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A simple 4-step digital mobile strategic planning process

A simple 4-step digital mobile strategic planning process

The short version:

1. How mobile savvy are you?
Seriously. Are the decision makers on budget and scope passionate about this idea of “mobile strategy?” Feel better by operating within your own level of understanding.

2. What is YOUR mobile human up to? Do you want the attention of everyone or just a certain segment of the population? How do they behave? Do you have analytics?

3. Gather insights and opportunities.
Poll. Email. Study. Look at competitors. Learn!

4. Plan your technology and strategy. Looking good in a modern mobile browser (especially the iPad) should not be considered optional. Consider custom mobile web apps. Choose iOS or Android or both for apps that truly offer something more than the web at large.

The longer version:

Part 1. Savvyness

A smart mobile strategy is one based around providing noticeable value to customers typically in the form of time saved or experience enriched.

Implementing mobile strategy can be dependent on the capacity of the stakeholders. How mobile savvy are the customers? How much faith do decision makers have in mobile as a strategy in general?

Just try to get some facts, because uncertainty is the barrier causing so many businesses to hesitate when it comes to mobile strategy that works. You want to know how your customers behave day by day when they are mobile. Find out. Insights will happen.

When you start to want to take advantage of built-in touch-driven features of phones and tablets, it’s time to move on to Apps.

Part 2 : Your Google listing and your human’s behavior.

Type your business name, city, and state into a browser or mobile maps application. How would the experience be for a customer? Can it be improved? If you are a business that depends on anyone ever trying to find you using the internet, which I think only excludes elite mercenary ancient lobster assassins, claim your Google Plus Page now.

What is mobile, anyway? I think that term almost means “hindered.” Because when we are mobile, we are driving, walking, standing in line for a second, eating at a cafe, etc.

Some likely characteristics of your mobile human target: short on time, seeking something specific (food?), slower internet, has even faster access to a phone and probably a camera.

Any good mobile strategy embraces clarity and simplicity in my opinion. Your effort should be about shortening the distance between people and what they are looking for; interrupting people with content that is perpendicular to their interests is a mistake.

Being customer centric, you want to be a step ahead of them. Know what they might expect next. What is there to gain by creating a “mobile experience” instead of what I offer them now?

Part 3: Crush uncertainty.

Do you build a mobile website? How advanced should it be? How much will it cost?

Start by using your entire website with an iPad and an iPhone. Take notes. Fix the simple things now. Then, you might want to create a mobile-friendly version that is simpler. Perhaps your “non-mobile” website needs to be simplified too? A mobile site’s cost to develop should be somewhat relative to scale of complexity of the site it’s scaling down.

If you “force” phone browsers to see your mobile site, it’s got to be easy to allow people to view the normal website if they wish. Phones only become more advanced and tablets more pervasive; they don’t really need specialized experiences, only experiences that work well with touch.

A website can be a killer app by itself. Remember, the key advantage to a mobile website application is it works on the most possible devices.

Part 4: The technology routes.

To App or Not To App depends on if you have a plan or your competition is moving forward with or without a decent plan. Creating a plan to get measurable gains from apps is hard for some (many) sectors of business. Only a small percentage of consumers feel compelled to download branded apps unless they are things like insurance companies, banks, etc.

A mobile website with some basic functionality that enhances the experience for customers or delivers noticeable value (in a mobile-relevant way) seems like a “must” first step. It’s less expensive than building an app and allows you to work out a kind of wireframe for the more advanced software.

You can always create an “app” that is little more than an icon that launches your mobile site.

Android or iOS or both? Do both. Unless you have a specific plan to make money from the app itself through app sales or advertising revenue (another topic entirely), if you are serious about your mobile strategy and it’s important that you access native phone features like GPS, then don’t mess around.

I do not recommend using a development platform like Adobe AIR which creates both apps at once because they will be kludgy.. Treat them as separate projects with a shared sources of data, branding, and purpose.

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