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62pc of businesses still treat mobile as a new technology: Forrester

Many businesses continue to treat mobile as just another channel, dooming them to failure because they are not taking advantage of the new revenue and service opportunities mobile provides, according to a new report from Forrester. 

In the report, Mobile Is Not A Channel, Forrester outlines its vision for how businesses can succeed in mobile, including opportunities that will take shape in 2015. The key takeaway is that marketers need to recognize how mobile creates opportunities in every channel and therefore should not be treated as just another channel. 

?Mobile is not a new technology in 2014, but 62 percent of eBusiness professionals still treat it as one,? said Julie Ask, San Francisco-based vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research as well as the lead author on the report. 

?Rather than leveraging mobile to do new things, they are still using mobile as a scaled-down version of the Web,? she said. ?EBusiness professionals must identify and attack the new revenue and service opportunities that mobile offers or risk undermining their ability to win, serve, and retain customers in their mobile moments.?

2015 opportunities
In 2015, there will be a number of opportunities to leverage emerging technologies to create new mobile minutes. 

For example, using mobile data, businesses can serve customers better. Businesses should look to leverage location data as well as data in Apple?s HealthKit, Google Fit or Microsoft Health to anticipate the needs or motivations of customers so they can serve up the right content. 

Businesses should also look to engage customers within third-party apps where they are spending a lot of their time. 

As the adoption of connected devices grows, businesses can reach consumers by customizing content based on context and offering just enough information for a customer to make a decision or a purchase. 

Interactive push notifications and app extensions offers simpler experiences than apps for more efficient exchanges with brands. To engage consumers, businesses can also make use of sounds and haptic signals. 

Spontaneous purchasing
Mobile is unique in that its impact is felt across all channels by generating new revenue, improving customer relationships and reducing costs. 

One of the characteristics that makes mobile unique include that it can drive spontaneous purchases, liberating buyers from stores and homes. As a result, flash sales that reach customers anywhere with targeting based on location, time of day and past behaviors work great here. 

Mobile can also influence significantly more revenue than mobile selling. Mobile can be used to drive consumers into stores and provide information such as ratings and reviews to help them make a decision. 

Additionally, mobile creates new paid service opportunities through a combination of rich contextual information and quick in-app purchases. Businesses can sell new digital services delivered on the phone such as coaching, feedback or analysis and also connect buyers to sellers of physical assets by tracking real-time supply and demand. 

Businesses can also leverage mobile to expand their potential audience with pay-as-you-go services that appeal to lower-income consumers, improve pricing sophistication through dynamic pricing to optimize profitability, increase pocket share with loyal customers by developing mobile apps for the best customers and enhance the ability of sales personnel to close a deal through tools on mobile phones and tablets. 

Customer life cycle
Mobile has the potential to influence customers throughout the six phases of the customer life cycle. However, to do so effectively, businesses must look for new opportunities to connect with during moments of mobile engagement. 

During the discovery phase, brands must manufacture moments to engage with potential customers. This could include offering tools to help manage some aspect of their lives or by reaching consumers on third-party apps they are engaging with on a regular basis. 

During the exploration phase, businesses can facilitate mobile sales moments by making mobile research easier to drive total sales, not just digital sales. 

During the buying phase, businesses must provide access to pricing and inventory to users have confidence to make a purchase, make checkout easy and secure and expose real-time availability of inventory. 

During the use phase, businesses can extend engagement through connect product moments. The idea is to help customers achieve their goals related to your product by engaging them through mobile apps. 

During the ask phase, mobile can help businesses save money and improve customer satisfaction during moments when they need service. 

Businesses can also drive engagement by enabling customer participation in social mobile moments. By facilitating a community of enthusiastic customers, businesses will benefit from crowdsourced content and brand affinity. 

Small steps
To prepare a business for the mobile mindset, companies should organize appropriately. Forrester recommends having a mobile steering committee, a center of excellence and an idea team. 

Businesses also need to budget sufficiently, with many planning to spend too little right now. Businesses also need to ensure they have the proper development resources available. 

?Big leaps forward in mobile are rare and often depend on unprecedented competitive pressures,? Ms. Ask said. ?EBusiness professionals should choose an approach that involves many small steps that allow them to fail fast, learn, and move forward productively rather than a strategy that risks everything on one big bet.?

Final Take?
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York