, which includes optimizing business operations for the mobile employee and customer, and applying business intelligence to the “on-the-go” customer.



What most miss is that mobile first is not a digital strategy. I’s not about the channel, or shrinking to scope to a 6” device.    To embrace mobile first, you must:   

-- Embrace the fact that small doesn’t mean limited or less.
-- Design for the interruption, not the session.
-- Need to learn to harness “on-the-go” (geo and social data).

With Google announcing its new algorithms (some call it Mobilegeddon), giving weight to sites that are optimized for mobile viewing, it’s pretty clear that if it’s not a top priority for your business in 2016, it will eat up your life the next four months as you prepare for holiday season.   

Email marketers tend to look at mobile in terms of the mobile inbox and from a “connector” view:  How do I bridge the right timing to the right customer experience/device?

But rarely do you hear email marketers talk about WAP to APP strategy (from email to app, or Web to app or vice versa) or even optimizing the mobile Web experience outside the inbox.   

Email marketers. for instance, should consider:
-- How are my interaction goals different for a mobile viewer vs. a stationary viewer?
-- How should day-part shift how I view response?
-- How do I engage with a passive viewer (triage vs. intent based viewership)?

While many have somewhat addressed the mobile-friendly site, some have apps, (connected or fragmented) and some are following retail trends for mobile commerce. 

The biggest challenges that face a mobile-first company are:
-- The notion that mobile first is not owned by one single owner. All departments should be building to this overarching business strategy
-- Speed over complexity.  We’ve moved past the Big Agency Reveal or (big bang) approaches to a much more agile view.

Embracing “simplexity” is going to be vital to scaling any mobile-first strategy.   It will be a combination of art (your creative thinking and intuition) and science (the use of machines to scale, that cross millions of options).  

“Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.” ~ Martin H. Fischer

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