Those employing a content-based digital marketing strategy should continue to focus on the web and adaptive design for mobile devices rather than dilute their focus by developing for the apps marketplaces.
I am amazed by how much strategic planning and selling of "insights" is being done these days around mobile technology. Do enough of us really consider mobile such a mystery to support a cottage industry of mobile consultants? It is certainly not true that all of that activity is wasteful, but it is also not justified that the explosion of mobile technology engender such a vast feeling of unpreparedness. The way I see it, if you own a mobile device and are comfortable using it, you possess far more expertise about the platform than you give yourself credit for. If you use them, then you know them.
Of course, just like any other technology or expertise area, there are those who have more time and resources to dig deeper on matters than others, so if we have questions about how to better prepare strategically for the future as it looks through the small screens in our pockets, others probably have the informed answers we need. That is just fine—if you have the resources to invest in employing a research analyst or consultant to guide you through the mobile "space," more power to you. But if you do not have those resources, as I imagine is true of most reading this, then I want to encourage you to leverage what you already know. Take out your mobile device for a moment and ask yourself, what do you love about it? What works so well about it that it has become indispensable to you? What could be better about mobile experiences and how could you contribute to their improvement?
Mobile devices have proliferated to such an extent that with their virtually instant ubiquity has come the illusion of stability of the entire industry surrounding them. But it is better that we see the industry as a laboratory; its initial success and profitability, no matter how outstanding, is not yet reliable enough to establish a robust "theory" of mobile upon which our planning can rest assured. We are still figuring so many things out in such rapidly revolving cycles—how to make better devices, how to adapt content for them, repeat—that neither the device makers nor the content creators can afford to stop and take a breath. The situation is challenging, but not futile; I am certainly not going to advocate we all bury our heads in the sand and wait for stability. Being very much a believer in the immediately leverage-able, flexible power of the web, the point of view on mobile that I would like to share with you is unblushingly web and content focused. Hence the title; the mobile web is not a new thing, it is the same thing, just through a new screen.
I am going to explore in a bit more detail how mobile devices work and the role they play in our culture before weighing the pros and cons of app and web-focused approaches to mobile strategy. But first, I am happy to offer my overall opinion as it stands today in short: Those employing a content-based digital marketing strategy should continue to focus on the web and adaptive design for mobile devices rather than dilute their focus by developing for the apps marketplaces. I will spend the rest of this article defending this statement…