You don’t need a mobile strategy

Published on the 13/03/2012 | Written by Gerry McGovern

iPhone used in bed

Mobile is a platform. It is a tactic, not a strategy. What you need is a strategy for the connected customer. Gerry McGovern explains…

While many New Zealand businesses suffer at the hands of global and domestic economic uncertainty, the ICT and hi-tech industry is a beacon of resilience and growth for the country’s economy.

If a Norwegian man is sitting on the toilet reading the news on his iPhone, is he mobile?

Well, research indicates that one of the most favoured places where Norwegian men use their phones is on the toilet. iPads are used a lot on the couch but the iPhone is more popular in bed.

Mobile is not necessarily mobile. It is flexible, convenient, fast, and private. Pictures of sexually transmitted diseases are often accessed through mobile devices. This could be because mobile is particularly favoured by young people.

It could also be because a phone is more private than a computer. A number of people might have access to the computer you use, for example.

I’ve read that mobiles will be used a lot this Christmas, particularly for last minute gifts.

That implies that people using them may need advice on what to buy, because by definition they will not be buying for themselves.

“Desktop copywriting must be concise.

Mobile copywriting must be even more concise,” Jakob Nielsen writes in his article ‘Mobile UX Sharpens Usability Guidelines.’ We need more than content re-education according to Jakob. “The feature set should be much smaller for a mobile site than for a desktop site.”

However, the customer is not always in a hurry. Some people read more on their smart phones than they read on websites. So, one of the most important links any mobile website can have is a link back to the main website.

A major weakness of organizations is that they behave reactively rather than strategically.

“We need a mobile app.” “We need to be on Twitter.” “We need more video.” “We need to blog.”

Web strategy is far more about psychology than technology, blogs, Twitter or any other forms of content. The more people use the Web to live their lives and do their jobs, the more web professionals need to invest in understanding human behaviour. This is because the Web removes the human touch points, the opportunities to observe, the empathy zones.

There is so much we learn when we are physically in the presence of our customers. If I were hiring a web professional the greatest attribute I would look for is empathy; the ability and desire to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. A web professional should have a service heart.

What are Norwegian men doing with their smart phones when they are on the toilet?

What do people typically do when they are on the couch? Do the tasks change when they get into bed?


Gerry_McGovernGerry McGovern is an expert in customer-centric technology, and a five-time published author. He helps large organisations become more customer centric on the web. His clients include Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, IBM, Atlas Copco and Tetra Pak.

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