Marching Orders: The Time to Start a Mobile Strategy Is Now
With all eyes on Facebook as it readies for its monster IPO next month, the social media giant is reportedly struggling with its mobile strategy. Despite attracting some 420 million mobile users each month, Facebook’s mobile products are not “at the standard they could be,” writes Digiday’s Jack Marshall.
He cites other observers who share his view. “Their progress in mobile must be a thorn in their sides. It’s a huge missed opportunity so far,” states Gene Liebel, chief strategy offer at digital agency Huge. “They’ve done amazing things in terms of the overall service, but in mobile it’s the opposite. The apps are badly designed and badly written, which is really interesting considering the amazing engineers and understanding they have of user design there.”
Facebook’s purchase of Instagram in particular, suggests Marshall, is “an acknowledgement of its shortcomings in mobile,” while Liebel says it is “a desperate attempt…to get something right in mobile.”
This situation represents one of the major strategic challenges facing all technology firms (content creators too) in today’s billowing media ecosystem: not being on the right trajectory in the right channel at the right moment can leave firms in catch-up mode, misaligned or off the boat entirely.
Mobility is undeniably a strategic imperative. As Comscore points out in its “U.S. Digital Future in Focus 2012 report, “In 2011, the majority of all mobile phone owners consumed mobile media on their device, marking an important milestone in the evolution of mobile from primarily a communication device to a content consumption tool.”
Facebook, which undoubtedly will get its mobile act together soon enough, is not alone, for while mobile technology and devices continue to proliferate and surge ahead, corporate strategy overall has yet to catch up.
Forrester Research recently conducted its Q4 2011 Global Mobile Maturity Online Survey among executives in charge of their firms’ mobile strategies to learn how far organizations have progressed with mobile initiatives.
“Since 2010, fewer companies report not having a mobile strategy in place,” writes Forrester blogger Thomas Husson of the findings. “Between Q3 2010 and Q4 2011, the percentage of companies we interviewed that have no mobile strategy or are at the early stage of defining one has significantly decreased, from 57% to 31%.”
That’s the good news, with Forrestor concluding that, “C-level executives are increasingly in the driver’s seat, and mobile is moving away from a test-and-learn approach to fueling companies’ corporate goals.” Like Facebook, though, it appears that most firms are still coming to grips with the mobile playbook.
“However, the majority of companies face organizational issues and struggle to allocate the right resources for mobile and to measure the success of their mobile consumer initiatives,” Husson writes. These include lack of measurable business goals; limited investment, resources, and expertise; and cross-functional and cross-geographical complexities.
Much more on mobility next time—but don’t wait to get started.
Jeff Heilman covers business, marketing, law and travel for a range of custom and trade publications. Also an award-winning photographer and copywriter, he ghostwrote Courageous Counsel, a book on the history of women general counsel in the Fortune 500, published September 2011.