When something becomes such an important part of your life, it’s hard to imagine it didn’t exist a decade ago — a job, a marriage, a child … a smartphone?
In this 10th anniversary year of the release of the iPhone, Adobe offers us a snapshot of how the transformation brought about in individual lives across the globe has had a profound change in how companies must interact with their customers.
Adobe actually has been conducting its Mobile Maturity Study for four years and continues to find surprising changes with each survey. In surveying more than 500 marketing and IT professionals about how they are reacting to the ongoing transition in our mobile society, Abode also learns and shares what the most advanced companies are doing to “create the next wave of transformative mobile experience.”
Marketing vs. IT
A couple of key differences stood out in the survey between marketing and IT professionals that should cause companies to reflect on how they are preparing to move into the next decade of mobile.
The first is an indication of the need to continue to break down silos and integrate marketing and customer experience across the entire organization. In answer to the question “Who owns your organization’s mobile app strategy?”, IT respondents claimed 81 percent ownership by the IT department and 33 by marketing; whereas 61 percent of marketing respondents say marketing owns the strategy and 26 percent IT.
A customer-centric business model will require more integration and cooperation across the company, and less ownership, to stay ahead of customers’ demands for a transformative mobile experience.
The other distinction between the two members of the team showed up in their self-assessment of the company’s mobile maturity. Sixty percent of marketers believe their organization is advanced or somewhat advanced (Adobe uses the terms advance and focused), while 78 percent of IT personnel feel the company is advance or somewhat advanced. On the bottom of that scale, 4 percent of marketers think their mobile maturity is nonexistent while 0 percent of IT specialists feel that way. Adobe also reports those numbers have changed little from the previous year.
Both of these results indicate companies still have issues to address as they deconstruct those silos that can stand in the way of giving customers the best experience, which in turn gives your business the brightest future.
A Strategy for the Next Decade
While 85 percent of respondents acknowledge they have ways to go to reach mobile maturity (and even mobile maturity means having the ability to adapt constantly), Adobe offers a six-step process to advance mobile maturity and create transformative mobile experiences:
- Strategize: With 95 percent of the population using smartphones, making mobile a key part of your marketing strategy is no longer an option. Advanced companies already have created mobile leadership teams that ensure mobile isn’t an afterthought in their customer experience strategy, and marketing teams need to have mobile-specific objectives and KPIs.
- Build: Advanced mobile maturity companies also have realized the importance of focusing equality on a mobile-friendly website as well as mobile apps. While some companies have placed greater emphasis on one over the other, consumers drive the need to be receptive to both. Updating apps frequently also is vital to staying on top of the customer experience and creating customer loyalty.
- Acquire: The growing emphasis in marketing budgets, where respondents report a mean of 34 percent is spent on mobile. Successful companies continue to spread their efforts between paid, earned and owned media to generate acquisitions.
- Analyze: One area where marketers still lag is in using the readily available data to understand their customers’ journey. Marketing respondents rely less on app user data than their IT counterparts in every measurable area, with their numbers even slipping from the year before. This means a missed opportunity for marketers to gain knowledge about their customers and evaluate their own marketing efforts.
- Engage: Marketers and IT professionals have bought into the idea of personalizing their customers’ journey, though some still are working through the when and where aspects. Most marketers are engaging GPS technology to engage their customers but are slower to pick up on the use of beacon technology. Nine in 10 also focus on re-engaging their customers through a variety of methods.
- Optimize: The ever-changing face of mobile means organizations must constantly test and modify their mobile experience to remain relevant. One anomaly in this year’s survey showed marketers less likely than they were the previous year to apply A/B testing, a relatively simple way to ensure your pages are working at optimal levels. Still more than half of all marketers reported using various technologies to chart their customers’ experience.
Looking into the Next Decade
Given the radical transformation the past decade has brought in our consumer experience, even Adobe admits it’s difficult to project what will come about in the next decade.
Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality already are on the radar of IT and marketing professionals as they design their customers’ future mobile experience, though still to a lesser degree than currently available technologies.
Customers will send a clear message through their actions on how they are responding to these constant transformations, so the marketers who listen to these responses and adapt accordingly will create the greatest success for their companies.
“During the next decade, the experience-makers will be those organizations that are committed to harnessing mobile technology to fuel a dynamic and integrated marketing strategy that transforms digital experiences for their customers and for the world,” Adobe reports in its conclusion.
Even today, 82 percent of marketers and 85 percent of IT professionals say their mobile efforts have definitely or somewhat differentiated them from their competition. Competitors who don’t adapt to the mobile revolution are unlikely to be competitors in another decade.
Companies that embrace transformation and adopt a consumer-centric model will be suited to handle the foreseeable and unforeseeable changes during the next decade and thrive as they meet their customers’ mobile demands.