How to join the mobile revolution and help change your world Featured

8:02pm EDT September 30, 2011
Kelly Borth, CEO and chief strategy officer, Greencrest Kelly Borth, CEO and chief strategy officer, Greencrest

The mobile revolution is here and skyrocketing. It reminds me of social media in 2009 —it was no longer something to ponder, but rather to embrace.

One of the biggest adjustments businesses have had to make in the first decade of the millennium to remain relevant has been to adapt to the major shift in the way people communicate. Well, it’s time to crank it up another notch and join the mobile revolution.

Smartphones are leading the charge

According to Google, approximately 25 percent of the U.S. population has smartphones. By 2013, the smartphone market is predicted to grow by 233 percent. The Nielson Co. reported earlier this year that recent smartphone purchases consisted of 50 percent Android, 25 percent Apple and 15 percent BlackBerry devices.

Mobile now affects all digital channels: search, e-mail, display ads, social, games, Web and commerce. Smartphones are changing consumer behavior with loyalty programs, comparison shopping apps and WiFi capability, among others.

According to Google, in a week’s time, 81 percent of us browsed, 77 percent searched and 48 percent watched a video via our smartphones. Additionally, 74 percent made a purchase from information we got from our smartphones.

Businesses need to get mobile-smart

Getting your business mobile-smart starts with conducting a simple audit. Begin with your Web analytics report to see how many visitors are coming to your website via mobile, where they are going and what percent are iPhone, Android or BlackBerry users. This will tell you that the mobile revolution is not a myth.

Next, with your mobile phone in your hand, type your website address into your phone. What do you see? Try to find information on your website. Is it easy or impossible to navigate? This will tell you how mobile-ready your company is.

Now analyze a typical customer. Are they executives, consumers, what age group, etc.? With your customer in mind, think about when your company sends out an e-mail blast, where do your customers open that e-mail? This will tell you how important it is for you to get on board.

Then do a little research to uncover what your competitors are doing and where opportunities may exist to differentiate your company so you can move ahead of the pack. This will show you why it is important from a strategic perspective. If your business is one of the 80 percent that are not mobile-ready, this should be high on your priority list.

The difference between mobile app and mobile site

Mobile applications are developed for specific mobile operating systems. This is why it’s important to know if customers are using Android, iPhone or BlackBerry devices. Unfortunately, one app does not fit all. Each operating system requires its own app. Each app must be approved by the operating system gatekeepers to be added to its suite of downloadable apps.

Mobile apps are expensive to create. They are software applications built for the mobile environment. They provide access to specific data even when there is no Web connection. Not all businesses need a mobile app.

A mobile site is built similar to a website only for a mobile environment, and just as there are Web standards for the development of websites, there are standards for mobile sites. Unlike mobile apps, I would argue that nearly all businesses need a mobile site. There are some ways to offer a more friendly mobile experience using your current website, but they are temporary at best.

Check your company’s mobile IQ

Make sure your marketing team is up to speed on mobile marketing: mobile pay-per-click, mobile optimization, short message service/multimedia messaging service, mobile display ads, mobile e-mail, QR codes, etc.

Just as with website marketing, there are metrics for tracking mobile apps use, mobile sites and mobile searches. With this information in hand, you can begin developing clearly defined goals and objectives to obtain success.

KELLY BORTH is CEO and chief strategy officer for Greencrest, a 20-year-old brand development, strategic marketing and digital media firm that turns market players into market leaders. Borth has received numerous honors for her business and community leadership. She serves on several local advisory boards and is one of 25 certified brand strategists in the United States. Reach her at (614) 885-7921 or kborth@greencrest.com, or for more information, visit www.greencrest.com.