In the hyper-connected world we live in, it’s bewildering to see instances where brands activate lack-luster or even broken mobile experiences for their customers. The ultimate frustration though is when a company attempts to meet the minimum requirement of starting with a clean, mobile experience, but then links to other non-responsive digital properties to complete a task or continue a user’s journey. As an experience lead at an agency, settling for minimum requirements to accommodate mobile users is unacceptable. Every step throughout a customer’s journey should be tailored around a cohesive mobile experience, accentuating accessibility. As a runner, I think of it like starting a run on a smoothly paved surface, but then being forced to detour into a muddy path for most of my journey. No fun. Not happy.
One source of these issues may be caused by a gap in understanding the practical application of certain mobile-centric terms. Mobile experience buzzwords, such as “mobile-first” or “fluidly responsive,” carry value in today’s marketing and communications professionals. However, some people use these terms without truly knowing their meaning. It’s one thing to use the jargon in conversation. It’s quite different from knowing how to create these types of experiences for customers. This is where we see brands struggle the most – nice words, great intent, inspiring ideas, but referencing an incomplete strategy (or no strategy at all), resulting in bad execution, poor results, and little positive impact on key business outcomes.
The way consumers are accessing content is continually changing, and coupled with the refined expectations for personalized messaging, brands have to work much smarter to know how to connect with customers. The start-up community is a great example of those who are carving the path to more cohesive, tighter, cleaner and more customized mobile experiences. The opportunity of a blank slate allows these young brands to start fresh, with the ability to leverage the best technology and approaches. It’s not that more established brands are ignoring the needs of users, quite the contrary. The fact of the matter is that more established brands with an existing, legacy digital ecosystem have the arduous task of evolving from older technology. The tasks involved with migrating to contemporary platforms that enable enhanced mobile experiences are not only complex but can be extremely expensive.
The inability for older, more established brands to evolve at a quicker pace has given way to new companies, and these younger brands are capitalizing on a slower moving competitive landscape. Look at the insurance industry – newer brands, such as Lemonade and Oscar, have incorporated the latest interactive experiences to engage with users, through the context of smaller devices. It’s not that legacy brands do not provide mobile experiences; it comes back to my previous point – execution. Having users fill out a mobile responsive form, is still having users fill out a form. Incorporating an automated conversational-interface to help users complete tasks is where you see the execution evolution. While both Lemonade and Oscar take a unique approach to what they do, they are extremely user-centric and epitomize what it means to engage with users on the user’s terms.
There are many brands who provide incredible mobile experiences, but unfortunately, the threshold of tolerability is becoming much smaller. Consumer’s expectations will continue to grow higher. The tech landscape will continue to become more sophisticated. The quality of designing personalized experiences will continue to become more specific. Brands need to constantly remind themselves to challenge tradition and convention to ensure they are meeting the needs of their customers in all experiences, regardless of device.
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