Monday, March 7, 2011

So the next “cool thing” is going mobile, right?

by Mark C. Anderson

You’re ready to build a mobile website, make your annual meeting into a mobile app and start repurposing some publications as mobile content/apps. You want to be at the mobile edge of cool.

Let’s acknowledge that the world is rapidly moving towards consuming content on mobile devices.

• 10 million tablets were sold in 2010

• 60 million tablets will be sold (worldwide) in 2011

• Smartphones are the fastest growing segment of US cell market

First, instead of being caught up in “ready, fire, aim” consider developing a thoughtful mobile strategy to guide your investments of dollars and staff. And to aid you in creating a strategy, gather some information about your members and constituents. If you don’t know the following, it might be a good idea to gather data so you understand your members’ mobile profiles.

• Numbers of your members who have smartphones (broken down into iPhones, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, other).

• What they use their smartphones for (e.g., email, texting, web surfing, travel support,connecting to server databases, connecting to cloud applications, etc.).

• How often they refer to their smartphones on a daily basis.

• How often they upgrade their smartphone and what causes them to upgrade and change.

• Whether they dock and synch their smartphones to a piece of hardware (e.g., laptop) or servers or both.

• What information they receive from your association now that they would like to get on an app designed for smartphones.

• How many have tablets and how many are planning on getting tablets within the next year.

You can’t get all the necessary information through a web-based survey tool, so plan on running some focus groups to understand how your members use and want to use their mobile devices.

When you have that information, you can then begin to make informed, knowledge-based decisions about the kind of information you want to push to mobile devices and when it’s okay to have that information on a mobile website and when you need a native app that runs on a particular platform (e.g., IOS, Android, etc.).

You’ll be able to master the mobile Tsunami if you understand hour your members use mobile devices and how they hope to have information pushed to their mobile devices through apps.

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