As mobile has become a greater part of my day-to-day professional life, it’s become more and more difficult to stay up to speed with an ever changing marketplace. As a digital professional, I often feel a greater comfort level with other digital media: online media, social, gaming, etc. I found that when a client came to me with a question, I didn’t have the years of knowledge to draw from to form a quick point of view and to give them the advice they were seeking.
I took some basic steps to help myself become more knowledgeable and avoid these deer-in-headlight moments. For those not working with mobile on a daily basis and looking for ways to bring better mobile context to their clients, these can be useful steps to help you become a better mobile expert.
Understand the Platforms and Know Which One Your Target Uses
We all know about the iPhone and that’s probably what our clients know about too. Apple continues to be a leading innovator in the space, and it’s important to keep track of how it is changing the way we all do business. However, there are key opportunities missed by not understanding how and who is using other devices and platforms.
Some key examples:
- While smartphones keep growing month over month, there’s still a giant core of people using their feature phones (define) and they’re connecting to the Web on a frequent basis. Oftentimes, these people are connecting to the Web through their phone more frequently than they are through a computer.
- Earlier this year, Android phones passed the iPhone in terms of United States mobile Web usage. When brainstorming, many people immediately jump to launching an app or a campaign within the iPhone universe. After doing a deeper dive, you may find that Android is a better platform to reach the person most important to you.
- Don’t forget about RIM. BlackBerry may not have the sexiness and application abilities of the iPhone and Android, but how many people do you know that use one for work? This may be the best way for you to reach a busy, on-the-go executive.
Know the Major Players and Schedule a Meeting Once a Quarter
Sometimes the best way to keep up to date is to meet with the people who are immersed in it everyday. They live, eat, and breathe this stuff and are more than happy to pass along a few key nuggets. Many digital professionals aren’t taking meetings with mobile publishers because they’re not working with them on a frequent basis. This in my mind becomes a Catch-22. We don’t know what they’re doing because we’re not talking to them and therefore, we don’t have anything to recommend to our clients that might make a lot of sense.
I’m not saying you need to devote your weeks to meeting with mobile publishers, but give yourself one per quarter. Start with the biggest players like Ad Mob, Quattro, and Millennial and then branch out. The more you meet with them, the more comfortable you’ll feel. You’ll start to know which questions to ask, and you’ll start to see marketing connections for your clients.
(If you’re feeling really crazy, don’t be afraid to make it one meeting a month!)
Read as Much as You Can (and Not Just Industry Publications)
There is great coverage about the dynamics of the mobile industry coming through every day in industry newsletters. However, you’d be surprised about what you can learn from business publications. Personally, I’ve gained great tidbits from magazines like Wired and found the recent Fast Company article about Steve Jobs and Apple to be very helpful. More than likely, these are the articles that will spark your client’s questions and having an idea of where their questions originate will help you give them better guidance.
The key to being a better mobile professional is knowledge. As digital experts, it’s important to make every effort to ensure that our clients are using mobile the smartest way possible for their brands. Taking these few extra steps will help you to become a more fully integrated digital/mobile expert.
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