In 2000, any business proposal with "wireless" or "mobile" in it got venture capital funding. By late 2001, every business plan with the words "wireless" or "mobile" was avoided. Other words have come and gone as well. Are those once-hip terms back again? If so, what have we learned from their first 15 minutes of fame that will help plan a mobile strategy that works this time around?
How can your company make money from mobile computing? Well, not every company can. And not every company should try. Mobile devices are like any other channel. They should be entered into with the same thought and understanding you employ before opening any other new channel (a store, Web site, catalog, or call center).
When we work with clients to create new channels and craft a multichannel strategy, we use a long checklist to help determine that channel's viability. The checklist is used to assess the merits of any channel, not just wireless. Today, we'll talk in the context of a wireless channel.
Here's part of that checklist:
We've only scratched the surface of questions that need answers before creating a new channel, but you should start to understand if a wireless channel is right for you. The crop of new mobile phones promise lots of enhanced ways to communicate, including built-in cameras, better text messaging (huge everywhere else in the world), and lots of personalization. Many countries use the mobile channel for marketing purposes. Your task is to ascertain if your company's core products and services are interesting to mobile users and if those users are your customers.
For some, the answer will be a resounding "yes." Don't despair, however! Wireless is merely one more channel, in much the same way we've come to regard online as just another channel.
There are many other channels to consider if you're creating a multichannel strategy. The questions above should help you determine which are right for your company, products/services, and high-value customers. Equally important, they also help you determine which channels aren't for you.
Is your company right for a mobile channel? Do you agree with my (partial) new channel checklist? Let me know!
Until next time...
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Jack Aaronson, CEO of The Aaronson Group and corporate lecturer, is a sought-after expert on enhanced user experiences, customer conversion, retention, and loyalty. If only a small percentage of people who arrive at your home page transact with your company (and even fewer return to transact again), Jack and his company can help. He also publishes a newsletter about multichannel marketing, personalization, user experience, and other related issues. He has keynoted most major marketing conferences around the world and regularly speaks at Shop.org and other major industry shows. You can learn more about Jack through his LinkedIn profile.
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