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Reach, relevance and relationship

Monday, December 11, 2006


The ubiquitous mobile phone has transformed the way people communicate, and as the most carried item of personal technology, offers a channel for extending the reach of any organisation.  For the user it might also become the control hub for shifting actions constrained by time and place to somewhere and ‘somewhen’ more convenient.

So what do organisations need to do to address the opportunity to extend their reach, relevance and relationship?  Here is an outline mobile action plan to start the thinking and planning process.  

  • Build the mobile business case.  First look at the current business.  Mobile is not something to be regarded as separate or different, but to provide additional reach, adding value to existing channels, and a way to communicate with customers, suppliers and partners.  Think “remote extension” to something that’s already there, rather than creating something new.
  • Identify target customer segments.  The default reaction is to target the young adult and teenager mobile segment, who have been the most prolific and widespread users.  But there is a mass market with many separate communities of interest and different needs.  Address the ones most valuable to the specific mobile business proposition, not simply the early or most visible adopters.
  • Route to eyeball.  Discovery - given the idea and the target audience, how will they find out?  Establish a mobile identity or name and build it into all existing marketing communication plans to ensure that the message gets out.  Seek out specialised portals, directories and listings that may help in the process.  Work with the market players – operators, handset manufacturers, user experience aggregators – to get customer visibility.
  • Leverage existing expertise.  Most of the skills learned in the development of the Internet are transferable to the mobile channel, so when a mobile web site forms part of the plan, build on the open standards.  Principles and tools that worked for the fixed Internet such as existing web and content development skills will extend known brand names into the mobile domain.
  • Localise, Specialise, Personalise.  Do what is necessary to be relevant in the short mobile attention span.  Adapt content and services to the specific needs of mobile users, then take the next step of ensuring it is personalised as close to the individual as possible.
  • Build communities of interest.  Personalise to establish a point of contact and open a dialogue, and then broaden by creating groups, clubs and tribes who share a common interest.  Use viral communication tools, such as ‘send to a friend’ or ‘alerts’, to encourage and facilitate interaction between users and the web site.
  • Learning as part-payback.  Establish a mobile proposition, test with users, and learn.  In a rapidly changing market solutions evolve so learn by taking small steps rather than large ones or none at all.  A few who take giant leaps into the unknown may be lucky and not fail, but many who do nothing will be left behind.


  • Measure the other facets of return on investment.  If the aim is to use the mobile channel to sell specific products or services, then increased sales is the ultimate measure, but make sure to measure the total value including the peripheral effects of customer brand awareness, appreciation and influence.  Building relationships is a major benefit of mobile reach.