Mobile is playing an increasingly large role in B2B customer awareness. Recent research by Forrester shows that mobile is a mainstream content source for tech buyers. Both C-suite and IT buyers increasingly use tablets and smartphones for research. But while many companies have made significant progress reconstructing their Web experiences with a user-first mindset, it isn’t as simple as “porting” that experience to a smaller screen.
Some B2B companies approach the mobile channel in a way that is reminiscent of the era when B2B technology and software companies scrambled from the mainframe world to the World Wide Web. The outcome was flawed – user-centric design was mostly absent in the initial porting of software to the Web. It seems few B2B players have learned from this experience, as they continue to approach the mobile era without consideration for the user.
With this in mind, below are four steps to help B2B marketers become more mobile-centric.
1. Integrate Mobile Into Customer-Journey Mapping
Enhancing customer-centricity is a vital step for improving business performance. An essential element of this is customer-journey mapping, which can range from life-size dioramas to whiteboard sketches to small, precise charts. Regardless of their form factor, most of these maps tend to focus on consumers’ and organizations’ informational, functional, and sometimes emotional needs. Few consider the media touch points of the customer journey and that media seems to diverge, not converge.
B2B marketers should include the following dimensions in their journey mapping projects to learn how and when buyers are interacting with the company.
- Map customers’ device usage: This will help visualize the devices used by B2B buyers, their different form factors and ability to display content, and provide platforms for interaction.
- Integrate dayparting: Examine the customer journey through the lens of a “day-in-the-life-of.” This will help establish the sequence of devices used. For example, tablets and smartphones see much higher usage before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
2. Modularize the Content Strategy
Successful content strategies modularize content so that it’s published at the right time and optimized for digital devices. For the next generation, digital content experience marketers must provide relevant content to a targeted user at the optimum time on their chosen device. Currently, programmatic digital advertising is doing this – processing real-time learnings to improve the quality of creative content, effectiveness of campaigns, and cost of advertising.
Consider the future “editor in chief” of content strategy – this person will need to have the imagination of a game designer, planning for multiple endings, or the improvisation skills of a military commander, constantly reassessing and reconfiguring assets. Good content won’t suffice anymore. Google has started to include the overall website quality in its search rankings, which is why mobile plays an increasing role in content and site planning.
Capturing the attention of B2B buyers will require that the next-generation content strategists master these three requirements:
- Modularize content for real-time programmatic distribution into a broad range of form factors such as text, infographic, quiz, video, etc.
- Imagine the full spectrum of content scenarios and program websites to deliver the best experience
Virgin America’s new website has started using responsive Web design to deliver an ideal experience with appropriate content at every interaction.
- Minimize the required user action by designing for device-specific progressive information displays
Salesforce’s website utilizes responsive Web design and has optimized its navigation structure to display always “just what’s needed.”
3. Examine B2C Mobile Experiences for Inspiration
What’s often overlooked is that a B2B buyer is also a consumer. Expectations are similar for users buying a pair of glasses online from Warby Parker or a ticket on Virgin America’s mobile app. However, the quality of mobile experiences provided by consumer marketers far exceeds those from the B2B category. How can we change this? With an advanced customer-journey map and a next-generation content strategy in place, the next step is to focus on the design of your mobile experiences.
Whether designing a responsive website, or for Android and iOS, designers should focus on applying the universal mobile user experience design principles. Here are some guidelines:
- Focus on primary tasks
- Organize the experience from summary to detail, to give users logical paths
- Make all interactions simple and user-friendly by minimizing the required effort
- Carefully select how much space you allocate for branding on smaller screen sizes
- Be consistent when using native UI elements
- Plan for device orientation changes
- Support gestures such as swipe, pinch, and zoom
The recently redesigned LinkedIn and Connections Apps are efficiently optimized to provide the most recent or relevant content with the least amount of effort.
4. Mix Simplicity With Surprise to Gain a Competitive Edge
The ultimate differentiator for your mobile strategy is a mix of simplicity and surprise. Simplicity will appeal to the rational side of prospects and customers; elements of surprise will make the experience memorable. To win your audience’s preference and loyalty, you need to stay a step ahead, by identifying their needs and preferences. Make sure you have simplified every detail of the experience with your B2B audience in mind. Unlock the built-in hard and software capabilities of today’s tablets and smartphones to provide a competitive edge, including:
- Motion sensors to measure acceleration or rotation
- Environmental sensors to measure environmental parameters
- Position sensors to detect orientation
Sprint’s Safe Driving app locks your phone automatically while driving to prevent texting or calling by tapping into the phone’s accelerometer.
Mobile plays an important role in lead generation and other portions of the consideration stage, so developing a customer strategy that considers all touch points, with an emphasis on mobile as the lead channel for “first-contacts,” has never been so essential. Following these four steps will help B2B marketers tackle mobile in an engaging manner.