Lessons from Mobile Matters: Your Company Needs a Mobile-first Mentality

Michaela Markley Picture

by Michaela Markley | Last Updated: May 7, 2020

“Mobile is as broad as you can dream it - has intersected nearly every aspect of a consumer’s life.” That’s what Patrick Flanagan, SVP of Digital Marketing and Strategy at Simon Property Group, said when he was a guest on Mobile Matters and he’s completely right. Mobile is everywhere and it’s connected to everything, but so many companies aren’t investing enough in their mobile strategy. Let’s dive into the three key areas that Patrick highlighted in his podcast interview that all companies need to invest resources in; mobile-first mentality, SMS, and mobile metrics that matter. You MUST Have a Mobile-first Mentality This concept is probably the most misunderstood one in mobile today. So many marketers believe they have a “mobile-first mentality” because they have a responsive website or a native mobile app. That line of thinking drives me absolutely crazy. A mobile-first mentality means you think of EVERYTHING in a mobile lens FIRST. You assume the primary way consumers will engage with your brand will involve mobile...and you see mobile as more than just a smartphone. As a marketer, a mobile-first mentality means you’re always designing every digital experience for mobile and thinking about other channels such as desktop secondary. It means that while you may spend most of your time at work on a laptop, you’re going to look at digital experiences on your smartphone first before even checking them out on your laptop. This has been a hard mental shift for me to make in my career because I’m so accustomed to using my laptop during the workday...that’s why I have a post-it-note on my desk reminding me “Check Mobile First!” And don't forget about smartwatches, voice, PWAs, etc., these are all ways consumers can engage with your brand via mobile and need to be at the forefront of your customer experience. This shift to a mobile-first mentality is going to be even harder for the rest of your company who are likely not thinking about mobile every day like you are. You need to teach them how to put mobile-first in all aspects of the customer experience and it’s going to take time which is why you need to start now. The best way to gain consensus is through the use of data. Make sure you’re communicating how your customers are currently engaging with your brand on mobile. For most brands, that's going to be the primary way consumers engage with you and once other leaders in your organization start to wrap their head around that data it will be easier to help shift them towards putting mobile-first in everything they do. SMS Is Definitely Not DEAD As marketers, we need to start owning the channel that is most widely received and viewed. Patrick mentioned that “text has the highest read rate, the fastest read rate, and the highest deliverable rate.” With SMS open rates being at a whopping 98 percent and 90 percent of those being read within 3 minutes, we need to be smart when we send text messages. It’s crucial that we don’t overuse our opportunity to reach our consumers through text. Patrick also pointed out during the conversation that “the value of a mobile number is so so precious. If a consumer trusts your brand with their phone number you need to protect that relationship.” Do it, but do it well. Do it sparingly. And put a filter on it. Since it’s a highly personal channel, consumers will judge you more harshly if the text messages you send them are impersonal, irrelevant, or annoying.  You need to focus on creating a channel that adds value and drives engagement from subscribers rather than opt-outs. You cannot overload your SMS campaign with messaging just to run a campaign. Remember that texting our consumers is a privilege, so treat it as one. The question then is, how are you using SMS to add value to your consumers’ journey? If your brand isn’t already investing in SMS, it’s time to start! I challenge you to start the short code process, collect opt-ins, and build out your messaging calendar to enable you to effectively connect with your consumers on the most read channel. So...What Should I Measure? Speaking all things mobile you are probably wondering - but how do I measure effectiveness? What mobile metrics should I be using to determine my success? You probably aren’t going to like the answer but, it depends. (Ahhh sweet sweet marketing.) Even though ‘it depends’ there are some key metrics that are important to keep an eye on. First, look at the engagement on your posts, blogs, videos, etc.  Engagement is the action you want your audience to take on your content or campaign. It could range from likes to commenting and/or sharing. The main question is, is your audience taking the action you were hoping for? Whatever the metric is, it is important to know what action you are targeting to occur and what is actually happening. Second, look at how much time people are spending on your content. Are they clicking your link to only spend thirty seconds on your content or are they spending a few minutes there? If your blog post is a five-minute read and people are spending thirty seconds on it, you may need to rework how the blog is written. Whereas, if people are spending two minutes on a two-minute video - that content is doing mighty fine. Time is a great indicator of whether you have successfully earned your audience’s attention. And lastly, retention. Is your audience coming back to view more content at a different time or date? Does it offer enough value for people to return? It’s important once you’ve identified returning customers to understand what they are interacting with. It may help your team better understand what content is working well and what may need to be improved. Engagement, time, and retention are not the only metrics to focus on when it comes to mobile content but they are imperative to focus on.A mobile-first mindset shift is not always easy but it is needed as our consumers’ preferences change and channels adapt. Understanding how your consumers want to be contacted through mobile is essential to your mobile marketing strategy. And remember that data helps show a clearer picture of what may or may not be working. If you are interested in viewing other Mobile Matters episodes, you can view all our episodes here.

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