The most frequent question to anyone working on the mobile marketing space is: “Should I built a mobile website, a mobile app or go with a hybrid solution?”. Most experts will start talking about the advantages and disadvantages of each option, where the market is going and how the current technological advances and trends are shaping it.
I, on the other hand, choose to respond to this question with another one, one that would start a meaningful and constructive dialog. The question I choose to pose is “Why don’t you tell me about the content you plan to deliver to your audience?”.
At this point you will probably rush to call me an amateur and proclaim that you don’t need to ask this, because you have already studied and understood your client’s or prospect’s business. But before you do that, allow me to explain my point.
What is “content”?
“Content” is your most important asset in the digital world. Do not confuse it with your product, but think of it as a virtual representation. By content we refer to the digital media and tools that a marketer plans to employ in his marketing campaign. These will be used to allow him to meet his ultimate goals, higher sales, popularity, subscriptions, etc.
We are talking about text, photographs, videos, 360° showrooms, 3D galleries, voice services, real-time chat, social sharing options, interactive games and other digital assets that are created or employed by a marketing team for online promotion. Multiple types of content can be employed according to the digital marketing strategy followed by the business.
Keep in mind that we live in a multi screen and multi platform world and the question is not about what technology to use, but rather how your content, your online product, will reach your audience more effectively. That is why you need to first identify and understand it and then create your strategy on how to deliver it and allow your audience to interact, manipulate and share it.
The decision on the actual technology will come afterwards, and should be the optimal way to allow you to reach your goals. It sounds simple, but you would be surprised by how many professionals make the mistake of overlooking their client’s content and focus only on technology and trends.
Putting things in perspective
For example, consider that you had to design a web solution for a client who relies heavily to bespoken content for his products and has a history of delivering media and highly interactive features to his audience, content that is characterized as “rich”. Probably the obvious solution would be to use what everyone has been talking about the last couple of years, Responsive Web Design.
You would think that this approach would help you reach a broader audience by targeting with one site both desktop and mobile devices. All you had to do would be to adapt the client’s content to smaller screen devices and then start building the mobile experience from there.
In this case, what you missed taking into account is your client’s existing marketing strategy and how the existing “rich” content needs to be delivered in such a way that will allow users to interact in innovative and engaging ways with it. Your solution would most probably lead to tuned down, featureless and confusing versions of the content adjusted for a large number of devices. Not to mention the expenditure of resources needed in order to keep up with the device/OS developments and the content adjustment.
A better approach would be focusing on the client’s marketing goals. A very rich desktop experience accompanied by a tuned down mobile version would allow the client to create buzz, capture attention and reach a broad spectrum of devices. But this is not enough, you also need to focus on more strategic moves, e.g. to develop an engaging native mobile application or specific micro web sites. These simple and eventually lower cost solutions could be very engaging and effective when used wisely.
So, even if we are looking to deliver excellence to our clients, we sometimes fail to see the big picture. It might be hard to accept, but most engineers – including myself – tend to get carried away by the latest “hot” trends in technology. But at the end, success is not about employing the latest technology but about using the right tool to meet the client’s goals.
About the author
Alkiviadis is a software engineer, passionate about digital content, its delivery, presentation and protection. His work in the mobile web industry for the most part of the last decade includes the delivery of innovative and engaging user experiences. He currently is the Mobile Technical Consultant for Moovweb based in San Francisco, California. Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Categories: Mobile Marketing