A New Force To Change Your Habits

Mitch JoelPosted by

Mobile is critical. Be where the consumers are. Let’s be much more social.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard those words said in public. Most recently, I sat through a session where the Chief Marketing Office of a multi-national brand (and one that is ranked among the best in the world) was passionately motivating their team to think about how these connections are really happening. It was less about where this brand needed to be, and much more about how they – philosophically – approach all of their marketing. It made me smile from ear to ear. Sentiments like “being a digital leader,” and creating meaningful experiences beyond just advertising. Yes, all of the things that have kept me so energized and passionate about this industry for over twenty years (I’m not that old, I just started when I was very, very young ;)… but, then, the session was turned over to the floor for Q&A. This senior marketing team was invited to ask this CMO about anything and everything related to their business.

The next question really set things in a different direction.  

As much as this CMO believed their organization was doing everything to shift the marketing in the right direction, a senior brand leader pointed out that most of their online properties were not even close to mobile-friendly. Their sites were not responsive. They have very few mobile-native applications. That the brand is still, fundamentally, a browser-based, one direction (pushing out) platform that not only wasn’t mobile-first, but very poor at engaging and building any form of digital marketing relationship with their customers. What followed was one marketing professional after another picking apart the CMO’s positioning, against the reality of their current state of affairs. To sum this up: it’s hard to be the company that the CMO has defined without the tools to do it.

Is your recent-legacy holding you back? 

It’s not just this brand. It’s an everyday occurrence. Brands claim to know their consumers, and how to be leaders in connecting with them in digital channels, but the raw materials scream otherwise. From clunky Web-browser first websites to fuzzy images in email blasts, to massive gaps when you search for the brand online to taking days to respond back to consumers on social media. How many brands have knocked on the Mirum doors lately claiming that their digital media is being reported to them with the same spreadsheets as their traditional media spend, with almost as little depth? You don’t want to know the answer to that question.

This quick test will demonstrate just how strong your brand really is.

A few months ago, the staff at The New York Times got an interesting email from their management team. The staff was told that they would be temporarily blocking access inside their headquarters to the desktop version of The New York Times website. As with most brands, over half of their traffic (if not more) happens on mobile (and, don’t think for a second that this number is not going to grow and grow). Mobile isn’t a part of what The New York Times must do to adapt, it’s the main directive if they have any hope of remaining relevant to their readers and subscribers. Yes, this is just an experiment, but it’s one that you (and all of your fellow marketing peers) can do right now.

Go ahead, do it… I’ll wait for you.

How did you do? Really. How did you really do? Some sites are responsive… they just adapt to the screen, and it’s functional. Others are native. They were created with the mobile experience in mind. Here’s the thing: this isn’t a fad. This isn’t something that will go away any time soon. Being responsive just means that it’s workable. That your consumers can (kind of) do whatever they were doing online, while they’re on their smartphones and tablets. Is this really good enough? Consumers have been trained. Mobile is their primary device (PCs have been relegated to an accessory to mobile). This is less about “how mobile is your brand?” and much more about this: how customer-centric is your brand. If you don’t change your habits… as your consumers already have… what hope do you really have of staying relevant and competitive?

Here’s the thing: most brands are – simply – completely out of touch.