It's 2015, and your business needs to be mobile. Smartphones have seemingly taken over us humans, and thanks to Silicon Valley types that never sleep, the content beamed into these devices is becoming ever more sophisticated, targeted and abundant – you can't afford to miss out on the mobilization of your business.
A simple mobile assessment exercise could help you get started. The next time your team gathers around the boardroom table, make your mobile strategy a line item. Start by asking everyone to place all of their mobile devices, including feature phones, smartphones and tablets, on the table. My bet is that everyone will have at least one mobile device and some upwards of three. Identifying yourself as a mobile user should dispel the notion that mobile is somehow novel or restricted to a niche market. A quick extrapolation would suggest if you are mobile, your customers most likely are as well. Next, search your company's online presence from a smartphone, watch the facial expressions around you, if expressions are more akin to childbirth than they are to a child's face in a candy store – then you have work to do, your new line item needs immediate attention.
In support of such urgency take 5 minutes browsing the stats found @thinkwithgoogle The picture becomes clear.
Convinced that you should start to mobilize your business, where do you start? As always, begin with a thorough business analysis and the structuring of an operational strategy – the tools will follow. But to get you on your way, here are some beginning steps that will lead you to your mobile audience.
For most companies, going mobile isn't as daunting a task as it may first appear, visualize the process in two ways. First, it's simply the funneling of your established online brand and business onto smaller devices, and secondly, envision the added features and functions that you can offer your mobile customer that you couldn't offer them before on traditional screens.
To get you on your mobile way start with your website, your primary online business tool, one that you are familiar with in terms of content and objectives. View your company site on a smartphone, does it look like a miniature digital Rorschach test? Your site must absolutely look good and function on a smartphone. As Google warns, 6 in 10 will leave your mobile-UNfriendly site, and never return. A 'mobile-optimized' site used to be the term, now the standard is to develop a 'responsive' website. 'Responsive' refers to the fact that the content on your site will reconfigure itself according to the screen size it is being viewed on. (Note: Google now penalizes websites that are not mobile by ranking higher in organic searches sites that are mobile.)Native mobile applications (Apps) can be very effective in driving mobile business. Be sure to avoid an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach. Keep the objectives and functionality limited and focused. Make sure that using the app actually has unique-to-the-app content and added benefits to the user, with mobile actions being the primary focus, such as geolocation functions.
An emerging technology that is strictly about business mobility are beacons. Tony Danova, a Tech writer for Inside Business, describes beacons this way, "Beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware — small enough to attach to a wall or countertop — that use battery-friendly, low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet." It's a push technology that can send alerts and data to smart devices that are Bluetooth enabled and within a geofenced location. It has far-reaching applications in retail, payment solutions, wayfinding, and the list goes on. The downside is, overloading people with intrusive data. Beacon technology appears to be an advanced step in business mobility, but the truth is, the tech is pretty straight-forward, the cost to get into it is not that great, it's more a matter of determining if it's a mobile technology that could benefit your business or not. Adoption rate is also a consideration.
Social Media is not necessarily 'mobile', you can be social from a desktop. However, stats like this show the predominance of mobile access to social platforms, "Fully 91% of teens go online from mobile devices…" From a business perspective, let's look at the world's largest SM platform as an indicator of trends, 57% of Facebook advertising budgets are dedicated to mobile. Not long ago, Facebook's growth plateaued and a resurgence was hinging on their ability to grow their mobile advertising. Other SM platforms are in a similar position.
These are just a few areas in which you can focus on to get your business mobility in shape.
You should be on alert and understand that the mobile space is mature – and that to ignore the opportunities it opens up to your company could be highly beneficial to your competitors that act and mobilize.
So, do the mobile devices sitting on your boardroom table now look less like mere phones with cameras and email and more like a business growth opportunity?
Mainstreet Equity Corp. is a publicly-traded (TSX: MEQ) residential real estate company in Canada. Mainstreet currently owns and operates properties in Surrey, BC; New Westminster, BC; Abbotsford, BC; Calgary, AB; Cochrane, AB; Lethbridge, AB; Edmonton, AB; Fort Saskatchewan, AB; and Saskatoon, SK.
Mainstreet provides affordable, renovated apartment suites to Canadians, and is committed to creating real value without diluting shareholder interests.