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Why prioritize mobile? Because the entire world is connecting to the mobile Internet.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, “In the coming decade, 2.5 billion to 3 billion more users could be connected to the Internet.” An estimated half of the impact of mobile (through 2025) will be in developing economies (Latin America, Asia, and Africa), and eMarketer reported that there were 121 million smartphone users and 94 million tablet users in the United States in 2012 “representing a 31% and 180% increase over 2011, respectively.”

With consumers currently ahead of marketers in their response to mobile, how can organizations keep better watch on where technology is headed and plan appropriately? Historically, marketing technology has belonged in the information technology (IT) group. However, the course of organizational history is shifting. Today, more and more organizations are recognizing the need to restructure in order to keep up with accelerating technological advances including the mobile “march” into the future.

In today’s blog post, we will look at an attainable organizational response that includes creating a hybrid person or team that synthesizes technology and marketing in order to drive the organization into the future. I will provide three simple steps toward creating this mobile dream team.

Marketing Operations Are Restructuring as Mobile Is on the “March”

Mobile is currently marching out ahead of the majority of organizations, forcing marketing and technology teams to play defense. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In Strategic Staffing For Mobile eBusiness, Forrester recommends that organizations “seek out partners and internal team members who inherently understand and work within the specific mobile use cases like geotargeting.” This will help organizations “avoid using the same executional approach to mobile that has been employed to other customer interfaces and miss the value it presents.”

By taking a few simple steps, your organization can begin this process. Today, we will look at Ancestry.com to provide us with some inspiration and best practices.

Step 1 | Begin Organizing for Mobile Success

Ancestry.com’s current dream team began approximately four years ago in 2009 with a small mobile team exclusively building apps. My point here is this: it’s okay to start small. What matters most is that you start taking small steps to move your organization toward leveraging the benefits that mobile offers. And that you have a focused team that is thinking “mobile first.”

Step 2 | Select a Mobile Channel that Aligns to Your Marketing Objectives

So once you’ve identified or hired your “mobile” person, you might ask, What type of experience should I offer to consumers?

One way to evaluate if a mobile friendly site or mobile app makes sense is to survey your existing customers. According to the Adobe 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey Results of more than 3,000 people, most consumers preferred websites to apps for shopping experiences: “Fifty-eight percent reported preferring mobile-optimized or regular websites, while 42% preferred applications … [B]usinesses should provide both engaging mobile web experiences and mobile apps to address their total audience.”

While optimizing a website for mobile audiences may be right for some organizations, building a mobile app will be better suited to others. As a first step, Ancestry.com chose to create a mobile app in order to reach a new segment of customers, and it has paid off for their organization. Get together with your key stakeholders, marketing, and IT and decide which mobile channels align with your marketing objectives including customer acquisition, conversion, or retention and begin to take action today.

Step 3 | Provide Data-Driven Results to Expand Your Mobile Dream Team

According to Brandon Camp, Ancestry.com’s director of conversion marketing, over time, their executive team has changed to become very data driven. This shift was, in large part, due to the ROI of analytics and optimization efforts for their digital channels including the mobile app. The data clearly showed that their mobile app was reaching a younger demographic, representing a new market for the organization. As a result, the CEO has been willing to increase investments in mobile channels to drive revenue and growth.

Today, after several years of hard work and collaboration, Ancestry.com has created a mobile technology and marketing dream team. For example, after they launched their mobile apps, their Web development team has been focused on providing a “responsive” website that adapts to a smartphone, tablet, or PC. The Web team has also been engaging with the optimization team to ensure that the responsive experience is optimized for specific use cases that are unique to smartphone or tablet browsers. Today, Ancestry.com’s mobile app, analytics, and optimization teams all work together on a regular basis to ensure that new experiences are created, analyzed, and optimized (A/B testing, multivariate testing) to drive higher conversions and revenue through the apps and eventually through the new “responsive” website.

It’s OK to Start Small, Just Start

On a mobile “maturity” curve, Ancestry.com provides a great example of a sophisticated, data-driven organization that has shifted its marketing and technology teams to focus on the mobile opportunity. Click here to learn more about their success story.

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