Since this forum is new, I have been super nervous about writing on this topic. Nobody is writing about the specifics of mobile strategies because they want companies to pay them for that information. Maybe it’s considered too honest to write about many of the ideas at this juncture, because while everyone is trying to get one in place, nobody really knows how to create one without the right leadership. Even reading some of the reports that industry leaders such as Forrester and Gartner, all the thinking surrounding a plan stay as general as possible.
With that, I am going to dip my toe in just a bit to pass along some comments on what many say and help debunk some of the myths being passed around.
You might not need an app right now. Sure, if you want to get noticed at SXSW, Macworld or CES an app may get some attention. Where I work, our customers are not really clamoring for a native app. If I were to pitch one at this point, it probably wouldn’t be received well. Unless, that is, if it bridged a gap in our product offering.
Studies show customers are in a different stage of the buying cycle if they are searching for something on their mobile phone as opposed to a tablet, or even a desktop machine. The downloadable app must be positioned at that stage of the cycle, and help your customer get across the finish line.
Education must not be assumed. I recently made a change to a company that provides web services to an industry predominantly behind the times technologically. When I first walked in the door, I threw around a lot of terms we used in my previous job, which was mobile focused. You can imagine the looks I got from some (not all) of the stakeholders. I realized that before we could craft a strategy, we must make sure everyone is one the same page.
The mistake would be to swing the pendulum too far and over-educate. We are talking strategy only at this point. Feel free to be as detailed as you want when you move to an ideation session with product and development teams. As strange as it sounds, focus on a glossary and gaps analysis in your current product offering. The answer will practically jump off the page after that exercise.
Let me know your thoughts. Did your company focus on an app right away? How far did executives go to educate themselves?