This sponsored post is produced by Urban Airship.

Mobile is a dominant force for everyone involved in designing their customers’ experience — from marketing to operations to IT and finance. But while it’s not a new technology, most businesses still treat it that way. According to Forrester’s December 2014 report “Mobile is not a Channel”, most businesses are still executing in mobile as if it’s simply a scaled-down view of the Web — and failing to leverage mobile in new and more effective ways.

This approach severely limits the impact that mobile can have at many points across the user experience — from research to purchases to customer service. And this can be often boiled down to these four mistakes:

Mistake #1: Mobile websites and apps that lack compelling functionality

Early efforts to get into mobile have been focused on pushing big websites developed for laptop browsers to a much smaller screen. While navigating these sites and delving into details works on a large screen, doing the same on a mobile phone delivers a sub-par user experience and completely misses the context of mobile. The way consumers use mobile phones is geared toward quick glances rather than deep dives that require complex navigation and lengthy buy flows. Some apps are also developed simply as a different method of presenting the same web content and experience.

Compare this approach to mobile sites and apps built around highly specific and targeted flows for purchasing (retailers, hoteliers, airlines, venues) and retrieving important service-related information (flight data, shipping confirmations). These executions demonstrate a keen understanding of how mobile can support existing methods of revenue generation and customer service.

mobile-phone-8-xxlDig deeper: Get the Forrester Research Report, “Mobile is Not a Channel”, compliments of Urban Airship.

Mistake #2: A focus on mobile advertising at the expense of robust mobile engagement

Mobile is driving growth in digital marketing and advertising, poised to exceed all other forms of digital advertising in the coming two years. While marketers re-align budgets around acquisition through mobile, it’s critical to keep engagement in mind. Adequate budgeting and staffing will help you understand the best ways to use mobile to augment your entire customer experience, helping you retain visitors, promote mobile web users to mobile app customers, and keep engagement levels high.

Mistake #3: Mobile app engagement that lacks context and value

The most frequently used method for mobile app engagement is push notifications, and all too often, these are done as mass communications to all app users. But people don’t think about mobile notifications like they do email. Spam isn’t tolerated, and delivering imprecise messages will quickly drive people to uninstall your app.

However, methods of mobile messaging through apps have improved, as have the methods of profiling and targeting. Together, these give marketers the tools they need to communicate with customers at the right time and with the right message based on activities like purchases, service provisioning details, loyalty programs, and the like.

Mistake #4: Applying only traditional advertising and web metrics to mobile

Traditional measurements like audience reach, return visits, or time spent on website (or key pages) may apply to mobile, but other metrics may be more telling regarding mobile engagement. For instance, time spent in a mobile app may be a useful metric for certain types of apps — such as media or games — or certain actions, such as browsing reviews or pics of inventory. But it may be a negative if a lot of time is required to check for updates or revise reservations. In this case, more time spent is a negative. In addition, there are a number of at-a-glance interactions that can be handled through mobile notifications, serving a customer well while completely eliminating the need to open the app at all. Measuring these interactions can bring a wealth of new metrics about key methods of engagement.

eBusiness professionals must identify and attack the new revenue and service opportunities that mobile offers or risk undermining their ability to win, serve, and retain customers in their mobile moments. Bottom line, eBusiness professionals who treat mobile as just another channel will fail.

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