Start with this: consumers use their smartphones to link online and offline experiences.
Let’s see, nearly 40% of U.S consumers Gartner surveyed earlier this year say they prefer to shop and buy online via their mobile phone across a number of categories. (Detail here, Gartner subscription required.)
And yet, we also have data that shows that multichannel marketers view mobile as their least mature channel (Gartner subscription required), most often self-identifying as being in the “Developing” stage of Gartner’s mobile marketing maturity model.
Why the disconnect? Is it the years and years of stories proclaiming that (insert any year after 2007) was to be the “year of mobile”? Do marketers who haven’t matured their mobile marketing capabilities beyond “developing” live in some parallel universe? A happier simpler time where online access was defined by an AOL disc?
Nah. It’s because some marketers still see “mobile” and think “channel.” When that’s the mindset, the approach is either a full-blown custom app or, as my colleague Claire Tassin notes, “…a pared down version of the desktop site.”
Mobile Strategy Inertia
And what’s the root of that? Inertia, second only to entropy as one of the most powerful dynamics in the universe. Breaking out of the “mobile-is-just-a-channel” holding pattern of a strategy is imperative for marketers in all industries, but particularly for retail.
Escaping the drag of inertia starts not with focusing on individual tactics such as a mobile-optimized website or a mobile app, mobile coupons, SMS messaging or push-notifications. Start with this: consumers use their smartphones to link online and offline experiences.
Leading brands like Nike get this. (See a story here that is part of our collection of compelling news coverage on mobile marketing found here.) The company designs mobile experiences around servicing the consumer that is browsing online via device OR using the Nike app in a physical store.
B2B marketers have said to me that aside from a mobile-optimized site and maybe a sales-enablement app for their sales teams, there’s not much more they need to do for their mobile marketing strategy. Perhaps for incredibly complex systems or services, but I believe that attitude is not dissimilar to the B2C marketer who remains satisfied with an immature mobile marketing capability.
B2B marketers may not use their smartphone to examine the detailed plans for, say, an HVAC system designed to operate on the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, CA. But for everything else that goes along in the purchase journey for that HVAC system, smartphones are playing a role in how that buyer links their online and offline experiences with that HVAC manufacturer.
A smartphone is a truly mind-boggling collection of advanced technologies. Consumers likely don’t know or care how all that advanced technology works. But they have figured the smartphone’s unique capability – linking online and offline experiences.