The chances are you've just wrapped up year end appraisals for your team, selected your digital dream team and briefed them on your delivering the vision in 2017.
Maybe you've just been appraised, bagged that bonus, and nailed that promotion. Maybe you were over-looked, and your mind turns to finding a new job in the new year.
Whatever your personal scenario, there's a load of responsibility on marketers to navigate their businesses through another year of massive change and infinite choices. And there's pressure to keep a steady hand on our career paths and stay ahead of the pack. There's so much to gain by knowing the shortcuts to digital marketing success, and so much to lose being outflanked by more savvy competitors.
Shift behaviour, don't turn heads
One of my business mentors told me recently that a crucial skill which separates the fast track marketeers from the rest is to focus on what creates a long term shift in consumer behaviour, and to avoid being seduced by the latest innovations which get you the headlines and short lived limelight.
This brings to mind the difference between the bonfire which generates real heat and draws in the crowds, versus the fireworks which attract the crowds afar, but never last that long.
Back to the your digital plans for 2017. Where will you focus your efforts? For most of us the real focus is increasing sales rather than turning heads to our latest tech innovations. In its annual trends survey, Smart Insights asked members:
"Select one marketing activity that you think will give your business the biggest incremental uplift in leads and sales in 2017 (or your clients if you work for an agency or as a consultant)".
Here are the results, based on over 2,000 responses from marketers worldwide.
So what's the deal with mobile? For the first time in 3 years mobile has dropped from the top 3. I'd argue that mobile is more important that ever, though not as a stand alone channel. Check your Google Analytics and you will most likely spot a sharp increase in the proportion of mobile traffic.
Mobile is where you'll find the greatest opportunities to differentiate
The Mobile user experience is where you stand to differentiate most from the competition when it comes to your content strategy (#1), personalisation through data strategy (#2), marketing automation (#3), conversion rate optimization (#6), understanding Google's mobile index to improve your SEO (#8), leveraging mobile AdWords extensions for the best PPC results (#10). And all the other bars on the chart above.
I want to call out a vital point here on conversion rate optimization. We're seeing overwhelming proof that page load time has an immediate impact on site conversion.
Increasing page load by 1 second boosts conversion by 27%
This raises critical questions how to design mobile friendly sites. Responsive Web Design works ... to a point ... but leading mobile brands are looking at adaptive web design to make sure all the key check out components are optimised for mobile within a responsive web framework.
Single platform or multi-platform customer journeys?
It's time to revisit the long standing question "what is mobile?" and why does it deserve particular attention. Let's look at two customer journeys.
Journey 1 - booking a hotel room - mobile only customer journey
This one is easy. Travel operators see huge volumes of 'mobile only' traffic. The customer journey starts with mobile search, which triggers app download, where users browse hotel reviews and prices, and book. Straight forward user experience and site analytics tracking.
Journey 2 - buying a mortgage - multichannel customer journey
This one is more complex, and more common. Like so many B2B and B2C purchase decisions, buying a mortgage is a complex process, and requires a lot more consideration. Here's where we need to understand how customers use their PC, tablet and smartphone, and the role each plays across the customer journey.
A more realistic vision for mobile strategy in 2017 is treating it as part of a multiplatform or multichannel strategy. Buying a mortgage is likely to involve a PC (or tablet) where the user will use the mortgage calculator, read the T&Cs and run a comparison with other possible lenders. As this data from comScore shows - highlighted in Smart Insights' mobile marketing statistics research - the multiplatform ribbons for all countries are much broader than users who are mobile only or desktop only.
- Mobile should be integrated with your content, data, automation and search strategy
- Most customer journeys are multichannel, not mobile only
- Conversion Rate Optimisation isn't as simple as 'Responsive Web Design' - Adaptive components deliver better results
- Mobile presents the greatest opportunity to differentiate your business from the competition
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