Mobile and the C-Suite

Smartphone owners are passionate about their phones. You’ve seen the stats: 68 percent sleep next to them, 32 percent would give up their HDTV for them, and 82 percent take them shopping.

The combination of consumer passion and brilliant technology is making an impact on marketing no less significant than the dawn of the world wide web. Perhaps because many of us lived through the dot-com bubble burst, we are cautious this time around. Too cautious. Way too cautious.

While early Internet users weren’t sure about what the brave new world held, the smartphone universe has a clear set of expectations: I want what I want when I want it. As Peter Sheldon at Forrester describes in “The Digitization of the In-Store Experience,” customers want an “endless aisle” that allows them to “buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere.”

Whether your customers connect with your company via storefront or home office, the injection of ever-present mobile devices adds a new set of expectations and opportunities. Creating this seamless experience requires cross-channel collaboration and coordination across every department of the organization.

Virtually all organizations acknowledge the silos but feel powerless to break them down. This is where the C-suite comes in. In addition to the CIOs and the CMOs, companies need a CCCUXO – a chief cross-channel user experience officer. Well, the acronym needs a little work, but the concept is important.

Organizations need someone who has the authority to ensure a seamless experience from store to full site to mobile site. To champion mobile technology for sales and customer service personnel as well as outbound marketing. To sort out the myriad ways to manage payment and loyalty via phone. To coordinate messaging across social, email, push, SMS, sites, and stores.

It is not a job for the faint of heart. It is a job for trailblazers. For those who can secure budget for projects without benchmarks, without “best practices,” with unproven ROI. It is a job for those who can effect collaboration in a siloed world.

As the Adweek Google 2012 Digital Holidays survey found, 85 percent of holiday shoppers will start on one device and finish on another. We’re living in a cross-channel world. We just need those responsible for the channels to catch up with us.

Silos image on home page via Shutterstock.