We were at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden last Thursday for the Figaro Digital Mobile Marketing Seminar, where we heard from CAKE, Code Computerlove, Laundrapp, UI Centric and Time Out. Here’s a quick debrief of the session
Addressing the Mobile Tracking Challenge in Another ‘Year of Mobile’
Ewan Darby – General Manager EMEA, CAKE
Marketers have been forecasting the ‘year of mobile’ for, well, years. For Ewan Darby at performance-based marketing agency CAKE, this has been and gone – if it ever happened. Thinking in these terms largely ignores what consumer behaviour is telling us: that mobile is already their main form of communication. In October this year, Amit Singhal of Google announced that the search engine now sees more searches from smartphone devices than from desktop computers.
“We’ve been great at proliferation of communication techniques,” says Ewan. “What we’ve been really bad at is developing anything that’s valuable.” It’s been nine years since Apple launched the first iPhone in June 2007 (it’s rumoured that the iPhone 7 will be released in 2016), but it’s consumer behaviour – not technology – that has changed most over this period. “To understand the value of mobile, we must first understand the customer journey en route to action.” Having a robust mobile tracking solution in place will enable you to see the ROI being generated across your various mobile activities and understand the value of your mobile marketing efforts.
Reducing the Risk of Mobile Development
Steve Peters – Digital Business Director, Code Computerlove
Dave Heath – Technical Director, Code Computerlove
When WAP mobile internet was first on the scene, it had some real constraints. It was entirely detached from the desktop screen. Each page had to be small in size. Load times were lengthy. But these limitations meant that marketers and designers needed to offer a highly-refined user experience in order to keep their users. The experience had to be mobile-focused, as it had no connection to desktop. It had to be straight to the point as it took so long to download a page. Mobile technology has become so forgiving, say Steve Peters and Dave Heath at Code Computerlove, that it allows us to abuse it and, quite often, these simple rules are forgotten.
Taking these rules into account, they offer some tips for reducing the risk of mobile development. First, consider the whole user experience, and think about how you can use digital to solve problems. Remove the risk by building it all on the same technology, with the same codebase, developer and data store etc. Second, go responsive in chunks – this way you can learn as you go, and reduce the risk of conversions dropping off. Next, present your team with problems, not solutions. Let your digital team innovate in the space rather than defining the solution. Test before, during and after, and keep in mind that the most effective solution may not be the most obvious. And listen to your customers as you innovate the product, letting their observations inform the process.
The Laundrapp Story So Far
Ed Relf – Co-founder and CEO, Laundrapp
Laundrapp is an on-demand laundry service launched last year by digital entrepreneur Ed Relf. Described as the ‘Uber for laundry’, Laundrapp operates from a smartphone app which consumers can use to outsource their laundry, dry cleaning and shoe repairs to local businesses, from wherever they are. “We’re taking a smartphone and turning it into a remote control for people’s laundry,” says Ed. Once a customer books a service from their smartphone, they get a laundry bag delivered to their door which is then taken away and processed. They are notified of a 10-minute window during which to expect their driver.
Whilst the technology controlling the algorithm around logistics, routing and tracking enables Laundrapp to create a highly convenient digital experience, customer service is still at the heart of the business. “No matter how smart we think we are, how quickly we can move or how good the technology we can build, this business makes or breaks based on the customer interaction on the doorstep.” And that’s because, when it comes to disrupting a practice as well-established as doing the laundry, “building trust and changing consumer behaviour – that soft and intangible part of a business – is quite a challenge”.
How We Rebuilt Time Out’s Digital Offering
Dan Ulzhoefer – CEO, UI Centric
Roman Tagoe – Head of Digital Content, Time Out
Time Out has a global presence spanning 107 cities and 38 countries. A much-loved publication since 1968, two years ago the brand decided to begin its digital transformation with the ambition of providing a unified experience to readers around the world. This presented something of a challenge for chosen digital agency UI Centric: how do you reinvent a print-focused, multilingual brand, with a vast quantity of location-specific content and an audience of vocal and dedicated users, into a digital form that users can access from anywhere and at any time? “We needed a global platform which would ensure that, whenever users came to Time Out, they got the same experience around the world,” says Time Out’s Roman Tagoe.
“We started by establishing the ‘as is’ position of the business,” says Dan Ulzhoefer at UI Centric. By engaging with internal and external customers, the team were able to establish any current issues, needs and requirements of the project – for example, how to cut through the mass of Time Out’s content to get users to the most relevant content for them. From there, they put together top-line UX goals and began crafting an approach. Rather than working individually as Time Out and UI Centric, the teams were fully embedded. Interactive prototypes – which allowed users to click through rather than just conceptualise abstract ideas – were created, providing invaluable user feedback that the team then used to develop the experience. This user testing underscored every stage of the process.
“When you’re talking about a rather large transformation, you’ve got to make sure you get it right. It’s about building solid foundations,” says Dan. “From solid foundations, you can start to innovate.”
With a strong digital offering now in place, Time Out have an experience that is as good, if not better, on mobile and tablet. The design templates are built to accommodate different weightings of content depending on what city a user is in, and the experience is image-led to make the most of the publication’s diverse content. “Some results from user testing have actually changed the way we produce content too,” says Roman. “As we develop our mobile strategy, we know that it’s immediate, bite size information that users want. User ratings and reviews are also important.”
Written by Estelle Hakner.