Mobile implementation for the holidays demands planning that blends old and new

By Jeff Hasen

Successful holiday mobile implementation planning begins before the seasons change, well in advance of any holiday festivities. Now is the time to assess what’s changed in 2016 and what remains the same.

This year’s mobile user is clearly watching more videos and chasing more Pokémon. These topics deserve to be part of any session when you are looking at options for fourth-quarter programs, along with lessons learned from 2015 and prior years.

First, let’s take a look at the two new headline-grabbing occurrences:

1. Mobile video engagement

It wasn’t very long ago that the global mobile leader for a Fortune 100 company asked me how the company should use mobile video beyond YouTube. I told him that through technological advances, personalization is not only possible, it’s imperative to think one-to-one with video. The “If you build it, will they watch?” question has been answered, with consumers around the world spending slightly under 20 minutes a day watching videos on smartphones and tablets.

Facebook has made a major push in 2016 to offer marketers additional mobile video ad opportunities and has provided best-practice tips that include the promotion of videos that show behind-the-scenes footage, product launches or customer stories to raise awareness. Others have given businesses more options, including Twitter, which recently increased its allotted video upload length from 30 seconds to 140 seconds.

2. Pokémon Go and augmented reality

Now on to the phenomenon of the summer, augmented reality app “Pokémon Go” seemed to be an overnight sensation, merging the physical world with the imaginary one as users tracked and found Pokémon out in the world. Given the success of the app — it became the most downloaded mobile game ever — marketers have been asked to duplicate this feat. They will surely have more luck cornering Pokémon in the real world.

What marketers can copy in the mobile implementation phase is the fun and social sharing aspects as well as the opportunity to augment reality. What will prove to be a challenge is recreating the leverage and authenticity behind the beloved franchise. Pokémon has 20 years of history and brand recognition and its name is broadly recognized in crowded app stores.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t go for it, but the reality is that by definition, phenomena are rare.

Lessons in mobile implementation

Now, let’s have a discussion of lessons that we have learned in the past few years:

  • Nothing replaces work-back schedules, especially when you are asking others in your organization to do their part. Timelines set expectations and enable businesses to hold people accountable.
  • It’s all about details and dependencies. The back-end stuff makes the front end work for your customers. Note and plan for milestone dates.
  • Part of a mobile marketer’s job is to educate colleagues so they see the wisdom in teaming up.
  • Regardless of the size of your business, it’s wise to be in a position to be nimble. The best plans anticipate and prepare for optimization. Think ahead of ways to enhance your program and other roads to take if your initiatives aren’t producing the anticipated results.
  • Build opt-in databases long before your customers and prospects get distracted by the season’s activities. Your calls to action should be designed in the mobile implementation and planning phase and be out months in advance.
  • Realize that it’s unrealistic (and even foolish) to rush an app if success is your goal. Pokémon aside, discovery by consumers doesn’t happen overnight, nor will awareness programs get your customers or prospects to immediately take notice.
  • Steer clear of “anticipointment” and ensure you can meet product demand. Align your efforts with back-end function leaders — communication is critical. It’s also important to ensure everyone has the same expectations.
  • Avoid surprises for your customer-facing personnel. Take the time to develop efficient training to deliver great experiences. Be certain that everyone in the organization knows the importance of the effort.

You would be smart to take note of Amazon’s approach to the crucial holiday selling season. Amazon determined that a mobile web page load slowdown of only one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year, so it built faster-loading pages. Last year, it recorded its biggest season in its two-decade history when it delivered more than 200 million packages. Amazon added 18 warehouse facilities compared to just the six it added last year in anticipation of more demand in 2016.

As the holidays steadily approach, it’s imperative to plan your path for mobile implementation success by analyzing mobile phenomena and user activity from the past year.

Written By

Jeff Hasen

Chief Marketing Officer, Mobile Strategist & Author of The Art of Mobile Persuasion

One of the leading strategists, evangelists, teachers, and voices in mobile, Jeff Hasen has counseled businesses of all sizes, enabling them to define their mobile strategy, establish or further their mobile product roadmap, and identify additional business growth opportunities. Through…

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