A com­mon ques­tion that I am hear­ing from mar­keters is this: “If I have a lim­ited bud­get, which is more impor­tant to my mar­ket­ing efforts: the mobile-opti­mized site or the mobile app?” Dur­ing a pre­vi­ous Adobe Sum­mit, I had the oppor­tu­nity to ask this ques­tion to some key indus­try lead­ers. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Mobile Site Approach: “Amer­i­can Eagle Out­fit­ters focused on devel­op­ing the mobile site first because you can reach every­one via a mobile site ver­sus an app that requires down­load. Even­tu­ally, after fully think­ing through the busi­ness ratio­nale, we built an app focused on loy­alty mem­bers and included some cool shop­ping fea­tures to sup­port these cus­tomers.”  — Eric Schmitt (Amer­i­can Eagle Outfitters)
  • Hybrid Approach: “Mobile web and mobile apps will co-exist for now. Clients build­ing apps want to tap into device spe­cific fea­tures, enable off-line sup­port, or pre­mium user expe­ri­ence.” — Julie Ask (For­rester Research)

Con­fused? Wel­come to the con­ver­sa­tion. I believe that the more impor­tant ques­tion is this: What mobile strat­egy is best and most appro­pri­ate for your orga­ni­za­tion today? This blog series will cover some of the lat­est indus­try research, empow­er­ing you to decide for your­self: mobile web­site, mobile app, or hybrid?

Today we will focus on what I believe to be the foun­da­tion and first step to a solid mobile strat­egy: build­ing the mobile web­site or opti­miz­ing your site for mobile devices such as smart­phones and tablets.

Mobile Apps and Mobile Web­sites Have Plenty of Room for Improvement

I want to begin this con­ver­sa­tion by say­ing that, over­all, there’s plenty of room for improve­ment in both mobile app and mobile web­site devel­op­ment. Accord­ing to the Adobe 2013 Mobile Con­sumer Sur­vey, “On aver­age, peo­ple appear to rate their expe­ri­ences on apps and web­sites equally. A 60% aver­age sat­is­fac­tion rate for both web­sites and apps indi­cates a clear oppor­tu­nity to improve expe­ri­ences for all mobile audiences.”

Mobile audi­ences con­tinue to be, for the most part, neu­tral or only par­tially sat­is­fied with their mobile expe­ri­ences. Why? Well, con­sumers con­tinue to be more advanced than the major­ity of orga­ni­za­tions in terms of mobile usage for every­day life. Few orga­ni­za­tions are ahead of the mobile tech­nol­ogy adop­tion curve. When the pupils out­pace the teacher, what typ­i­cally hap­pens? Stu­dents become bored, frus­trated, or dis­en­gaged. In order to main­tain the edge, orga­ni­za­tions must study and learn from their con­sumers: What are their mobile con­sump­tion behav­iors and how can orga­ni­za­tions get out ahead of them in order to acquire new cus­tomers, drive sales, and more?

Paul Berney, CMO and man­ag­ing direc­tor of the Mobile Mar­ket­ing Asso­ci­a­tion, remarks in the People’s Web Report, “We are no longer divided into a world of dig­i­tal natives and immi­grants … increas­ingly, the world is dom­i­nated by dig­i­tal depen­dents.” For most of us, our smart­phones have become more per­ma­nent than our fin­ger­nails. They’re con­stantly in our hands, pock­ets, and purses. How can orga­ni­za­tions lever­age this new dig­i­tal depen­dency? First, get to know the sen­ti­ments and behav­iors of your cus­tomers. Do you know how cus­tomers use their mobile devices?

Shop­pers Pre­fer Mobile Websites

What do shop­pers pre­fer? Apps or web­sites? In the Adobe con­sumer sur­vey, an over­whelm­ing 58 per­cent pre­ferred mobile-optimized or reg­u­lar web­sites over apps, “indi­cat­ing that con­sumers might not be will­ing to down­load, install, and con­tin­u­ally upgrade appli­ca­tions.” (More on the pros and cons of apps in part two of this series.)

How­ever, it’s impor­tant to hone in on the ver­biage used here: “mobile-optimized web­sites.” This means that your web­site is highly func­tional and won­der­fully user-friendly on their mobile devices. Recent stud­ies affirm the fact that “44% of con­sumers will not return to a web­site that is not mobile friendly” and “76% of peo­ple won’t even bother try­ing to use a non-optimized site, or will turn to a com­peti­tor instead.”

Addi­tion­ally, when per­form­ing a basic search or dig­ging for infor­ma­tion, the major­ity of peo­ple pre­fer mobile web­sites over apps. For­rester Research calls this abil­ity to do quick searches dur­ing short spurts of time through­out the day Web snack­ing. Mobile Web snack­ers pre­fer to get their snacks through the mobile Web.

Build­ing for Mobile? | Start Here

Sim­i­lar to what is pro­posed by Forrester’s Julie Ask in “Mobile Matu­rity Equates to Mobile Com­pe­tency,” I rec­om­mend begin­ning with the mobile Web and set­ting aside apps for later. “The mobile Web offers a broad-reach, rel­a­tively low-cost play that helps many eBusi­ness pro­fes­sion­als get started with mobile services.”

Step 1 | Use Ana­lyt­ics to Make Discoveries

How are your cus­tomers using their mobile devices? How can you improve their expe­ri­ence inter­act­ing with your orga­ni­za­tion? How will you find out this infor­ma­tion? If you’re not already using ana­lyt­ics tools to man­age your Big Data, let’s take a quick step back and ask, “Why not?” The mobile world will only accel­er­ate its pace. Data will con­tinue to pile up. It’s imper­a­tive that you uti­lize a tool that pro­vides the nec­es­sary ana­lyt­ics as you move for­ward with mobile web­site devel­op­ment in an intel­li­gent and informed man­ner. You don’t want to just guess and “go with your gut” about your customer’s behav­iors and pat­terns.  Lead­ing orga­ni­za­tions rely on hard data in order to assess real­ity. This will enable you to build a mobile web­site that meets cus­tomers’ needs and expectations.

Step 2 | Set Up a Mobile Cen­ter of Excel­lence (MoCe)

Don’t get over­whelmed here. This doesn’t mean cre­at­ing a sep­a­rate divi­sion or busi­ness unit, but sim­ply a focused, tal­ented team with mobile always on their minds. Start small, gather the right group of peo­ple, and begin the col­lab­o­ra­tive process that will cat­alyze your brand for mobile. For more on this topic, see my pre­vi­ous blog.

Step 3 | Build Your Mobile Website

Take a look at what Amer­i­can Eagle Out­fit­ters (AEO) did. They began their mobile strat­egy by opti­miz­ing their web­site for mobile. Their inno­va­tions include launch­ing geo­tar­geted ver­sions of their “land­ing page for vis­i­tors in areas where the com­pany is intro­duc­ing new stores.” This enabled them to “offer coupons on the web­site within spe­cific met­ro­pol­i­tan areas, redeemable within the new stores and specif­i­cally tar­geted to attract new cus­tomers for the company’s youth brands.” Through their mobile-optimized web­site, they track sales and orders from mobile devices, allow­ing them to adjust invest­ments and improve the mobile ver­sion of the site based on data. From there, AEO moved on to build apps for their loyal cus­tomers. Today they are one of the exem­plars in mobile.

Stay tuned for more on mobile strate­gies. Next week I’ll be cov­er­ing the pros and cons of mobile app devel­op­ment and what you should know before you build your own.


When I look at the headline for this post, I think the answer is, "Yes." You've nailed the approach perfectly, Ray. And in fact, it's the exact approach I've taken at my company too. Start with the lowest common denominator (a responsive website for us), then build and augment from there. If you can't serve your base mobile user in whatever use case they're experiencing, you have no business diving head first into a native application. Thanks for helping marketers see the light in this conversation!


Therefore, companies that have the desire to buy email lists should take time to consider the quality of the list that they are purchasing. Bigger is not always better when it comes to buying email lists, and in fact, buying a larger Buy Email Databasesometimes result in wasted money.

<a href=" http://www.seoexparte.com/buy-email-database/">Buy Email Database</a>