How to Create an Internal Culture to Tackle Mobile


In previous posts, we’ve discussed tactics for selling your boss on mobile analytics & marketing, but what happens after he or she gives the go-ahead? Establishing a mobile-minded internal culture is critical to getting the most out of any mobile strategy. Without dedicated resources and deep understanding of how to tailor efforts to on-the-go consumers, your investments won’t see strong returns. In this post, we’ll outline what it takes to build a mobile-first culture and how it can impact growth.

Mobile First 

Shifting To A Mobile Mindset

As consumers, we are shifting to a complete reliance on our mobile devices. For answers to questions, solutions to problems, and ways to make life easier and better, even more so than in the age of internet adoption. And a large chunk of these benefits come with app usage. 

That means whether you like it or not, your brand is built up of consumers and employees who already have a mobile mindset. Sixty four percent of people with a smartphone and tablet expect a company to offer a mobile-friendly experience and 42% expect to find a mobile app (US Mobile Mind Shift Online Survey, Q3 2013). Fortunately, that’s a great environment to establish an internal culture to tackle mobile. 

But what’s unique about mobile? To start, hundreds of thousands of apps are competing every second for users’ attention, and that means your app must be compelling, relevant, and valuable from the first interaction. In the same way that customers can distinguish between a sarcastic sales rep and a caring one, mobile users know a good app backed by a mobile-minded brand from a “app for app’s sake” effort.

When 60% of mobile users who don’t return to an app in 7 days never come back, you need to nail it with the first interaction, and continue to add value as competing brands flood the app market. 

Not only do mobile users demand responsiveness, speed, and features that web and storefronts don’t deliver, but the methods for tracking usage are quite different. Trying to apply web success metrics to an app is like trying to read a book in the dark. Sure, you can make out some of the words, but the big themes are details are lost. Cookies and pageviews don’t exist in the mobile realm. Instead, users, sessions, and events become the KPIs. To appropriately track these metrics, you need a specialized platform, and dedicated resources to optimize the mobile experience to align with customer expectations. 



Recalibrating Your Organization

For you to dive headfirst into this new frontier, you’ll need to have clear messaging about the importance of mobile for your brand, and back that up with unique, value-adding app features to complement your web and physical brand presence. This will affect each element of your organization, from sales to engineering:

  • Sales: whether your business sells software or tee-shirts, encouraging the sales staff to promote mobile interaction is the most direct way to aid in user growth
  • Marketing: reaching consumers where they are on mobile devices comes down to mobile-specific ads, App Store optimization, and promotions on your website and in your stores to drive adoption
  • Engineering: more than just finding a guy or gal on craigslist to build a basic app, the mobile experience must be excellent from the first interaction, and will need to improve as user behavior develops
  • Customer Service: as we’ve seen with the trend of support-by-Twitter and other instant-service methods, offering customer interaction right in a consumer’s pocket can build positive brand equity
  • Administration: from the top down, business goals, budgets and messaging must be customized and portioned for mobile commerce and engagement


Crafting The Experience

With the right team and internal messaging established, you can turn your attention to the mobile experience. If you have an established brick and mortar customer experience, then visitors know what to expect in terms of employee interaction, product or service quality, and general atmosphere. The same goes for web. Besides changes and updates to the UI, most web visitors know what to expect with brand engagement online in terms of available information, design, look, and feel. 

It took blood, sweat, and tears (well, maybe not blood, but it feels like it) to develop these experiences, and your mobile app will need to offer unique value-adds to be a complement to web and storefront. Here are a couple can’t miss characteristics of a brand that “gets mobile”:

  • Mobile-specific content & offers
  • Mobile UI & feature iteration
  • App monetization
  • Usage data tracking
  • User engagement

Brands with storefront and/or web presences have the advantage of loyal customers who are ready to engage with the brand in new ways. Adding value to current users in the form of discounts and promotions, or ‘brand-flavored’ rewards is key. 

For example, if you’re a restaurant and have just released a new food truck service, creating an app that offers specials and notifications based on when the truck is nearby or at certain times during the day could lead to more engagement and revenue. As another layer, making a purchase at the food truck could unlock a discount at the physical restaurant, redeemable by a code in the app. This feeds the cycle of consumer interaction across all levels of your brand, and validates your commitment to mobile.   

These elements will thrill users and contribute tangible value to your brand. Throwing money at your app without understanding who will be engaging with it won’t make you any more successful than being restricted by a crackerjack budget. Similarly, even a good app can feel stale if it isn’t consistently updated to meet changing consumer demands. Putting in the time and effort will come across in the end user experience.

Understanding Mobile


Maintaining A Mobile-First Culture

Two things can starve an internal culture from mobile-mindedness: budget and backup. The first piece is pretty self-explanatory: if you don’t invest in a quality app product, a capable team, and a powerful analytics solution to inform necessary app improvements, your app will become stale, and users will leave in droves. 

The second element is perhaps even more important: if company leadership in each department doesn’t reinforce the importance of crafting a unique and complementary experience for mobile consumers, employees and customers alike will notice the impact on each finished product. 

Both monetary and resource investments will let consumers engage in new and exciting ways with your brand and will distinguish your mobile experience from the swell of lower quality apps in the market. So get to it!