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[DMX 2014] App-ification: finding lasting success in mobile

If you're still asking 'Does my business need to be mobile', Steve Gardner of DigitLab suggests changing your thinking to 'How does my business find success with mobile', stat...
Steve Gardner of DigitLab, presenting at the DMX Conference

Steve Gardner of DigitLab spoke at the DMX Conference 2014 about the need to pay attention to consumers who are increasingly mobile-dependent as digital natives. He says we could spend days on the topic, asking which platform to optimise for, how to best generate revenue based on back-end infrastructure, or how to advertise in the mobile space through the channels available to us. The questions are all tactical but the answer will differ based on the specific scenario faced.

Gardner says there are two points that've helped him understand the concept of success in mobile, namely mobile maturity and mobile moments.

We're finally reaching mobile maturity

"Our kids get this," says Gardner, mentioning that his daughter is one of the growing trend of children who tries to swipe the TV screen to show different content. It's clear progression in how the mobile market has matured. As our activity changes, so we become more demanding of services received from mobile apps.

© Cienpies Design –
Gardner says you can almost see a clear progression from simple mobile communication, which progresses to consumption of content, and matures when we reach the stage of feeling comfortable transacting and making payments through mobile. First comes the exploration phase, where what's on a company's website translates into a basic mobile app, with no rocket science involved. Next comes acceleration, which involves taking an e-commerce idea and translating it into mobile. Next comes a stage of doing business differently based on new strategies through transformation, like the Discovery Health ID, which means your medical records now transcend physical spaces. Last is the mobile-first phase, characterised by start-ups disrupting traditional industries. It's difficult for large corporates to make this shift but some have made the change, such as how Uber is transforming the taxi industry worldwide.

Once we understand this, Gardner says we need to ask where the target market and business lie in the progression. He suggests reading the Forrester Report on mastering the mobile mind shift. This is based on three key points of understanding mobile intensity, as well as mobile expectation and mobile behaviour, especially as 84% of internet users in South Africa access the internet through mobile, as stated in the #MobileRocks in review of Amps2013.

Understand mobile moments for true marketing magic

As marketers, Gardner suggests we do all we can to make consumers' lives better. Mobile moments are the next aspect, where we focus on the tech-savvy, empowered customers, as they make the decisions on how they interact with brands. Gardner speaks of 'journey mapping' as a way to determine how customers interact with your brand, such as the explanation video below.

It's about focusing on the moments before and after the purchase, based on who the customer is, their context and their motivation, and successful journey mapping is all about capturing the moments that make sense to your customer, keeping in mind that mobile is the most transformative device most consumers have ever had.

Gardner shared the below Tesco HomePlus South Korea example from 2011, which allowed customers to do virtual shopping while waiting in queues for transport, which took up so much of their time.

Gardner classified mobile moments into borrowed, loyalty and manufactured moments. Borrowed moments are the closest to traditional advertising, such as using Facebook and Twitter paid advertising to get to where consumers are, but you need to remember the customers' motivation and context are more important than the message here, to create engaging collateral that has the potential to be shared. Gardner says borrowed mobile moments pale in comparison to the next two types.

How to build lasting customer loyalty

Loyalty moments are ones you already possess as a brand, which provide the opportunity to solidify a customer experience. For example, you could go the route of US Bank, which allows its customers to deposit cheques by sending a photo of the front and back of the cheque to be deposited via the bank's mobile app:

Gardner added that this has attitudinal and behavioural loyalty implications too. The difference is that behavioural loyalty is based on the customer earning a reward - the danger is that once the reward disappears, so does the loyalty. Attitudinal earner is therefore stronger - it's earned by the brand, by creating an equity in the customer. Gardner says mobile is a great way to build this.

In discussing manufactured moments, Gardner spoke of the value of pushing your own brand as a helpful one, even if the answers you provide weren't designed by your own company - similar to the Michelin rating guide of the 1920s which has since been adopted as a marketing utility, which solves a problem and can provide something helpful, driven by the sheer volume of marketing messages consumers are exposed to.

To avoid your marketing message being seen as hot air, Gardner says to leap over this 'barrier' by establishing your brand as one that cares. App-ification and providing value through mobile are often the easiest path to do so, concluded Gardner.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.



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