With mobile technology continuing to improve and the sale of smartphones continuing to grow, the year of mobile may finally be upon us. Additionally, the growth of Android, the launch of 4G networks, the continued evolution of the iPhone, and the improvements in mobile browsing provide a platform that enables the development of a rich, powerful, and unique user experience. And while this growth has created another opportunity for customer interface, we must remember that it’s just another interaction point in your customer’s lifecycle as they traverse from discovery to purchase to support, and not some unique and disparate touchpoint. In order to maximize the value of what mobile technology can bring, everything fundamentally starts with how the user interacts with this technology for your brand.
When thinking about your strategy to reach customers via their smartphones, it’s important to think about their interaction and why they are engaging with their mobile devices in the first place. There are four main mindsets for interaction that every marketer should be thinking about when planning for a mobile experience. These examples are meant to give context to the user perspective so that you can apply them to the specifics of your business.
The first three mindsets fall into the category of efficiency. The mobile device is typically not an exploratory tool. While there are exceptions to every rule, in most cases the users have defined habits that they can execute quickly to get or communicate the information they need seamlessly.
Monitoring: One of the most common reasons that people interact with their phones is to monitor what’s going on in the world around them, both their personal worlds and the world at large. Whether they are looking for a flight arrival time, fantasy football team stats, or incoming e-mails, these users are using their mobile phone to find something specific. Once they accomplish the task at hand, they usually move on to doing something else.
Updating: Because of technological advances and the desire to be interacting with your social network, people are constantly using their phones to update their statuses or locations. Instead of sending out individual texts or e-mails, they communicate with their contacts by pushing out a mass message or updating their statuses to communicate with those in their network. With the growth of location-based services, people can now let their entire contact base know where they are with the touch of a button. This type of interaction provides a completely new platform for marketers to specifically target customers and their networks.
Entertainment: As technology has advanced, smartphones are being used more and more for entertainment value. Now you can listen to music, play a game, and watch your favorite show from wherever you are. Recognizing that these users are in an entertainment mindset requires that marketers tread lightly as to not negatively impact the experience.
As a brand, you should strive to be the default experience for a specific need for the user (i.e., I always go to ESPN to check sports scores, I use Facebook to update my friends, I have my custom radio station on Slacker Radio, I go to Verizon to pay my wireless bill). However, while the place to be is in the subconscious of your customers, if you’re not there now, there are still opportunities.
Quite possibly the most impactful element of the smartphone is that your customers now have access to the entire World Wide Web of information whenever they want it. This has created an entire behavior of instant information that didn’t exist just a few years ago.
Problem solver: Need to find an answer to a question or ensure that you are getting the best price? Need to know who won best supporting actress in 1962? Need to know the distance between Saturn and Jupiter? All of these questions can be answered by turning to your mobile phone. It’s important to understand what questions your customers are asking and ensure that you are part of the solution. Making your content rank on mobile search (where many queries are now spoken vs. typed) and putting your brand top of mind when conversations pertain to your space can be vital in seizing this opportunity.
As you think about your products and services, understanding your customer is paramount to developing a strategy for how mobile can enhance your brand. Upon completion of your thorough evaluation of customer needs, you’ll find that you probably don’t have to mobilize your entire website or create 5,000 pages of content. Instead, you’ll be able to design and develop an experience that enables you to become part of the subconscious habits of your customers by getting them the information they want more efficiently and effectively than anyone else.
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