In my first post of the Mobile Sense Series, I highlighted the remarkable ‘Customer Experience’ as the biggest challenge and opportunity for the brands to grow market share and profitability. The Customer Experience index is calculated by three aspects: How effective the brand or product/service is at meeting the demand, how easy and enjoyable the experience is. For brands, accessibility and functionality play a major role in the mobile sense evolution and the brands need to have a comprehensive road map so they know strategically which one to invest more.
The second step is to gain a better understanding of the persona of the customers, their world views and behaviors with the mobile devices. Sophisticated segmentation and persona creation are the key success factor for this step. Based on these segmentation, the goal is to position your brand and design your products better than your competitors.
In recent years, design thinking is gaining popularity when approaching challenges, understanding customers, creating strategy and even designing products and services. Design thinking is introduced by d.School at Stanford, then made popular by Tim Brown at IDEO, and now applied to many projects by various strategists, designers, developers and marketers every day.
Its lean and fast cycle process helps strategist to ideate, prototype and then fail quickly to improve the idea and come up with innovative ways of doing the same thing by looking at the challenge from many different angles with a very swift pace. I will get into more details and present some real-life examples on this subject on my ‘social sense’ series.
First creative tool for persona building, strategy and brand positioning, that linguists use for many years, is the ‘semiotic square’ that can help you brainstorm the implications of your marketing and features to two opposing meanings/personas.
This is new for marketers, but it is an extremely helpful complimentary tool to understand the different types of consumers who are using your service. Here is one noteworthy example of ‘semiotic square for wine lovers’. This brilliant piece is prepared by Squarati, an Italian market research firm.
They have more examples here.
This is a complex tool and requires domain expertise on the category to benefit from it. Below you can find my best ‘guestimate’ for the retail shoppers to describe how it works, and how it can help your mobile strategy.
The key is to identify two contrary concepts initially.
For your category and industry, marketing research and customer interviews will assist you in determining those. For the retail shoppers, I started with the ‘loyalists’ (x) who only buy from a few brands, who don’t change their style frequently, more conservative type of shoppers. Then, as a contrary to ‘loyalists’, I identified the ‘fashinistas’ (y) who are not brand loyal, who can quickly change styles, follow the newest trends and popular items. Lower right part of the square is for (non x) that has to be contradicting with ‘loyalists’ – think of it as a black-white relationship. I identified that part as ‘bargain shoppers’ who have no brand loyalty, who can purchase from any brand as long as they can save money. Then, the final lower left quadrant is for non ‘fashinistas’, who are not following any trends, or loyal to any brands but buy products or services via impulses, quick decision makers, if and when they like something, they get it – ‘impulse buyers’.
Then considering all these different types of shoppers, I listed the features that they may need on a mobile shopping application. As you can see, depending on your positioning and which persona you want to attract to, you need a different set of features, marketing message, and even distinctive style to approach your target audience. Semiotic Square is a helpful tool to brainstorm and position their brands for marketers.
Once you identify your brand positioning and target audience, the next step in the strategy is to prioritize your product development. None of the brands have unlimited resources so building the strategy and execution requires a very well thought prioritization plan along with the road map.
Kano model is another very helpful tool for strategists and marketers to identify the delighters, satisfiers and dissatisfiers of each feature for the customers.
Kano model is used by UX strategists for a while and it is a simple tool that every marketer needs to have in their toolbox. Dissatifiers are the ‘must have’ features and if any of these features is missing, no matter what else happens, the customer will be dissatisfied with the experience – and if you have that feature, none of the customers will even recognize/appreciate it (think of it as ‘hot water’ in hotels, if you don’t have it, it is a disaster for the customer, if you have it, no one will talk about it).
Satisfiers are the features that the more you add the more customers will be pleased. (When the project management software Basecamp adds a new feature, all users including me get happy, the more the better – up to a point of course). Delighters are the key in this equation. They are the features that consumers don’t expect but would love it when they get it. (see below). To demonstrate how you can use Kano Model to improve your smart phone application, let’s think of a ‘lodging’ app: having a ‘fast check-in’ functionality inside your app is a ‘must have’ feature that almost all customers expect now a days. Providing the user the ability to add ‘feedbacks’ via the app during the stay and get two way communication, is something that would definitely help you get more recognition and happy customers. If you can surprise the customers who come in to the bar inside the hotel with customized offers (thanks to ibeacons), then I bet you’ll have some delighted customers who weren’t expecting such action.
The final post of the ‘mobile sense’ series will be about the mobile advertising platforms and the latest trends in mobile marketing.