Brand errors on mobile: How to learn from the millennial experience

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

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A study from mobile-focused agency Ampersand Mobile has revealed almost half of consumers surveyed have been given a poor mobile experience by brands, with one in three either being irritated or moving elsewhere as a result.

The survey, which polled more than 2,000 UK adults, argues brands should not simply provide a ‘tick box’ approach to mobile, with the need more pressing than ever given the continued proliferation of millennials in the workforce.

To demonstrate this point, the study polled millennials on their general consumption habits. 70% of respondents aged 16 to 24 said they would miss the social aspect of mobile if they accidentally left their device at home, compared to 27% of those aged 55 to 64. More than half (52%) of millennials said mobile had changed their memory habits, in terms of remembering numbers and directions.

But as Jason Carter, IPG Mediabrands EMEA chief digital officer told this publication earlier this week, brands are far behind consumers when it comes to mobile.

“Brands that look at mobile as a campaign channel often treat [it] as just another part of their marketing mix with little or any care given to their users’ experience,” says Ampersand marketing strategist Diana Marian.

“The difference between brands that get mobile and those that don’t tends to be one of incentives,” she adds. “The more crucial it is for a brand to generate its ROI through mobile, the better it will be at engaging consumers through this channel.”

The golden ticket for brands on mobile is brand loyalty, which will in turn generate ROI. Marian argues building loyalty is no more challenging on mobile than other media, yet adds getting personalised communications right on such an intimate medium is “so much harder” to get right. “What do a brand’s customers really want and how do they want brands to speak to them on mobile?” says Marian. “A lot of brands are still in their experimental phases, learning how to use data insights and seamless delivery of brand experiences to surprise, delight, and charm their customers.”

For now, however, Marian sees one clear area of improvement for brands. “User experience is paramount on mobile and getting this bit wrong is the most costly to brands in the long run,” she says. “We recommend all our clients test their products with important user groups before going live and that they capture analytics to improve their product on an ongoing basis.”

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