A mobile-first approach is vital

Anupam Vasudev | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on July 31, 2017


It may be challenging initially, but investing money and effort in it will pay off

Today’s world is far more dynamic than what we knew of it a decade ago. The rate of change has been heightened, driven largely by the advent of information technology. Look at the penetration of mobile handset and data infrastructure in India alone. According to industry statistics, by the end of 2017, we are expected to have more than 730 million mobile phone users in our country and by 2021 India is slated to have 460 million smartphone users.

Our handsets have become an extension of ourselves. Consider this: According to a recent study released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and a major market research firm, nearly 77 per cent of urban users and 92 per cent of rural users consider mobile as the primary device to access the Internet. Mobile now represents two out of three minutes spent online. The growing dependence on mobile is now pushing businesses to treat mobile as a big piece in their marketing strategy. It is no longer just another channel for customer engagement, it has now become the ‘first channel of preference’ for brands.

‘Mobile-First’ is not a recent phenomenon; our global peers began working around this approach back in 2009. Fast forward this to the Indian market today. The businesses at large are now coming on to mobile because they realise that millennials who represent a giant size of the market are more digital-savvy than most of the brands today and they definitely are not easily sold to!

For marketers a ‘mobile-first’ journey may seem a bit challenging but if they invested well in it, it will help brands break through the chaos, register the business proposition in the customer’s mind and see it adding value to the brand’s health day in and day out.

So what has fundamentally changed with this mobile and data tsunami for businesses?

We are selling experiences, not products

As we become more real-time, brands are expected to be increasingly comfortable with tools and methods that draw in-depth analysis of real-time engagements, customer behaviour and their usage patterns. This doesn’t stop here. The ability to take all of the acquired wisdom from big data and analytics and make the brand-customer engagement more personalised is what truly differentiates your brand.

We are now ‘app’lifying

In the last 2-3 years we have seen a startling rise in mobile applications. It has matured into a platform in itself which every brand wants to own but not many know how to monetise. Marketers are now working on novel measurement metrics that will help them review their mobile app strategy with a refined qualitative lens. ‘How many people are on my app’ will no longer be sufficient information. Rather aspects such as ‘what keeps them hooked to the app’ will be the mystery every marketer will now solve.

Growing hunger for ‘bite-size’ content

The real test of every marketer has shifted from saying the right things to saying what really matters in around15-30 seconds! A shift that was bound to happen given the personality of millennials. Yes, they are impatient, impulsive and most importantly, their attention span is dipping at a pace unimaginable.

Big data is a thing of the past, we are talking ‘algorithms’ now

Everybody has the wealth of data now. Marketing experts are now spending enormous amounts creating their own algorithms to help their marketing efforts be more ‘creatively strategic’ than ever before.

While it is encouraging to see brands widely accept the ‘mobile-first’ marketing strategy, it is time we come together and embrace the uniqueness of the platform. There is a certain disconnect and below-par utilisation of mobile marketing’s potential. Not contextualising mobile ads, the frequency of irrelevant offers, and myopic vision of instant sales turnaround will only distance us from this audience. The future of mobile marketing lies in connecting the two for better results – faster turnaround time and becoming more relevant. It is another sphere where innovation will lead mobile to become a credible platform to advertise and consume content. Focusing on content gives a brand the competitive edge because mediums can be bought, owned or earned with time but the content remains unique and exclusive to the brand.

A successful mobile marketing strategy requires marketers to keep the customers and their desires at the top and tie back the business goals to it and not otherwise. The mobile platform may appear to be complex but a right mix of ‘customer first’ intent, a solid ‘context-based content strategy’ and an effective use of data and insights can really be the game-changer for your business.

Anupam Vasudev is Chief Marketing Officer, Aircel

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Published on July 31, 2017
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