by Jimmy Minichello
According to VentureBeat.com, 1.4 billion smartphones will be in use by the end of the year. By 2017, BusinessInsider.com reports the average mobile user will watch 10 hours of video, listen to 15 hours of music, make five video calls and download 15 apps each month.
More statistics: 70 percent of mobile searches are performed when the user is in close proximity to a desktop computer.
“Mobile is no longer an option to communicate,” said marketing and communications expert Jayson Schkloven, a senior vice president and partner at the Merritt Group.
“Businesses are moving swiftly into the mobile space and establishing a presence,” he said during the panel discussion, “Making the Move to Mobile,” hosted by PRSA-NCC, May 22 at the Navy Memorial. “If your organizations aren’t embracing it, they’re going to have to very soon.”
Other digital experts participating on the panel including Vinnie Schoenfelder, a principal at CapTech Ventures and Adam Stiska, director of digital and mobile strategies at Goodwill Industries International.
As the surge in Mobile Internet usage continues and organizations wrap their arms around mobile technologies, communicators attending the workshop were cautioned in having the appropriate personnel at the table when devising a practical and purposeful digital communications plan with respect to the mobile platform. “There’s nothing worse than bringing marketing folks to the table with a great idea and not including the IT guy,” said Schkloven. “Someone also needs to take ownership.”
“Do the needs assessment and take the time necessary to create a plan,” said Stiska, who warned not to try to do too much. “Otherwise, there will be compromises in the overall design. The most popular apps right now perform one function very well and there is a feel of simplicity behind it. End users are getting what they want.”
Additional suggestions offered by the panel included:
- Educate yourself with respect to the nuances of mobile usage: Just because a video works on your website, doesn’t mean it’ll work on a mobile device.
- Just like any marketing communications channel, establish best practices and guidelines and adhere to those guidelines.
- Helpful publications include Mashable.com, Slideshare.net and Smashing Magazine. Tap into trusted sources. Companies recommended for research purposes include Adobe, Eloqua and Marketo.
- Ask yourself, “What do I need to know?” Having a seat at the table will add value to the overall communications plan.
- In any discussion, be armed with data.
- Real estate on a phone is at a premium.
“Mobile is just a computer with more information,” said Schoenfelder. “Distinguish between content and content management. With a lot of effort being given in platforms chosen, the key to successful mobile computing is managing it effectively.”
Stiska agreed, adding, “A lot of capability with mobile can be frightening. With businesses moving swiftly into the mobile space, organizations need to figure our what they’re doing today and where they would like to be in the future.”
Thinking about the aspects of this emerging technology and how they translate into the mobile environment is a critical step to enhance brand awareness. “If you do it right, the user will have a positive experience in the palm of his or her hand wherever they are and create a rich, interactive experience wherever they go,” notes Schoenfelder.
Shonali Burke, ABC, president and CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc., moderated the panel discussion.