Smartphones and tablets have changed the way many of us deal with the world. We now expect to find the things we want instantly at the moment we want them wherever we are.
However, few companies and organisations have a clue how to deal with this change in consumer behaviour.
That’s the basic idea behind The Mobile Mind Shift by Ted Schadler, Josh Bernoff and Julie Ask. All three authors are Forrester Research analysts.
Schadler, Bernoff and Ask argue the key battleground for business competition is that moment when a potential customer reaches for their phone or tablet to get what they want — immediately. If your company isn’t that at the mobile moment you’ve lost the sale to a rival.
So far, so good. Anyone who keeps up to date with technology could work this much out for themselves. The problem is how can companies get mobile right?
The authors argue this requires a completely new mind-set. It isn’t enough to commission someone to build a mobile app.
If you want to win business in the mobile moment you have to change the way you think about your customers and your relationship with them. You also need to put the right systems in place, not just technology but the people and processes too.
Schadler, Bernoff and Ask say much of this is counterintuitive, hence the book. There’s a lot of jargon in the book and while it’s not the easiest read, it is accessible. I like the way the authors pack it with case studies to illustrate key ideas. In that sense there is something for everyone.
Small business, big business
Being written by Americans, there’s an assumption the reader’s business is larger than most New Zealand businesses.
It’s one thing to find resources to put mobile systems in place when you’ve hundreds of employees and turnover a hundred million or more each year. It’s another thing entirely when you’re running a small New Zealand operation.
I sense a gap here for entrepreneurial types who can cobble suitable strategies together for smaller organisations.
Apparently only a minority of consumers live in the mobile moment. Forrester puts the number at around 22 percent of Americans — I suspect the New Zealand number is similar. However, that 22 percent is wealthier and is far more inclined to spend money than the other four fifths of the population.
The electronic version of The Mobile Mind Shift sells for US$5 at Amazon and a hardback version, which includes the electronic version, for around US$20. There’s also an audio version.