Author Archives: Jaimy Szymanski

The mobile lock-screen: A new frontier in mobile customer experience innovation

This post originally appeared on Altimeter Group’s blog.

What if your smartphone’s lock screen could serve as more than a security barrier to your favorite apps, next phone call, or incoming texts? What if it could be the place where you receive the latest content from your favorite news sites, as well as a portal for connecting with your friends?

That’s the premise behind Locket, a lock screen app that allows its users to seamlessly access content tailored to their self-identified interests, directly on the locked screen of their phone. This means they can view and engage with content, without ever having to find and open an app.

Locket Screen Shot

Locket, which was named one of 2014’s best apps by Google, also allows for content curation and sharing directly from the lock screen. All of this is enabled through an intuitive, image-heavy interface that requires no additional app deeplinking to complete tasks. The content visuals are beautifully rendered, filling up the entire screen in a way that demands engagement. Its unintrusive advertising experience is as mobile CX-centric as it is attractive, seamlessly serving native mobile ads that are also targeted based on user interests.

Locket’s ultra-intuitive UX makes it a prime candidate for acquisition by social networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook, which are already beginning to play in the lock screen content arena (Facebook Home offers a snapshot of social content from the likes of Tumblr and Instagram) and news/content curation space (LinkedIn Pulse aggregates stories from handpicked sources). Both of these networks have work to do though in creating a simpler, more seamless mobile experience. This is where Locket excels.

Locket is also developing a new app called ScreenPop, which offers direct-from-lockscreen messaging capabilities within a UI that looks eerily similar to Snapchat. ScreenPop adds another layer of functionality to a user’s lock screen, making it even easier to complete common tasks such as taking and sharing a photo, with fewer taps, swipes, and inter-app navigation.

Locket’s quick jump into the mobile messaging space brings up the question: How long before existing applications also make the leap to lockscreen usability? And, how loyal does a user have to be to an app to assign it placement in the most easily accessible place on their smartphone?

Locket’s focus on custom content curation and ScreenPop’s shining messaging capabilities are solid catalysts for a new era of lock screen real estate development. It won’t be long before other companies follow suit and vye for this prime location (as many vendors already are in the home screen advertising arena). Luckily, Locket has really done its homework in researching its users’ mobile needs in order to offer a simple, easy to navigate, downright smooth user experience. This positions it as an excellent foundation for bigger players to build off when wider user adoption merits the need for swift lockscreen innovation.

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The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience Webinar: Your questions, answered

This post originally appeared on Altimeter Group’s blog.

Thank you to everyone who attended Altimeter Group’s webinar on Tuesday, “The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience.” Brian and I were thrilled and grateful to see people joining from around the world, ready to engage with us while we shared insights from our latest report on how companies are approaching customer-centric mobile strategy design. If you missed the webinar, or want to rewatch it, you can view the recording and slides here.

At the webinar’s close, we were able to answer a few questions from the audience, but didn’t have quite enough time to get to all the queries that came in throughout the presentation. You can find additional answers to the most popular question themes below. Please leave a comment if your question remains unanswered, and we’ll reach out as soon as we can.

What are the advantages of disadvantages of a mobile-only customer experience?
Advantages of a mobile-only customer experience are plenty. In our research, we found that, when companies focus on creating self-contained mobile experiences that center on customer needs, wants, pain points, and expectations, they’re rewarded with greater customer satisfaction. This increased satisfaction translates into higher Net Promoter Score (willingness to recommend), higher lifetime customer value, and lower customer churn rate. Additional benefits can be found in the figure below.

Mobile CX Results

Looking at the disadvantages, the chief drawback of creating a mobile-only customer experience is that many consumers have already learned that they need to use multiple channels to convert or complete an action. It is now an ingrained behavior that will take time (and, initially, additional resources) to change. Most companies unwittingly teach their customers that mobile is only part of the experience loop when they force channel-hopping and multi-screening. Eventually, these customers will recognize that they can again follow their mobile instincts and rely on one device, app, or mobile-optimized site to complete their entire journey. At that point, less resources will need to be spent on optimizing a cross-channel experience.

Is a multi-screen strategy still relevant for certain applications?
The short answer is, yes. Even customers who live a chiefly mobile lifestyle will undoubtedly need to switch between screens for reasons that can include context of engagement (e.g. when driving, it’s safer to use your vehicle’s “mobile” technology than look at your cellphone), screen size needs (e.g. it’s easier to edit photos on a laptop due to more screen space and greater mouse dexterity), or even portability (e.g. it’s more convenient to switch from your iPad to iPhone when going out to run errands). Companies should strive to create mobile-only experiences with the hopes that, in the process, they’ll end up with more intuitive, native experiences on each device that offer simplicity in navigation and robustness in feature set.

How do you see customer demographics, like age, affecting mobile strategy design?
Customer data is the key to unlocking how to design the most innovative, engaging mobile experiences. Although younger generations (aka “digital natives”) are statistically more apt to use their mobile devices throughout the day, more often, to complete more tasks, that doesn’t mean that older demographics should be ignored when designing and redesigning mobile experiences. Spend time learning about your customers through digging into the data: their purchase decisions, lifestyle studies, brand interactions, and mobile and digital channel behaviors. Use the questions below as an initial guide (additional examples from companies interviewed can be found in the report). From there, you’ll see that multiple personas with varying demographics would benefit from a more complete mobile experience.

Key Questions to Answer About Your Digital and Mobile Customers:

  • What touchpoints do they frequent during formulation, pre-commerce, commerce, and post-commerce? How often, and for how long?
  • How do they use each touchpoint during the purchase decision cycle (what action is completed at each step)?
  • What devices are used to take the customer from awareness through advocacy?
  • What uniquely defines our mobile customers?
  • What is different about their customer journey?
  • What are their expectations, what do they value, and how do they define success?
  • How are they influenced, and by whom? How and whom do they in turn influence?

What are companies doing to capture and build customer information based on interactions from mobile devices?
In our research, we uncovered that brands most often incorporate mobile customer data in two ways: known customers (via unique ID, like a loyalty program or other login) and unknown (those who are unidentifiable). For both categories, data such as mobile usage, engagement, time on app or mobile site, etc., are easily accessible data points that can be tied to each step of the ideal mobile experience. For known customers, brands are beginning to identify at what point during the purchase decision cycle customers use mobile, when they jump to another channel, and when/where they eventually convert to purchase. This information is key to support why each step of the ideal mobile experience is critical to keep customers on-channel and contained throughout brand engagement.

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Mobile-first customers and new content consumption habits are redefining journalism

Woman using her Mobile Phone in the street, night light environm

This post originally appeared on Altimeter Group’s blog.

As attention spans wane, listicles reign, and traditional journalism often gets left by the wayside for the shorter form content needs of mobile customers. When accessing information on-the-go, it’s critical for the content delivery experience to be intuitive to their screen, device, and application. Often times though, that’s still not enough to stand out from the noise.

Mobile-first customers are ushering in a new era of journalism, where content must not only inform up-to-the-minute, but also engage as part of an overall mobile experience that jives with their lifestyle to satisfy needs, solve problems, and deliver on increasingly high expectations.

Re-imagining mobile experiences and strategies with customers at the core is critical to connecting with them in relevant and innovative ways. As such, journalists must also follow suit with brands that are putting audience research front-and-center when strategizing how to better connect with customers (readers) throughout their mobile journey. Today, mobile audience persona development and journey mapping are equally as important as quality reporting and editorial calendaring.

In addition to delivering content in a user-friendly way within an app or mobile-optimized website, it’s also important to consider mobile opportunities that are tangential to the core content offering–such as social TV and gamification experiences. With mobile as “first screen” for many customers (especially during breaking news, live events, and sportscasts), connected social networking and gaming components often become the primary content offering, leaving traditional television news, events, and programming in the background.

This leaves a trove of untapped opportunity for journalists, publications, and media companies to pull in readers using these new tactics as part of a native, intuitive, and incentivized mobile content experience. In a recent conversation with Hicham Jorio, VP interactive media, from Excitem.TV, we discussed how these social and gaming experiences are becoming increasingly relevant and engaging for his clients’ consumers, as they’re designed around real customer data gathered over time, often through social identity log-in (i.e. Facebook Connect). They’re no longer looked at as promotions or sponsorships, but rather real content offerings that are supplements to traditional news and event coverage.

During last year’s Emmy’s, Jorio said Excitem.TV worked with the Television Academy to create a campaign that engaged fans around their Emmy winner predictions. Run through Facebook, the game allowed groups of friends to create ballots that predicted winners by each category, and share their wins (or, losses) live as the results were revealed on-air. The campaign was a perfect example of combining entertainment news with social TV and gamification components to result in highly engaged viewers that produced and shared content on behalf of the Television Academy.

Although the need for access to real-time reporting will never disappear, mobile customers are contributing to a new era of journalism that demands more from content and ad creators. The more that content can foster opportunities for interaction, sharing, and conversation, the greater potential to grow meaningful reader relationships that endure even the slowest of news days.

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Misunderstanding mobile creates fractured customer experiences

This post originally appeared in USA Today.

SAN FRANCISCO — Even with the advent of the smartphone as a “first screen,” companies are still unable to see past mobile as simply another marketing channel or the latest bright, shiny object, based on new research from Altimeter Group.

This leads to low budgets and staff allocation in support of mobile initiatives, as well as treating mobile as only part of the customer journey, not a self-contained experience in and of itself.

Mobile CX Cross ChannelSophisticated companies are only beginning to explore a more intuitive and native mobile-only approach as they evolve existing cross-channel and omni-channel strategies to fit with rising consumer expectations and increasingly mobile lifestyles.

In our report, “The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience,” my colleague Brian Solis and I explore how organizations can reach both mobile- and digital-first customers by focusing first on learning more about their frustrations, desires and behaviors specific to mobile.

We found strategists must use these insights to re-imagine the mobile-first customer journey as it could be, in order to move past treating mobile as a “bolt on” to existing digital initiatives.

Consumers are quickly learning to operate in a mobile-only world, with one-third of shoppers using mobile exclusively, and more than half considering mobile the most important resource in the purchase decision process.

Yet many brands force customers to shift between devices and hop channels when moving along the path to purchase. Some 90% of consumers move between devices to accomplish a goal, using an average of three different screen combinations each day .

This is caused by different groups managing disparate touchpoints internally, each with its own process, resources and metrics. Additionally, we found mobile customer experience investments are currently made around the context of engagement (where and when it will be used), requiring users to focus on specific device or app functionality to complete a task. When they require something outside of that unique scenario, they’re forced to turn to another screen or device to convert.

The result is an inconsistent customer experience at best and a lost customer to a competitor who gets it, at worst.

Leading organizations are those that focus on building mobile experiences that are both self-contained (beginning of journey to end) and also complementary to the digital customer journey at large. We spoke with more than 20 mobile strategists and executives from companies that included MasterCard, Zappos, Intuit and Starwood Hotels and Resorts, uncovering that mobile success lies in developing mobile and digital strategies individually, while also bringing them together to deliver a unified customer experience.

Once brands truly understand the digital customer experience and mobile’s role within it, they can begin to design for the experience customers want rather than solely what technology permits. This creates an entire shift in whom companies design for, what problems can be solved, and what results can be reached — including increased customer acquisition, retention, efficiency and more.

The key lies in looking deeper into customer insights, letting data analysis and predictive experience mapping take center stage. Customer behavior is the secret weapon to creating truly innovative mobile experiences that keep customers on-screen, on-device, onto conversion.

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How to formulate customer-centric mobile experiences of the future

This post originally appeared on Altimeter Group’s blog.

To create experiences that resonate with both mobile-first and digital-first customers, companies must learn more about consumer frustrations, expectations, and desires specific to each mobile device used.

In our recent report on mobile customer experience (CX), we explored how companies can move beyond being simply “mobile ready” or “mobile-optimized” and into a new standard of “mobile only.” Brands are only just beginning to focus on architecting mobile experiences that are both self-contained (beginning to end) and also complementary to the digital customer journey at large.

To do so takes a foundational understanding of customer behavior, garnered through research, at each step in the digital customer journey (DCJ). From there, organizations move toward re-imagining the mobile-first customer journey by defining a series of intended mobile experiences at each stage, for each device, that align with previously defined customer personas and supporting data.

We found that strategists find most success by beginning with a deep dive into the areas where customers already experience the brand on their devices, as these mobile moments are familiar. From there, they broaden their purview to each touchpoint throughout the DCJ, answering the following sample questions to guide the mobile experience design process:

Mobile CX questions

Once the mobile journey has been thoroughly mapped, organizations support each step with previously gathered customer data. Altimeter Group finds brands most often incorporate mobile customer data in two ways: known customers (via unique ID, like a loyalty program or other login) and unknown (those who are unidentifiable).

For both categories, data such as mobile usage, engagement, time on app or mobile site, etc., are easily accessible data points that can be tied to each step of the ideal mobile experience. For known customers, brands are beginning to identify at what point during the purchase decision cycle customers use mobile, when they jump to another channel, and when/where they eventually convert to purchase. This information is key to support why each step of the ideal mobile experience is critical to keep customers on-channel and contained throughout brand engagement.

By looking deeper into customer insights, beyond current behaviors and toward desired experiences, mobile strategies are quickly moved from misinformed to engaging. Let data analysis and predictive experience mapping take center stage, as they’re focused on the real driver of ROI: your customers.

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Brands risk irrelevancy when approaching mobile as second screen

This post originally appeared on Marketing Tech News.

Companies that focus on customer-centric mobile experiences will outpace those that lead with technology considerations, according to a recent report by Altimeter Group: The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience.

In our research, we found that mobile’s technological implications should remain considerations during the final stages of mobile strategising only, as they represent a means to an end, not the end in and of itself.

Two Smartphones Mobile Second Screen When brands lose sight of customer lifestyles, needs, and problems throughout their path to purchase, it leads to unwittingly optimising digital strategies for mobile in ways that don’t fit with rising expectations. This results in misinformed investments in cross-channel and multiscreen approaches that cause the very problem they’re solving for—channel-hopping consumers who are forced to visit multiple media to complete a task.

My colleague Brian Solis and I spoke with more than 20 companies that are approaching mobile from a customer-centric point-of-view, including Zappos, MasterCard, Intuit, Old Navy, and Citi. We uncovered that, as mobile positions itself as the customer’s true “first screen,” it is increasingly becoming the standard for hosting the customer journey.

Mobile investment’s catch 22

Unfortunately though, investments in mobile are lagging, as strategists struggle to prove mobile’s value among competing digital, marketing, customer experience, and IT priorities. It is a catch 22 as strategists try to make the case to prioritise investment in mobile: executives require results to approve funding, yet funding is required for processes and technologies to build the business case.

Additionally, we found that mobile is often positioned as a facet of digital marketing, which itself is part of a larger marketing division. This buries mobile in slow-moving bureaucracy, unable to nimbly adapt to shifting customer expectations.

When mobile is aligned with a single department, other groups must work in isolation, complicating or degrading the customer journey.

We found that a mobile working group is a powerful solution, acting as an internal lobbying organisation across multiple departments. This aids in showcasing mobile’s importance to leadership, as well as providing the manpower needed to consistently keep tabs on customer experiences and analyse related data.

For those digital strategists looking to make mobile a top priority in 2015, we advise following four key steps to creating customer-centric experiences:

1. Map the Mobile Customer Journey

Study the mobile customer journey as it exists today, including devices used, challenges, and opportunities within each. Delve into data specific to your mobile customers to define “day-in-the-life” mobile personas that inform customer-centric strategies.

2. Re-imagine the Mobile Customer Journey

Design a mobile-optimised journey, by device, to win each moment of truth. Experiment with strategies that both enhance and prevent channel hopping or multi screening, while also complementing other channels. Define a series of intended mobile experiences at each stage of the customer journey, aligning each with customer personas and related data.

3. Measure and Optimise

Define intended customer response and desired outcomes at each step in the mobile customer journey, by screen. Link back to business goals and shorter term KPIs to measure progress and optimise engagement in each moment of truth.

4. Create Alignment Through a Test-and-Learn Approach

Present customer findings, the newly minted mobile-first journey, and key business outcomes to the greater working team around mobile, digital, and CX. Run a test pilot of the roadmap to validate research and ideas and gain internal support.

Once strategists and executives embrace mobile customer experience at the core of strategy development, mobile reaches the company’s DNA level and is no longer treated as a “bolt-on” to existing digital initiatives.

The result is an ROI that moves beyond light engagement metrics like click-through rate (CTR) and app ratings, and into the realm of increased customer satisfaction, retention, recommendation, and—ultimately—customer lifetime value. Now, those are results that will turn any executive’s head.

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[New Research] The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience

Click Here to Download the Full Report from Altimeter Group

In the future, mobile will become the standard for hosting the customer journey, but most companies today struggle with achieving that vision.

That’s the key finding in Altimeter’s latest research report, “The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience.” Over the last five months, my colleague Brian Solis and I have spoken with a host of savvy digital leaders about their mobile strategies. We found that despite the necessity of creating mobile-only journeys for their connected customers, mobile is still grossly underfunded in most organizations. This leaves companies unprepared to meet a “mobile as ‘first screen’” reality and perpetuates mobile’s relegation to just another channel, a technology platform, or a portable version of the web. In turn, customers have no choice but to leave, in search of a better experience.

In order for their companies to survive and maintain relevancy, strategists and executives alike must rethink the role of mobile, particularly where and how it can become the primary channel of engagement for a connected consumer.

However, achieving that vision comes with its own set of problems. Here are some of the key hurdles we identified:

  • Companies struggle when competing in a tug-of-war between “digital first” and “mobile first” philosophies. Both are important, as customers are becoming more digital and mobile every day. As such, mobile and digital strategies must be developed individually, while also coming together to deliver a unified digital CX.
  • When different groups manage disparate touchpoints, it results in a lack of integration and continuity in the customer journey, forcing customers to view multiple screens between devices and hop channels. This leads to an inconsistent customer experience.
  • Companies focus too much on mobile’s technology, losing sight of what the intended customer experience should be. This causes misinformed investment, often in either reactive mobile optimization efforts or pouring resources into tangential digital channels in an effort to create a consistent cross-channel experience.
  • Mobile is most often positioned as a facet of digital marketing, itself part of a larger marketing division. This buries mobile in slow-moving bureaucracy, unable to nimbly adapt to shifting customer expectations.

Four Steps to Creating Mobile-First Customer Experiences
In our research, we found identified four concrete steps that marketing, customer experience, mobile, digital, and IT strategists can take to create mobile-first experiences that align with their customers’ inherently mobile lifestyles.

In order to create mobile experiences that meet mounting consumer expectations, strategists must begin by examining the existing customer journey. From there, they move on to architecting the desired mobile experience, continually measuring and optimizing it for success along the way. Finally, internal alignment is achieved once strategists have validated their mobile-first strategies by proving results.

Four Steps to Creating Mobile-First Customer Experiences


I look forward to continuing research around the evolving mobile customer experience landscape throughout 2015 and beyond. Because, if today’s organizations are clamoring to be “mobile-first,” and tomorrow’s goal is “mobile-only,” one can only question what new experience-driven strategies the future holds. The potential for companies to create truly innovative mobile experiences has never been greater nor more exciting.

Click Here to Download the Full Report from Altimeter Group

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Video Series: “Digital Stat Chat” Debut!

As a follow-up to Altimeter’s 2014 State of Digital Transformation report my colleague Brian Solis and I launched in July, I enlisted the help of Crazy Eyes Productions to create a new way of telling the data story. With that, the “Digital Stat Chat” video series was born. In the first episode, you’ll be introduced to half of the data from our report, with the second half coming next week. You can also access all graphics from the video on Altimeter Group’s Flickr page.

In the future, you can turn to Digital Stat Chat for my review and analysis of newly released data from Altimeter and other reputable sources. From social to mobile, disruptive tech to CX, you’ll find it all here.

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Altimeter Group + Facebook Report: Why Mobile is Essential for Brand Marketing

Digital Media, Mobile Time SpentCompanies that treat mobile as the “first screen” today will be better prepared for tomorrow’s consumers. Mobile is no longer a luxury; it’s table stakes for connecting with your digital customer. It enables right-time, real-time relevancy in brand messaging and promotion, opening up a world of possibilities to the savvy marketer who invests in understanding the mobile, and digital, customer journey.

Facebook commissioned Altimeter Group’s Rebecca Lieb, analyst, and I to explore the growth and evolution of mobile branding and advertising as viable means to reach customers in new ways, on their terms. You can read the report below, and check out Facebook’s interview with Rebecca on its news blog.

[1] comScore Major Mobile Milestones in May: Apps Now Drive Half of All Time Spent on Digital June 25, 2014. United States.

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New Research: Socially Engaged Companies Get More Leads, Attract Better Talent

It’s no corporate HR secret: the greater investment made into employees, the greater the ultimate reward back to the company. This has never been truer than today, when always-on employees are increasingly connected to companies via an array of social channels and expect to be greeted by an engaged employer offering valuable content.

Altimeter Group partnered with LinkedIn to look deeper into the impact of corporate social media on a company’s employees, its executives, and its bottom line. Specifically, we examined the results that 25 of the top socially engaged companies reap when cultivating an engaged presence on LinkedIn via content marketing, employee engagement, talent and recruitment, and sales efforts.

We found that companies that take advantage of their ability to reach employees on a deeper level are coming out on top:

1. Employee engagement on LinkedIn is most successful when championed by leadership, starting with active executives. Executives from the most socially engaged companies on LinkedIn are:

Socially Engaged Executives

2. This leads to employees feeling empowered and inspired at their jobs. Employees at companies that are among the top socially engaged in LinkedIn are:

Employees at Socially Engaged Companies

3. And, perhaps most importantly, the top socially engaged companies on LinkedIn reap benefits to the bottom line as well. These companies are:

Results of Socially Engaged CompaniesCheck out the full infographic on LinkedIn’s blog, and learn more about our study and the impact of relationship economics from my colleague, Brian Solis.


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