By Invitation Only: Start thinking of the user as mobile
by Luke Mckend (@lmckend) Technology has provided new ways to reach consumers, new ways to provide services and new channels to communicate with customers, live, in real time. For brands, this means a myriad new ways to reach current and potential customers. It also means a whole new set of challenges to embrace.
The pace of change is fast, faster than development times can match. For brands, this means that taking years to develop an app, for example, results in the app being out of date before it’s even launched.
The move to mobile
Partly driving this rapid change has been the move to mobile. Africa isn’t a mobile-first continent — in many ways, it’s a mobile-only continent. Yet we still find ourselves thinking ‘desktop’ when we think of how people access the internet and use technology.
Brands are also now faced with a deluge of metrics — but are we measuring for the sake of measuring, and gathering data for the sake of data? Are we measuring what we can measure, or what we should measure?
All three examples imply a skill deficit. Knowledge gets redundant quickly. Skillsets need to change quickly. In the mobile world, we are not moving fast enough. What we develop needs to be mobile from the start.
We need to build a constant-learning culture. Brands end up outsourcing to third parties because they don’t have the skills inhouse. This also effectively means they’re outsourcing their IP and start losing skillsets that are critical in the changing business environment. Brands rather need to learn in partnership with the agencies they work with.
We also need to investigate and implement agile, fast development, rather than hopping from platform to platform. It’s time to lose the desktop as way to access the internet. We need to stop thinking of mobile as a device or delivery mechanism, and start thinking of the user as mobile. This requires a different set of skills. People move from device to device when reading/watching/listening, and we need to consider that in what and how we develop.
When it comes to metrics, we need to develop insights from the data points we have. Data itself is not an insight. We occupy a world of data-paralysis, where we are data-rich and insights-poor. We need to develop an insights culture to provide a basis for a more-mature data culture. We need to consider how we glean insights to better serve customers through the data we have, rather than collecting data for data’s sake.
If you can do that, you stand a chance of succeeding.
Luke Mckend (@lmckend) is country director of Google South Africa.
“Motive” is a by-invitation-only column on MarkLives.com. Contributors are picked by the editors but generally don’t form part of our regular columnist lineup, unless the topic is off-column.