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Statistics on the number of mobile users and mobile smartphone penetration are impressive and you have probably heard the general conclusion that “the travel industry should get mobile” one too many times.

Today, going mobile is indeed important and destinations as well as travel and tourism businesses can benefit a lot from the mobile channel. That said, mobile is challenging and there are many things that can go wrong.

The Iterative Mobile StrategyMany companies “go mobile” too quickly by releasing a mobile app or a mobile website, before considering how mobile fits within their overall strategy, goals or objectives. This ultimately leads to failure irrespective of the invested (and often significant) resources, time and money.

The key to being successful is to have a well-thought-out and thorough mobile strategy which helps to understand the unique strengths of the mobile medium and, more importantly, how you can harness its potential to your benefit.

This is why we decided to dedicate the first post in our “Going Mobile in 5 Weeks” series to developing an effective mobile strategy.

After working with destinations and tourism businesses, our team has developed an iterative mobile strategy approach that will help you reflect on your current goals and provide you the tools to achieve them.

It is important to understand that this approach is not linear. This means that once you specify the goals and activities in each stage, you should go back and revisit all of the stages. Each stage will contribute to better understand and define your overall approach. Once you go through the descriptions here, you can also DOWNLOAD OUR REFERENCE CARDS which will help you work quickly through the main activities alone or together with your team.

There are 6 main stages that you need to consider.

Goals and AnalysisGoals and Analysis 

In the first step, you need to define the purpose of mobile in your organisation. This will help you guide the budget and later identify internal efforts and timelines. Start by defining your goals (what do you want to get out of mobile?) and your objectives (how exactly are you going to achieve your goals?).

Is your primary aim to provide visitors with a two-way communication channel? To generate more leads, or to push offers and capture more sales? There is no right answer, but you need to consider your priorities.

Note that here you need to specify only the benefits for your company and not your customers. Goals like “Keep customers informed”, or “Provide information about services” are actually activities that you can carry out in order to satisfy the needs of your customers and should be reflected in the next stage. The identified goals should reflect the benefit for you and your company.

Once you identify your key goals, have a look at what competitors are doing. A suitable way to do this, is to carry out a competitive analysis benchmark. This is a rigorous, fast and effective approach which will help you understand how competitors achieve their goals, as well as current their strengths and weaknesses.

Mobile User ExperienceUnderstand Customers and User Experience

In order to achieve your goals, you need to keep your customers happy. This is why it is extremely important that you understand your current audience and what they want to get out of the mobile medium.

You can carry out user research, or use analytics data to understand the characteristics and needs of current or potential customers.  Are they using primarily iOS or Android? What are the primary age groups that visit your site? Are customers able to achieve their tasks effectively and efficiently?

At the end of this stage you should have a list of customer goals. For instance, a mobile goal could be to “Get information about special events while at a destination”.

Design of Mobile ProductsDesign and Content

Now you need to think about the content and functionality that will act together in synergy to satisfy both your goals and the needs of your customers.

If you have already developed products, think about the possible problems that might prevent you or your customers from reaching their goals. Is the right functionality available? Is content easy to understand and work with?

If you do not have mobile products developed, then you need to consider the goals to identify what is the content and functionality that you need. Do you need special functions, such as location-based tracking or push notifications? Consulting a developer or mobile user experience designer might help you in the process.

Implementation and DeliveryImplementation & Delivery

Choosing among a responsive design, mobile website, native, web or hybrid apps can be a daunting task. However, completing the steps in the previous stages will make it significantly easier to decide how you will deliver the content and functionality.

Revisit the goals of your customers. Do they need special functionality, such as location-based filtering of information? There are effective ways to implement this even if you go for a mobile website. Do you need push notifications and immersive features such as Augmented Reality? Then an app might be the best choice.

Mobile MarketingMarketing 

The mobile medium provides a direct communication channel with your customers. However, mobile marketing is about delivering a message at the right time and place.

At this stage, you need to select the right tools to promote your mobile offerings. Paid search, app discovery websites, newsletters and social media networks are some of the many available tools that you can use. When selecting the right approach(es) here, you also need to consider your audience once again. How would a mobile marketing campaign fit with your audience’s everyday lives and environment?

Mobile Performance TrackingPerformance Tracking 

We all know that tracking performance is essential, as it provides direct feedback on whether goals are achieved, and where things could be improved. The same is true for mobile.

Surprisingly, however, a report by Forrester Research (2013) identified that few eBusiness professionals have implemented or use a mobile analytics solution. Part of the problem lies in the fragmented nature of the mobile analytics landscape.

Nonetheless, identifying measures to track performance is essential. How will you measure mobile success? What are they key milestones for your mobile campaign? How will you know that you have achieved your goals that you set out with?

Mobile Strategy Reference CardsNow you can DOWNLOAD OUR REFERENCE CARDS and work through the different stages alone or together with your team to define or optimise your mobile strategy.

You can also have a look at the following useful resources and read further about:

- The Mobile Marketing Handbook

- Mobile User Experience

- Forrester's Shopping Guide to Mobile Analytics Vendors

Our team is always happy to help and listen should you have any feedback, suggestions or questions.

NEED FURTHER TRAINING? 

If you would like to learn more about the most effective approaches to design and prepare a mobile strategy, check out our Mobile Strategy and Content workshop.

NEED HELP WITH PREPARING A MOBILE STRATEGY? 

If you are not sure how to address all of the stages and prepare an effective mobile strategy quickly, contact us to discuss how we can help.

 

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