It seems most mobile marketers have arrived at the conclusion that "responsive design is just fine for now."

Well, maybe not.

Yes, it's easier and cheaper. But there's a growing consensus that apps must vary from desktop to tablet to phone. And now there are de riguer "contextual" considerations, like location, channel hopping, local time and language. In short, mobile marketing has again gotten very complicated, very quickly.

All this and more was the focus of an April 24 webinar produced by CMSWire and SDL. Lou Casal, senior director of product marketing for SDL, and the company's vice president for mobile, Phillip Clement. Together, they served-up a soup-to-nuts look at the factors that marketers need to consider to "Deliver Best in Class Mobile Customer Experiences."

Know Thy Customer

They began with a deep dive into the importance of understanding your customer -- a true challenge on an enterprise level when your best customers may be moving between desktop and tablet and phone several times a day. Marketers who can keep pace with those customers have a distinct advantage.

"When we're in this noisy, chaotic environment, if someone understands who you are, where you are, what you're doing, they understand you in our context for interactive marketing," said Casal. "They understand your device. They understand the things you trust or don't trust. They understand the individual."

That level of understanding raises the very nature of the relationship between marketer and customer, he said. "When someone understands me at this level, I usually describe them as a friend or family member," Casal added. "This is where the marketers really get to shine -- when they think about things from an outside-in perspective."

Casal pointed to recent findings by Forrester Research that identifies "where customer experience fits into your overall mix. It's more than just good customer service across all the touch points," he said.

Context and Content

Content is "the foundation" for this relationship, but context is just as critical. If you seek success in the age of the customer, Clement said, you must have a context strategy.  Or as Casal put it: "If customer experience is what drives success, context drives customer experience."

This requires marketers to think like customers so that they truly understand what kind of experience the customer is having. It's no longer enough to design a mobile app that meets the company's needs. That app needs to serve the customer's needs.

"Technical people and marketing people really have to join hands and get together and step into the shoes of their customers," said Clement. Marketers have to ask themselves "how does this feel" to the customer.