Comparing mobile-first companies head to head illustrates just how hard it can be to get strategy and execution right. The best current example is Facebook vs. Twitter. Both are world-changing mobile-first companies, but their metrics are headed in opposite directions. Twitter is the newspaper of the 21st century, and as soon as I have some spare time I’m going to write up how I think they can excel at it. Facebook is more successfully adapting to changing consumer expectations than Twitter.
Half-measures are not going to cut it. Digital transformation is first and foremost abouthelping people through the culture shock. You need to think about the big picture from day one, not count on pockets of innovation through corporate labs and incubators. Digital transformation requires total organizational commitment.
Don’t be afraid about going mobile-first no matter where your organization is currently at. Internet billionaire Marc Cuban once thought mobile would crush Facebook. Now mobile 80% of their total revenue, up 82% annually. Average revenue per user is up 26% as they have pivoted to mobile. Facebook’s mobile-first strategy is paying off.
If you’re competing against a mobile-first rival, it can be hard to sell the idea that you care more about your customer. The next time you hear cab companies complain about Uber and regulation, remember how many of them found obvious uses for technology to make their passengers safer. Uber using smartphone data to track how fast drivers are going.
Don’t ever underestimate your competition by thinking “it’s just an app.” Developers are purposefully mining psychological research to make their apps habit-forming, just like drugs. Successful apps are designed to addict you.
Don’t assume VR is a far off technology, it could go mainstream as early as next year. I think Apple cleverly leaked that they hired a top VR researcher to distract from slowing smartphone sales in their earnings report. That led to an analyst question during their earnings call, to which CEO Tim Cook called VR “really cool” and “not a niche.” He previously called the wrist “profoundly interesting” almost a 1.5 years before the launch of the Apple Watch, which was rumored to be late due to manufacturing issues.
Find ways to embrace mobile behaviors, even if they annoy you. Fighting consumer mobile behaviors is a pointless exercise. The world’s best restaurants have given up the fight against smartphones.
If you think people are stuck to their smartphones now, just wait until battery life anxiety disappears. Apple is reportedly developing an iPhone with wireless charging for as soon as next year.
If you want to become mobile-first, you have to enforce it on all products. Try saying “If you come in and try to show me a desktop product, I’m going to kick you out. You have to come in and show me a mobile product.” That’s what Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook employees.
Mobile is raising consumers’ expectations of value. If you’re developing a new product or service you need to be 10x better, and save people money. Taking the right lesson from Uber.
Facebook has set consumer expectation that mobile services will learn about them over time and offer greater personalization. Music industry executive Ethan Kaplan feels likeafter nine years, Twitter just met him for the first time every time he uses it.
If you think consumer expectations are high now, wait until artificial intelligence becomes ubiquitous. AI will run locally on your device thanks to new kinds of chips. Google partners with Movidius to bring machine intelligence to consumer mobile devices.
There are plenty of undiscovered ways to help your customers and employees with mobile. Think about the context in which they are doing a task and you just might find something new that elevates the experience. Facebook filed a patent to help people carpool to events they are meeting at.
Mobile marketing is a good first step, but it’s not enough. Brands need to transform the entire customer experience to differentiate. Only 20% of marketers have enough mobile budget, probably because only 33% of them know how to measure mobile ROI. Forrester Research thinks most brands will underinvest in mobile again in 2016.
If you’re competing against a mobile-first player, expect them to get even more press than before. Journalists and pundits will be looking for growth stories in mobile software now that smartphone stories are becoming more negative. Smartphone sales are slowing in the face of market saturation and weak currencies in many key markets.
Creating content that people want to consume, and promoting it through native advertising, is going to become a key way for marketing to survive. Samsung is joining Apple in allowing ad-blocking in their mobile browsers. It isn’t happening in apps, where consumers spend most of their time…yet. Facebook added ad-blockers to the risk section of their annual SEC filings, and Google’s ad boss says he’s worried. Maybe that’s why the head of the Internet Advertising Bureau called ad-blockers “immoral” and a “war against diversity and freedom of expression,” during an apparent break from writing Donald Trump speeches.
You need to reframe what “real work” is. People are finding new ways to get work done on mobile devices that they used to do on PCs. Resisting a mobile future is futile.
I’d like to believe that even when I’m wrong, I’m right. A few weeks ago I said that Google Cardboard was the #1 virtual reality device at 1M shipped units. Google just announced they shipped 5M Cardboard units.