As companies move into the mobile space, there is also a move to transfer existing systems and programs directly across to apps, or other mobile interfaces. Unfortunately the ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ rule doesn’t apply when migrating to mobile.
Copying and pasting existing systems may save costs up front, but generally leads to heartache and inefficient work systems in the long run.
With the expectation that most businesses should have a mobile presence, companies need to carefully consider how they will migrate. Whether it is a marketing campaign, ensuring a service that is available online is now on mobile, or enhancing an internal workflow process, thinking outside the box and considering the mobile experience will always work in your favour.
Loyalty on the go
A classic example of mobile transference is loyalty cards. In their heyday, everyone had a loyalty card and was ready to accrue points and snap up discounts and bargains. But as consumers became aware of how precious their personal data really is, the loyalty card waned, and is now often seen as a gimmick.
In the case of loyalty cards, moving from a plastic card to a mobile experience allows companies the opportunity to move with consumer perceptions and add value to a user’s experience.
With most loyalty cards, you simply scan and accrue points. To transfer this system to mobile would be pointless, as the process of unlocking your phone, opening an app and scanning the screen is less efficient and more time consuming than a plastic card. There are so many more innovative and engaging ways to add value to a user.
Via location services, consumers could collect points by just physically being in the store or by visiting five different stores in a chain. Shoppers could receive push notifications, too. Switching to mobile means you can also rethink the definition of loyalty.
Rather than thinking of loyalty as simply points, isn’t loyalty just a way for companies to collect more data and for consumers to obtain more rewards? To do this, what data do you need and how can you get it?
To simply ‘copy and paste’ would be an opportunity lost, and, in this case, would make the process more complicated and obtain no more outcomes than a simple plastic card.
To date, successful loyalty apps have been limited, and I would argue that that is because the right train of thought has not been applied when rolling on to mobile. The ‘don’t copy and paste’ mentality doesn’t just apply to loyalty cards, but nearly any system that is looking to transition to mobile.
Mobility in the workplace
Recently I worked with a company that wanted to cut down on paper used in-house. There was a lot of unnecessary filing being passed between many hands before being signed off. The company was keen to transfer to mobile but had little idea what to do.
The first thought was to scan each piece of paper and digitise it, making it available for access on works iPads. Consulting with the team, it became immediately clear that this was not the solution. If we simply copied and pasted the file across to the digital space, we were missing the bigger picture. Once again, this would make the process more complex and less practical than the original scenario.
The correct mobile solution allowed for a richer and more efficient solution that involved using phone functionalities such as GPS and camera to collect information, in addition to modifying the flow and steps to collect the data. From the rollout of this new system, we have guaranteed improved efficiency, less paper waste and improved profits within the company.
Mobile works for marketing too
The same thinking applies to marketers as well. While marketing executives are in no way expected to be mobile experts, applying the same thought process used in traditional advertising for mediums like print, television and web advertising gains little traction when applied to mobile marketing campaigns.
Rather than trying to generate brand awareness and engagements through eyeballs and click-through, a mobile solution needs to provide value to the customer. This doesn’t mean a gimmicky game involving the crushing of candy. It needs to provide a service that the user will come to, again and again, and in time, through app engagement, the building of true brand awareness.
For example, if a marketing company commissioned a game for a travel company that enabled you to travel from country to country, collecting points and experiencing common tourist attractions, you may play it for a few months (presuming it is a good game) before deleting it.
In this instance, they haven’t ‘copied and pasted’, but they also haven’t considered what value they can provide to the user. If the travel company was to think a little further and consider what potential travellers really need, whether it was a mini translation service in the app, or perhaps a map of every subway around the world, the likelihood is, if it’s a useful service, the user would keep the app, enabling your brand to maintain constant communication.
The reality is you are restricting yourself by putting traditional limits on your mobile solution. Mobile is a channel that is always open, whether it’s for brand awareness, marketing measures or improved workplace efficiency. If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars, take the opportunity to create something that will be meaningful to the user, and to your brand and business.
Paul Lin is CEO of Empirical Works, an enterprise mobility company that offers consulting services.