The website is dead, long live the website. In the Age of Mobile, designed by the emergence and spread of the smartphone, digital branding is more than a fancy website.
By 2020 there will be 6.1 billion mobile users, leading the mobile charge despite the rise of new mobile-based services. Multiple assets come into play to shape a compelling digital customer experience, and the website is just one piece of the puzzle.
According to the latest Mobility Report by Ericsson, by the end of this decade smartphones will account for 80 percent of all mobile data traffic. Some 70 percent of the entire world’s population will be using smartphones. This figures help you measure how critical mobile devices (smartwatch and wearables included) are becoming to how people communicate and connect with others and brands.
BEYOND THE WEBSITE
Not so long ago, digital assets basically revolved around a website made to show the brand identity and gather page views. In a rush, every company wanted to be online, without a reasonable understanding of what mobile really means. That ultimately led to digital for digital’s sake, with no vision or long term digital marketing plan.
Vanity was the keyword. The online presence was a mere showcase, with no feedback or two-way communication; the customer experience was optional and real engagement almost impossible. Until social networks and the smartphone came in to disrupt business and bring both customers and brands into the Age of Mobile. And Google changed the rules to bring the web in our hands.
Since then, we have witnessed a discrepancy in how people and organizations have faced the digital transformation: while customers go digital, embracing the mobile revolution and adopting smartphones as first screen, companies still struggle to think and act mobile-first, and even to adapt their website to the mobile friendly algorithm.
With clients empowered by technology, a pretty facade can’t hide the lack of tangible digital assets management. If you aim at encouraging real engagement and customer retention, you need to start from those 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions. And the website is not enough.
THE MOBILE SHIFT
The definition of digital experience already involves a multi-faceted digital customer journey, not necessarily starting from your website. The mobile and social shift has one huge consequence: markets become conversations, customers turn into stakeholders and companies transform into publishers.
Most frequently, the tipping point of the online experience is not the branded website. Customer-facing apps, search queries and advertising, blog posts, landing pages, social media, e-commerce: you need to preside over all pieces of content around the net to build your storytelling and deliver your promise.
Being true to yourself, in the mobile age, goes beyond a responsive website. It implies a continuous work on all channels to offer a complete, omni-channel experience across digital touch points. The user experience gets absorbed in the digital customer experience and mobile becomes the bridge to connect online and physical worlds.
CONTENT GOES MOBILE
All elements must be well-coordinated and all departments must work together to deliver the best experience possible. One missing piece and the result will be a bad customer experience. Technology is relevant to define the outline of this new omni-channel journey, but you will miss the point if you focus first on technology.
The best way to guide people across the conversion funnel is to offer distinctive content and fulfilling relations; your digital properties are just tools, not the purpose. High‑quality and relevant content marketing - verbal, video, visual - is a primary driver, fundamental for the customer experience to be interesting and ultimately cost-effective.
And your content should spread across all digital media. Marketers often distinguish between paid, earned, and owned media. Tools are different, the goal is the same: to generate awareness and engage customers with an amazing customer experience.
THE UNIFIED EXPERIENCE
It is now widely accepted that the experience will soon be the main brand differentiator, and the primary field of competitions for innovative companies. As a consequence, influence and control have shifted from technical IT departments: marketers will soon spend more than IT on technology innovation (Gartner).
Marketing, IT, employees, management, customer service, front and back office: truth is, all branches of the organization have - or should have - one objective. In the inbound methodology, this objective can be translated in the ‘Attract, Convert, Close, Delight’ process.
Why customer experience can't be lessen to a website? Because clients of the Age of the Customer want to be empowered, and demand that your company can be accessed anytime, anywhere from any device. You will be able to empower people only by matching these areas:
Technology -responsive website *and* customer-facing app, taking advantage of a native user experience, iBeacon, mobile payments, virtual reality, Internet of Things;
Content - personalized and tailored to specific buyer personas and buyer's journey stage);
- Context - every piece of content must be suitable for the specific context, so that data can align closely with customer needs;
Relations - even automation needs a human touch, because buying experiences are based on how customers feel they are being treated.
Online or offline, web pages or retail stores, it makes no difference. The customer wants to connect with a unified experience. Behind a compelling digital customer experience there are many different components, but what people see is the final picture.
Today, organizations come across the challenge of retaining their customers with a fully integrated system that goes far beyond the website. To offer the complete experience to every customer, on every screen, start by choosing the right partner that combines the best techniques of mobile, content, social and cloud.
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To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.