US adults now spend more time with dig­i­tal media—primarily mobile—than with their tele­vi­sions. Recent Nielsen data shows that con­sumers pre­fer mobile apps, spend­ing “89 per­cent of media time in mobile” using social net­work­ing, email, and con­tent apps. That’s why the great­est invest­ment a com­pany can make to future-proof its brand is in mobile cus­tomer experiences.

Com­pa­nies that want to claim some valu­able mobile space for them­selves will need to deter­mine the best approaches and tech­nol­ogy invest­ments for their brands. Despite mobile being a rel­a­tively new fron­tier, there are already an over­whelm­ing num­ber of options. Respon­sive design, or adap­tive mobile Web? Native apps or hybrid apps? Dynamic media, or min­i­mal con­tent? And what about inte­gra­tions? The pow­ers of geolo­ca­tion, social media plat­forms, email, QR codes, con­nected appli­ances, and data trans­fer offer a mul­ti­tude of pos­si­bil­i­ties for your mobile presence.

Not only that, but there is an over­abun­dance of mobile apps in the app store. It’s no longer enough to sim­ply make an app; yours might never be noticed if it’s not highly use­ful and thought­fully designed to drive engage­ment. Mobile apps are crit­i­cal for build­ing cus­tomer rela­tion­ships and loy­alty, and per­son­al­iz­ing your mobile expe­ri­ence for exist­ing cus­tomers is key.

Don’t start off try­ing to sift through all the pos­si­bil­i­ties. That’s a back­ward approach that will either par­a­lyze you with inde­ci­sion or lead to an inco­her­ent and irrel­e­vant mobile strat­egy. To develop a focused, user-centric game plan that yields mea­sur­able results, you must start with a sin­gle customer.

Build from the Cus­tomer in

Just like an archi­tect will first meet with clients to under­stand how they want to work, play, eat, and relax in their space, and then draft the plans, study­ing your cus­tomers is fun­da­men­tal to your job. The archi­tect applies knowl­edge of the users to not only deter­mine the dimen­sions and flow of a space, but the mate­ri­als and meth­ods used for con­struc­tion. Do they need it built fast? Do they want only sus­tain­ably har­vested wood? The beauty of mar­ble, or the prac­ti­cal­ity of vinyl siding?

Why would Face­book, a com­pany dom­i­nat­ing mobile social space, acquire a fit­ness track­ing app? Because even though peo­ple use the Face­book app, they are increas­ingly look­ing for apps that are use­ful rather than purely social. You have to make sim­i­lar deci­sions about the design and func­tion or your mobile prop­er­ties, as well as the tech­nolo­gies you’ll use to build them. Here is a two-part approach to draft­ing a suc­cess­ful mobile strat­egy blueprint.

1. Lay a Foun­da­tion of Cus­tomer Data and Insights

Your ulti­mate goal is to deepen cus­tomer rela­tion­ships with con­tex­tu­ally rel­e­vant and engag­ing mobile expe­ri­ences, and you won’t get there by sim­ply mim­ic­k­ing the lat­est flashy mobile cam­paign. Learn every­thing you can about your end users, talk to them if pos­si­ble, and take a walk in their shoes. Don’t make assump­tions about pref­er­ences and habits that aren’t based on sur­veys, usabil­ity stud­ies, cus­tomer sto­ries and reviews, or other forms of per­sonal insight into cus­tomers’ actual lives and moti­va­tions. Observe and mea­sure behav­ior, pur­chase path, and engage­ment trends, leav­ing no stone unturned.

From this infor­ma­tion you will begin to form nuanced user per­sonas, which you can then con­nect to core moti­va­tions and aspi­ra­tions. If you dis­cover from the start that your audi­ence is largely moti­vated by both sta­tus and con­nect­ed­ness, you can build your entire mobile strat­egy around shar­ing your brand influ­ence through a social experience.

2. Frame Your Strat­egy with Aligned Technologies

Align­ing your data, con­tent, and tech­nol­ogy will empower you to deliver tar­geted and effec­tive cam­paigns for the long term. Mobile mar­ket­ing can be com­plex, requir­ing coor­di­na­tion across mul­ti­ple chan­nels and touch points, and inte­gra­tions with out­side ser­vices, plat­forms, and media. To ensure a seam­less mobile cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, you’ll want flex­i­ble and robust tech­nol­ogy that a whole team can utilize.

Devel­op­ers are “real­iz­ing that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solu­tion for their mobile devel­op­ment process.” Some ser­vices may per­form bet­ter as native apps, whereas oth­ers need to be cross-platform. Hav­ing the abil­ity to choose based on the spe­cific goals and func­tional require­ments of each prop­erty, along with the busi­ness needs and skill sets of your team, is key.

As mobile expe­ri­ences become a pri­mary way for cus­tomers to engage with brands, it’s not only devel­op­ers who have an inter­est, but also mar­keters who need the abil­ity to update con­tent and per­son­al­ize expe­ri­ences. Many com­pa­nies strug­gle with updates that take weeks to imple­ment. Devel­op­ers and mar­keters need to look beyond a fast ini­tial build, and design for con­sis­tent, rapid updates to keep the mobile expe­ri­ence fresh and relevant.

The lat­est ver­sion of Adobe Expe­ri­ence Man­ager con­tains unique mobile offer­ings sup­port­ing the range of mobile Web and app needs. It lets users lever­age hybrid app devel­op­ment, build apps for iPhone and Android, test it all in sim­u­la­tors, and update from a sin­gle com­pre­hen­sive interface.

Take Your Mobile Strat­egy to the Next Level

Opti­miz­ing the mobile cus­tomer expe­ri­ence starts with a deep under­stand­ing of your audi­ence aligned with the right tech­nolo­gies for you: the foun­da­tion and fram­ing of your new mobile strat­egy. To main­tain a com­pet­i­tive and sus­tain­able strat­egy, you will need to begin nur­tur­ing mul­ti­ple points of con­tact and con­ver­sion. Mobile touch points are essen­tial to your brand’s dig­i­tal cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, unlock­ing both one-to-one engage­ment and social com­mu­ni­ties, as well as con­nect­ing peo­ple to your other dig­i­tal channels.

Con­sider the whole cus­tomer life­cy­cle. What do you want your cus­tomers to do today and in the future? Can you make the expe­ri­ence rel­e­vant again and again as the cus­tomer rela­tion­ship evolves? Fol­low along for my next post, where I’ll dis­cuss wiring and fin­ish­ing your mobile meth­ods with per­son­al­ized con­tent and engag­ing apps.

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