At the recent Business Marketers Association global conference in Chicago, Gary Briggs, CMO of Facebook, spoke on the process of turning the Titanic - shifting Facebook from a desktop social media service to a mobile-first brand.
Skipping a step
For the sake of brevity, let’s assume the following: mobile is where our clients need to go. I could go on and on regurgitating Gary’s impressive examples, facts and figures on why this is so, but I’ll spare you. The data are in. The global masses that marketers want and need to reach are in mobile unlike any other channel, ever. Take that for granted, and we’ll move on.
Facebook has made the jump, and now considers itself a mobile-first company, an app company. This wasn’t always true; they caught lightening in a bottle with their social media dominance, so it was often like trying to corner with an aircraft carrier to tear eyes away from the desktop. We remember early iPhone/Android versions of the Facebook app – abysmal. But they made the pivot. And Gary seems to think that we (our clients, and we as an agency marketing for them) can do it as well. In fact, we have to, because if we’re not doing it, our competitors are.
Brands in their hands
Now and in coming years, your mobile presence is your brand. That’s not in some sort of metaphysical, amorphous sense; no, your customer’s user experience at the point of your app, or your URL on their mobile device is beginning to define your brand. “Of all the other signals that you put out in the universe that relate to your business, today and years from now, the brand you represent through your mobile services will become the dominant message for your brand,” Gary said.
Bake it In
Perhaps the most salient, actionable advice, resulting in an ‘aha’ murmur over the crowd, was to “bake mobile into your brand.” Too often mobile is seen as an addendum, a bracketed-on team or department that exists as a portion of the business alongside social media, new features/software, etc. To be mobile first, Facebook realized they needed a mobile presence in every team. That means the software developers have to be part of the mobile team. The Ad Sales product development had to be part of the mobile team. Zuckerberg himself would cancel meetings if a new feature or design was presented to him in desktop format. That shook the business up, got people’s attention, and resulted in a total structural change that saw the mobile department dissolved as a single entity, instead absorbed by all other departments. Like Carol Anne in the Poltergeist house, the mobile mindset has to be everywhere and nowhere.
Targeting is another factor that can make or break a successful jump to mobile first mentality. When we look at the mobile data, we can be so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of consumers that we can forget to use the remarkable suite of technology we have to get down to the individual. For our major client groups, in metalworking and ag, we have some pretty specific personas that we can target by demographics, by geography, etc. So use these tools, and cater to your customer, not just anyone.
The corollary to this is that content marketing, our bread and butter at LoSasso, works so much better in a targeted environment. There are only a few hundred people in the world that would be interested in spline manufacturing with indexable tools vs. high speed steel hobs, so we have to go to them. Content marketing for B2B isn’t like consumer brands in this sense. We don’t need to cast a wide net when we have the fish-finding software to locate our targeted school.
Good enough, just isn’t
Gary also made important points on quality control that stand to reason. You can’t be mobile just to be mobile, the user experience is paramount, so you have to bring value while being fast enough to be practical on an in-the-moment device like a mobile smartphone. And being that a mobile experience reflects so heavily on a brand, we have to target functional and fast as our mobile experience’s descriptors, and avoid slow, clunky or useless.
Facebook had a lot of advantages at its fingertips, and still had trouble jerking the wheel into the mobile lane, so the pivot to a mobile-first mentality isn’t an easy thing to do. But the world over has a supercomputer, with access to our clients’ brands, in their pockets, and that includes those specific, targeted enclaves of agriculture parts buyers, bowling leaguers, or elevator aficionados. So there’s no reason not to creep into that Otter-Boxed Trojan Horse and be granted audience with our end consumers. They expect us to be there, after all.