Mobile provides a golden opportunity for companies to forge genuine connections with customers.

According to Pew Research Center, 90 percent of American adults own a cell phone, and many of those people are attached to their device. Sixty-seven percent of cell phone users check their phone for messages and alerts even when they don’t hear a ring or notification, and 29 percent say their cell phones are something “they can’t imagine living without.”

Devising an effective mobile strategy that capitalizes on this phenomena requires balancing data-driven insights with creativity and technologies. Together, these can create a transformative customer experience.

Taking the Lead

CMOs are at the helm of these critical customer connections. They make sure various teams steer toward the same goals and ask the right questions. The goal is create the desired level of customer engagement. So CMOs should ask the following questions when developing a mobile strategy:

  • How do we use mobile to create conversations, uncover hidden customer needs and strengthen connections?
  • Where are our digital connection points now, and where do we want them to be now that mobile is the default device preference for the majority of consumers?

CMOs should research approaches for their relevance to help get into the minds of customers. They should also consider building user personas to create and map customer journeys with mobile. These customer journeys can serve as a reference point for creating the right experiences that will produce meaningful, enduring connections.

5 Big Mistakes

While there are many approaches to get to the right path, here are five common mistakes CMOs make that can potentially derail any well-planned effort.

1. Take an Episodic, Campaign-Centric Approach to Technology

When building a mobile strategy, CMOs should think about technology in a similar way as CIOs.

Consider the complexity and time it takes to integrate the technology platforms required to embark on and/or complete an integrated mobile strategy. Partnering with colleagues in the C-suite — and doing so early — will create a solid framework for common decision-making.

The framework should include a process for identifying business goals, like delivering an integrated multichannel experience for customers that encourages them to spend more time interacting with the brand.

Align the teams supporting the mobile strategy around these common goals and together, figure out the best approach to achieving desired, enduring results. By seeking input and alignment early, CMOs will have greater success in launching an effective strategy seamlessly.

2. Evaluating Channel Performance as Disparate Parts

As Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” CMOs who evaluate each channel separately lose out on a tremendous opportunity to leverage the net/net of an entire integrated system.

For CMOs in digitally mature, high performance organizations, it's highly likely that each of their channels of engagement are operating as designed. But to assume they are all working together is a key potential failure point. Customer experiences are complex, multidimensional and intertwined.

If the call center isn’t properly integrated with the website, for example, call center experts will not be in a position to share relevant product details, promotions and/or deals, resulting in a less than stellar customer experience. Think about this dynamic in the context of mobile and the myriad potential gaps in content and support.

3. Underestimating Investment Needs

There is no silver bullet or one-and-done solution that will be the answer that drives consumer engagement. Investing in marketing solutions is an ongoing process, and mobile is no exception. Continuous investment is required because consumer needs and experiences change all the time.

Responsive design is one effective solution that reduces costs and future-proofs digital investments, but it can’t meet every potential use case when the goal is end-to-end digital experience management.

CMOs who understand the value of mobile investments in the context of short-term and long-term goals -- and who think about an initiative’s cost relative to benefits and results -- are less likely to experience sticker-shock. And they are more likely to have a well-rounded program that meets the ever-changing needs of consumers.

4. Operating with Insufficient or Incomplete Data

Understanding channel performance through data is a critical and necessary element for making informed decisions. CMOs should assess data across multiple channels such as mobile, advertising, website conversions, call center and the like to gauge what’s working and what’s not. But it’s not enough to think about data as a static planning input.

Think about trend analysis over time, and invest in predictive analytics to anticipate future changes in the channel mix. Constantly evaluate the metrics and measure the cost against the return to effectively make investments where they will reap the largest reward.

5. Operating on Data Alone

With the deluge of big data and analytics solutions, it’s in vogue for CMOs to be guided by data. Making data the sole driver of mobile strategy can deliver a good outcome, but not a great one. And it definitely won’t be transformative.

Never underestimate the importance of creativity and the value it brings to the process. While 20 data points may reveal how customers are engaging through mobile, an integrated team of strategists, designers, developers and analysts can interpret data and transform it into a bigger story.

That means applying insights across stakeholder groups to create a compelling and effective mobile strategy. Rather than defining the experience with a mechanical, data- and technology-driven approach, leverage creative teams of people in the discovery phase to map a more fluid journey that is then enhanced by the right kind of technology and platforms.

Looking Ahead

Recent mobile commerce research points to an increasingly complex buyer journey, making it ever more important to understand the needs of customers and plan for changes to accommodate those needs.

In a world where consumers are bombarded with information, it's critical that CMOs understand customer motivations, frustrations and values to effectively create a positive experience from the first interaction. It will result in greater retention, loyalty and a more profitable bottom line.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Title image by  iantmcfarland