Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Think Big, Go Small

Sometimes, you want to bake a cake from scratch.  Other times, someone has baked an excellent cake and offered you a slice, for free, and you would be a fool to pass.  In this case, Google has made an excellent website for brands to understand the importance of mobile in their digital marketing strategy and provides resources to build their mobile site.  They call their initiative GoMo.  It even provides a tool to assess the readiness of your website for mobile, and asks the right questions.

As an example, this year, on Black Friday, online retail sales grew 24.3%, according to IBM Coremetrics data, yet mobile traffic increased 255% and mobile retail sales grew over 300%!  This does not specify the impact that mobile has at the beginning of the consumer journey or the impact that it increasingly has with mobile loyalty schemes.  iPhone and iPad, alone, accounted for 10.2% of all online traffic this Thanksgiving.  The bottom line is designing a web presence today without building in optimized support for tablet and mobile is asking your customers, viewers and fans to go elsewhere.

So, where to start?  First, since mobile web is the principle destination from search, having an optimized mobile web presence is key.  With modern, responsive design techniques, one design can scale from larger PC and tablet sizes down to smaller smartphone and feature phone form factors, optimizing what content and actions are available based on key user scenarios.  In smaller form factors, the focus can be on quick hitting information and actions.  Starting the design from the smallest form factor also helps to focus on simplicity and impact, which can benefit the designs for larger form factor devices, as well.

From there, brands can branch out to offer optimized app experiences that many fans and consumers prefer.  Companies like Facebook and LinkedIn have done an excellent job of blurring the lines between mobile web and apps, but for most brands, they can think of an app on the user's home screen like a loyalty card in their wallet.  If they like a brand enough to carry their card, it is a meaningful indicator of the affinity they have for the brand.  A brand needs to capitalize on that and deliver value from the app, or run the risk of abandonment.

For many companies, they need to walk before they can run, but ignoring the growing impact on mobile in digital marketing is an increasingly dangerous gamble.

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