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Adopt a Lean Approach to Mobile Strategy

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As mobile has become the primary interface via which human beings experience an increasingly digitally optimized world, brands are being forced to adapt at an accelerated rate of change to create and maintain competitive advantage.

Increasing pressures from the executive suite force tactical decisions. Siloed efforts in mobile across rogue business units create unmanageable assets and unnecessary support issues. User demands accelerate by the day, forcing organizations to adopt reactionary tactics counter to corporate directives.

All of this mobility disruption to pre-existing models has created significant digital friction. Existing models for defining strategy are highly complex, time consuming, and based on methodologies designed for addressing an audience of stationary targets. The mobile experience is often initiated by moving targets and is defined not only by the message and the medium but also by the context of the user experience.

As a result, the complexity and associated analysis paralysis involved with developing strategies lead to organizational confusion and indecision. In this age of mobility, brands are faced with the dilemma of how best to manage ever-increasing complexities and prioritize efforts that add measurable value to the user and provide immediate impact for the business. The question is, more often than not, a fundamental one: Where do we start?

Lean Strategy: An Alternative to Existing Strategic Thinking

Successful strategies for mobility require a significant overhaul in approach. Success relies on quickly identifying and prioritizing mobility investments to create alignment and foster continuous innovation.

Brands need to gain clarity for mobile efforts. They need to stop thinking about large projects or big releases and embrace a decision-making framework executed in a series of short, informed, prioritized, and iterative cycles. A focus on deconstructing complexities is required to improve manageability, increase flexibility, and accelerate informed decisions measured by value to the user, value to the business, and ability to execute.

Systematically and intelligently prioritizing all of the initiatives proposed within and across lines of business poses considerable challenges. To simplify the prioritization process, focus needs to be on the identification and rapid formulation of informed project activation plans designed to quickly address mobility efforts.

When evaluated through the lenses of value to the user audience, value in alignment with business objectives, and organizational ability to execute, ideas transform into opportunities that take shape as highly valuable, immediately executable initiatives prioritized and poised for activation.

Agile Strategy Drives Actionable Insights and Informed Planning

When executed effectively, this lean framework approach to strategy should focus on three distinct yet interrelated steps designed to provide an informed road map to achieve more immediate success: investigation, formulation, and activation.

  • Investigation begins with an understanding of current trends in the marketplace as well as the competitive landscape facing the organization. This analysis should be evaluated against an audit of the brand's existing in-market mobile experiences. An understanding of user personas and their engagement journey, coupled with key stakeholders interviews within the organization, begins to form the key prioritization criteria of the value of a prospective effort to the user as well as its alignment with the objectives of the business.
  • Formulation involves exploration into existing current and future mobility efforts and harnessing market trends, mobile experiences audit, and competitive analysis to identify unconsidered opportunities. In addition, a high-level assessment of the organization's level of mobile maturity from the perspectives of people, process, and technology forms the basis for an understanding of the organization's ability to execute.
  • Activation combines all initiatives that have passed the litmus test of alignment with business strategy to be defined as opportunities. These opportunities should then be evaluated through the lenses of value to the user audience, value to the business, and organizational ability to execute to be assigned a prioritized ranking.

The prioritized opportunities deemed highest value form the basis for the lean activation plan, with the business case developed for the top initiatives, including cost and required resource models, technological dependencies, prospective ROI, and multi-phase road map for ongoing solution innovation.

Addressing the Need for Revised Strategic Models

Strategy is too often focused on technology, where the fascination with shiny objects often undermines the objectives of the organization. With mobility, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and the brand requires an understanding of the delicate balance between the art of possible and the art of pragmatism.

Adopting lean principles for strategy ensures that complexity, rigidity, and friction are replaced with simplicity, adaptability, and speed. Accelerating market demands can only be combated through accelerated road-mapping developed through actionable insights and informed planning.

Assuming the lead in driving innovation is the challenge ahead. Is your organization prepared for leadership?

Key Takeaways

  • Success relies on iteratively identifying and prioritizing mobility investments to create alignment and foster continuous innovation.
  • Embrace a lean strategy framework executed in a series of short, informed, prioritized and iterative cycles.
  • Adopting lean principles for strategy ensures that complexity, rigidity, and friction are replaced with simplicity, adaptability, and speed.

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Scott Forshay is a mobile strategist at Mutual Mobile. His expertise in devising, developing, and executing strategic mobile initiatives for industry-leading organizations focuses on the effective use of the mobile medium to enhance the mobile identities of brands.

Twitter @scottforshay

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  • by Luke Wed Oct 30, 2013 via mobile

    This is basically unreadable. It goes against everything I know about writing web content, everything this site recommends regarding writing web content, and certainly contradicts the title of the article. Is this a joke??

  • by Bart De Pelsmaeker Wed Oct 30, 2013 via web

    Hi Scott - great insights - and a very hands-on approach which helps to identify and prioritize campaigns and tactics in mobile. Super info, thank you. When working with customers, we find that in the important investigation and formulation steps, sometimes elements such as white papers and other long form materials are being overlooked despite their obvious importance in the path-to-market.
    Bart De Pelsmaeker
    CEO/CMO Readz : the new way to make content mobile

  • by Seshu Wed Oct 30, 2013 via web

    Excellent article. As a company that primarily works with small businesses, we have seen excellent results when investing on mobile strategies that includes marketing and customer engagement initiatives through which we collect actionable customer information. We believe that the mobile revolution is still at its infancy and there is a long road ahead in terms of using this unique platform that is tied to the customers hip.

  • by Sarah Bauer Wed Oct 30, 2013 via web

    You speak with great conviction, Scott. I'd be interested to see how an agile framework panned out in the small business landscape, where budgets and resources are limited.

    Thanks for the insights,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • by Gracious Store Wed Oct 30, 2013 via web

    Thanks for sharing your opinion on mobile strategy

  • by Jen Fri Nov 8, 2013 via web

    It is interesting seeing how "Lean" started first in manufacturing, and is now being adopted by information workers and agencies. We've seen lean planning gain momentum across our organization, and Lean UX take our teams by storm. Also agile marketing as a whole helps marketers that serve markets that move very fast to stay relevant, and not plan big campaigns for several quarters that quite frankly are dusty and outdated by the time they are launched.

  • by Jen Fri Nov 8, 2013 via web

    @luke Very strong opinions. Do you have a blog or contributed content on MarketingProfs too so in a more civil way we could learn more about your perspectives?

  • by Suparna Rao Thu Nov 28, 2013 via web

    Made for a good read !
    Mobile marketing campaigns, location based services, mobile coupons, mobile websites, an app targeted towards consumers..whatever their unique requirement is, it is key for businesses to quickly zero in on the need before starting any mobility initiatives.
    Suparna Rao
    Business Solution Analyst

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