Why Mobile Must Become Your Customer Strategy

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Business’ stakeholders are comforted by the view that the purpose of a business is to create shareholder value (or to “maximize profitability”). This is true.

But it is more crucial to emphasize the path to that purpose. Actually, the path to any “shareholder value” is the purpose of a business.

The customers of a business are the path to the business’ profitability.

Creating customers and delivering value to them is thus the purpose of a business. This thought echoes Peter Drucker’s well-worn business wisdom. Delivering value to customers means reaching them where they spend most of their time. As several researches have shown that “where” is mobile—people’s smartphones or tablets.

‘The purpose of a business is to create a customer’ — Peter Drucker

Does your company have a customer strategy—selecting the right market for your product or service, motivating the right people to buy from you, and getting them to take actions that promote you? I have come to the conclusion that a customer strategy really should be mobile or a mobile strategy.

Actually, I drew this conclusion based on a couple research into the domination of mobile devices among people. But what I want to do in this article is highlight 7 trends from a key research by 451 Research that proposed mobile trends for 2016, which are a clarion call for organizations to make every aspect of their business or endeavor accessible on mobile or get ignored by the customers who could make it grow.

2016 Trends in Enterprise Mobility

Recommended in the report by 451 Research is that “all future projects supporting employees or customer engagement need to include mobility, as a larger percentage of enterprise computing is taking place on mobile devices.” So let’s review these 7 trends in light of how some companies have been affected by this increasing dominance of mobile.

I will compare one or two companies for each trend that have done well adjusting and seeing “profitable” results and one or two that do have some adjusting to do.

The ultimate implication of this is that manufacturers, vendors or service providers may shift to a “mobile-first mind-set” when building technologies to enhance the customer experience, and in turn drive more profitable customer actions.

“All future projects supporting employees or customer engagement need to include mobility, as a larger percentage of enterprise computing is taking place on mobile devices.”

Trend 1: IT Decision-Makers Will Shift to a Mobile-First Mindset

Implication: IT decision-makers are increasingly interested in mobilizing general internal business processes, to the point that it exceeds interest in mobilizing the traditional primary target for mobile apps–field service and sales.

Comparisons: Facebook Vs. Yahoo: Facebook’s mobile strategy and success can easily be represented with the equation, Mobile UX + 1.5 Billion Users + Ads = $2.9bil. Yahoo, on the other hand, was late to the party. Marissa Mayer attempted to mobilize Yahoo, and while she was doing a good job at it, Verizon came knocking and handed her a golden parachute.

Trend 2: Culture, Not Costs, Will Be the Biggest Barrier to Wider Adoption

Implication: The latent potential of virtualizing the assets and objects of the physical world and connecting them via the Internet holds dramatic transformation potential. Only cultural discrimination would hinder this phenomenal transformation.

Comparisons: Snapchat Vs. Yammer: The core of Snapchat’s mobile strategy is culture. By studying potential target markets and applying great segregation techniques, Snapchat has successfully been able to target the younger generation of internet users. With over 150 million users and a $20 billion valuation, Snapchat is the fastest growing social media company in the world.

Four years ago, Yammer set out to influence the way we work with the use of elements of social media. Still, Yammer has not seemed to let it strategy reflect what the office really is, an environment for productive work.

Trend 3: Technology Boundaries Will Increasingly Blur Across the Mobile Application Life Cycle

Implication: Almost a decade into the era of mass smart mobility, and with 64% of employees and students using a smartphone at work and school respectively, a range of technology, organizational and regulatory obstacles are nevertheless still preventing the meaningful integration of mobile into archaic processes and workflows.

Comparisons: Uber & EduSocial: Operating in about 250 cities in 50 countries, San Francisco-based technology company, Uber has the most successful shared economy business model and is said to be doubling its revenue every 6 months!

EduSocial is extending learning beyond the classroom as well as making learning fun and it is doing so without changing the behavior of the student. It has done this by taking into consideration and influencing the application with all the elements of a student’s academic life cycle.

Trend 4: Ecosystem Partnerships Will Drive Further Consolidation in the Mobile Space

Implication: The mobile space is maturing. This has resulted in market consolidation as vendors seek to expand their capabilities to address a growing market.

Comparisons: Samsung Vs Apple: Samsung’s penetration into the mobile market was nothing short of phenomenal. It did this by leveraging partnerships with strategic stakeholders everywhere it went. Ecosystem partnerships truly drives the success of Samsung.

Apple’s manner of closing itself off to partnerships is a little disturbing. A recent strangeness about its manners is nixing the 3.5mm audio jack from its latest iteration of its iconic iPhone, the 7. It still amazes me how it holds its top spot among tech companies despite. But we will see how the 4th quarter plays out for it.

Trend 5: Small and Medium-Sized Business Mobility Issues Will Gain Heightened Operator Focus

Implication: Mobile operators have overhauled how they deliver mobile devices and services, and now those changes are coming to the enterprise, in particular, smaller enterprises where many of the mobility dynamics closely mirror those in the consumer sector.

Comparisons: I feel Orange and MTN’s strategy for the SMB’s aligns perfectly with this trend.

AT&T and Glo on the other hand, seem to be too focused on the big leagues, which may eventually place them at a disadvantaged position going forward in this war to win on mobile.

Trend 6: Improved In-app Purchase Adoption Will Further Disrupt the Way Goods and Services are Paid For

Implication: Evidently, more transactional volumes will be processed via mobile applications as opposed to web applications of yesterday. Mobile developers will partner with payment processors with support for mobile and slowly phase out web-only payment processors.

Comparisons: Stripe Checkout Vs Interswitch Webpay: With Stripe Checkout, a merchant has the complete freedom to create the payment experience he wants within their mobile app. Whereas Interswitch’s primary merchant services redirect people to a branded webpage of theirs in order to pay. This pushes customers into a completely different user experience that they’re unfamiliar with, further degrading their experience with the company.

Trend 7: Businesses Will Need To Plan for Rapidly Increasing Mobile Commerce Demand

Implication: Data from Forrester clearly shows an increase in mobile commerce transactions conducted by average users between 2014 and 2015.

Comparisons: Amazon.com Vs. Walmart: This is where Amazon is ahead of Walmart–for now at least. Amazon is well-known for its algorithmic approach to presenting particular products to its customers, as well as using real-time data to fuel dynamic pricing.

Walmart, on the other hand, has lagged behind significantly when it comes to building a robust online platform that can even come close to Amazon’s.

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