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Strategy

Industry Spotlight: Mobile – is your strategy reaping the benefits?

Mobile isn’t just the latest craze.  Mobile can’t even be called a recent trend.  It isn’t just the future, it is the now and here to stay.

We’re addicted to our phones – just look at the number of people sitting in restaurants flicking through social media rather than having a face-to-face conversation with their dinner companion(s).  We order food via our phones; we even date via our phones.  There’s an app for everything.  Mobile is constantly developing and finding new ways to integrate into our lives that little bit further – if it’s not part of your marketing strategy, you’re already way behind…

You may not be on mobile but your customers are

We wake up in the morning and the first thing we do is reach for our phones.  The Deloitte 2016 UK Mobile Consumer Survey found that almost half of 18-24 year olds check their mobile even during the night.

How many times have you browsed on your phone while on the train?  While you walk home?  While you’re watching TV? If you’re not tapping (or swiping) into the potential mobile marketing has for engaging with your customers, then your competition has a clear advantage on your offering…

Still not sold on the idea of mobile marketing?

I receive an email on my phone advertising a shoe sale and click the perfectly crafted trackable URL.  Website doesn’t load within a couple of seconds?  Goodbye!  Now, on to the next email; speed is crucial to using mobile data on the go.

Your website’s too small to read on my 4.7 inch screen?  Forget it.  Will I go back and check out the website when I’m on my desktop?  Maybe – but chances are I’ll find what I’m looking for quicker elsewhere via my smartphone.

Say a potential job candidate works long hours; has a hectic home life; and gets half an hour to themselves each day – if they’re lucky.  They’re looking for opportunities to advance their career.  Your website SEO is excellent.  They find the ideal job opening.  They click apply.

Suddenly they’re confronted with a long application form, which they grudgingly complete.

Then they’re asked to attach a CV.  Their CV isn’t stored on their mobile.  They have it on Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Docs but none of those are integrated with your website.  There’s not even an option to send their LinkedIn profile.

They give up, close their browser and end up not applying.

Want consumer engagement?

Mobile marketing is one of the best platforms for consumer engagement. How many times have you liked an incredible holiday destination on Instagram; pinned a delicious looking recipe on Pinterest; or checked into a bar on Facebook?  If your customers aren’t engaging with you via mobile, chances are they’re engaging with your competitor.

We tweet companies our complaints rather than contacting them directly.  We’re concise, quicker and don’t want to wait for more than a couple of hours to receive a response.

Everything is in the public domain.  And if you’re not monitoring what’s being said, if you’re not replying fast enough, if you’re not putting out your own content, then you don’t have control of your brand’s story online.

What’s the difference between desktop and mobile content?

Simple, mobile is shorter, sharper and punchier.  Mobile gets to the point quicker and readers don’t have time to search for what they’re looking for within a sea of text – they want it to jump out. They want easy to read content with short paragraphs and sentences. Crisp, clear language is key.

Know what you need and what’s a waste of your resources

The more you know about your audience – what they’re looking for and where they are – the simpler it becomes to implement a mobile marketing strategy that delivers return on investment (ROI).

Test your emails on mobile.  Can you see the full subject line?  Does the design work for all screen sizes?  Are your links easy to click?  Test your website on multiple mobile devices too.  What needs optimising for mobile?  Maybe a faster load time is needed; or a larger font; more spacing; bigger buttons; and simpler navigation?

Does your content need cleaning up and breaking down?  Is it time for a complete rewrite?

What content do you have that lends itself to social?  What social sites are your customers using? 

 

Words by Jennifer Wright, head of Group Marketing at BlueSky PR

Guest Blog, Trevor Hardy: Why marketers need to recognise consumer trends…

Examining trends is not a way of predicting the future; it’s a way of understanding the direction of forces, attitudes and behaviours. The Future Laboratory has developed a methodology for trend forecasting that combines qualitative, quantitative and ethnographic research; as well as expert interviews and an informed dose of intuition. But you can start the practice of identifying early adopter behaviours. Inspired by William Gibson who said, “The future is already here, it just isn’t very evenly distributed”, you can identify these early signs, behaviours or attitudes that are considered niche today; but will become more mainstream in months and years to come.

Understanding trends is essential. Not to predict what is going to happen or to create certainty – but to build confidence. Confidence that the decisions you take today will result in benefits tomorrow. Trends may have devalued meaning in some boardrooms, but they are essential insights which help with business, brand and marketing planning.

 

Trends are not trending

 

Understanding trends is not about knowing what is hot or trendy. Trends are a weather system; they are way to think about where things are going, where things may be and how things may change. Think of them as an insurance policy for your strategy. A way of exploring and understanding all possible futures to give you greater confidence that you are developing plans for what will be, rather than what is.

 

Trends slow down time

 

For years there has been a growing and clear sense that speed is good; speed should be aspired to. That speed of decision-making, of action or consumption and response signalled modernity, accomplishment and dynamism. We see it in our jobs, with roles changing at a greater pace; we see it in our voracious consumption and rapid disposal of news and of course we see it in our relationships with marriages not only coming to an end more frequently, but more quickly too

Without taking the space and time to consider possible futures, the road ahead is very uncertain; and that uncertainty is frightening. Whether it is Brexit, our pensions or our physical health we have a growing and worrying inability to engage with distant threats. As Ralph L Keeney of North Carolina’s Duke University puts it, ‘America’s top killer isn’t cancer or heart disease or smoking or obesity. It’s our inability to overcome our own short-term behaviour.’

The need for speed is letting us down. By taking time to develop a longer term view of your brand, market or consumer, you will be better prepared to make more informed, meaningful choices, and have a clearer picture of possible futures.

 

Trends are slow strategies

 

In one sense, understanding trends allows you to slow down time: being more prepared and informed about the future will allow people to engage in a slower, more considered planning process. The need for continuous rapid response will fade away as your teams develop more confidence in their future-readiness.

Slow strategies will become increasingly palatable as it appears that ‘fast’ is under attack in other aspects of life: food, fashion, music, sex and travel. From Jake Dyson’s 40-year light bulb and the New Horizons space probe, which took almost a decade of travel before beginning its mission, to Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood, which took 12 years to make; brands and their customers are thinking in terms of years, decades – even centuries.

There is an emerging acceptance that immediate gratification is leading to longer-term regret. A recognition, especially amongst younger generations, that a live-for-today approach may have caused irreparable harm to our bodies, our businesses, our communities and our planet. And these same younger generations may be the ones to embrace a long view so that they do not make the mistakes their parents made; the ones who will think in terms of legacy, not missions; who will consider their actions not over instants but over ages. They may be the ones to set an example to think long and slow.

Trevor is chief executive of The Future Laboratory; a trend forecasting and future strategy firm. His career has spanned management consulting and advertising agencies in Canada, USA and the UK; working with organisations including Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Chanel and MTV.