Coming up with a mobile direction is all about context. If it’s to be a functional, sustainable part of your business your mobile strategy needs to be integrated accordingly – think of it as something that arises naturally from your overall company direction, rather than a tacked-on afterthought.
Here’s how to craft a mobile direction that feels right, honest and real – something that’s an asset to your company rather than just a questionable expense on your IT and marketing ledgers.
It all comes from a place of understanding.
It may sound a touch new-age, but your mobile direction should, in a sense, come from within. By that we mean that your company’s overall strategy should be the key guiding force behind your approach to mobile.
Ask yourself the following:
• What underpins your company?
• What are you aiming to be?
• And where are you aiming to go?
These key questions are behind how you shape consumers’ experience of your company – and how you answer them will be integral to how mobile can be used to further shape that experience.
Don’t think of mobile as a digital channel. It’s not just a place to broadcast and make noise. It’s a touchpoint – an opportunity for consumers to positively engage with your brand. An opportunity to guide a customer journey – and add value to that interaction.
In business everything needs a reason for being.
Once you’ve established the place and purpose of mobile in your company strategy, you’ll need to get buy-in for your mobile strategy. After all, it may be organic and essential, but it still costs money.
And anything that costs money needs a business case – whether it’s to get the nod from the powers-that-be, or to justify the time and resources that are going to be channelled into it.
So what makes your mobile strategy worth it? What would you pitch to a room full of investors if you were limited to just one sentence?
This one sentence is your hero sentence. Your mobile strategy’s reason for being.
Once you have it, you can start digging deeper and building things out. You have your overarching idea – but what are the different components that will go into it?
As you start mapping this out, you’ll start coming up logistical and resource-based details such as:
• who’ll be working on each component
• how much time each component will take
• what kind of technology stack you’ll need
• what kind of development approach you’ll take
• how much it’ll all cost.
Once you’ve determined that your mobile strategy is viable and doable it’s time to start homing in on the expression of that strategy – your app or product.
Are you making something the world needs?
You’ve spent all that time getting company buy-in. Now it’s time to ensure that you’re going to get buy-in from the most important stakeholders – your users.
Your company exists for its customers, after all. If you’re making something that’s not 100% for them, then why are you making it in the first place?
That’s why when it comes to defining your product, you should take a leaf out of the “design thinking” handbook. There are plenty of great ideas out there – and plenty fail. The biggest reason for failure? You’re making something that no one actually needs or wants.
By defining your product in a way that actually meets the needs and wants of your users, you’ll be streets ahead – and you’ll be fulfilling your promise of a mobile strategy that ties into your overall business strategy.
Ask yourself the following:
• What problem is your product solving?
• Why is it needed?
• What are the current solutions?
• Why don’t the current solutions work?
• Who is your user?
• What will they get out of it?
From there, you can start crafting a use case – the different steps that make up the ‘story’ of how someone uses your product.
Focus on the who, how and the why of your product, and be ruthless about cutting features or extraneous elements that aren’t essential to getting your user from A to B.
Start with the simplest version of your product possible – even if that means pen and paper. It’s much more time- and cost-effective to build a product up than it is to cut it back down.
Never lose sight of your customers.
Once you have your product, it’s all about testing and refining – a process that never really ends. Why? Because your customers’ needs will shift little bit by little bit, and it’s your job to shift with them.
And if your mobile strategy direction is properly locked into your overall business strategy, you’ll be able to keep designing and iterating products that they just can’t live without.