Challenges when thinking mobile

Smart phones are all the rage now. Increasingly consumers are upgrading their devices and subsequently getting introduced to more variety and utility. Marketers are however still playing catch-up as marketing budgets on mobile are still relatively small compared to other engagement channels. We cannot blame them though, as the spend per brand across board has reduced and there is a perpetual fight to defend the use of a particular channel, which often times is directly proportional to goods moved or service requests received.

The biggest issue that I see, is that the metrics that need to be measured are unknown and hence it is difficult to justify spend on mobile. In a differentiated market environment, not every action directed to the consumer needs to directly translate to movement of product. This is where mobile strategy comes in, with the creation of campaign objectives, determining what qualifies as campaign success, and identifying the tools to measure these results.

It took time for the internet to be assimilated into what has almost become a defacto engagement channel for marketers today. I am thrown back to the early days of internet in Kenya, where sites would carry notices that read – optimized for Internet Explorer, recommended resolution 800 by 600 and consistency of your presence could not be guaranteed beyond what it was built for. We must allow for the same sort of maturity and standardization to take effect in the mobile space.

Multiple operating systems, open and closed application stores, device fragmentation, poor understanding of consumer mobile habits and the “newness” of the channel beyond voice and messaging present the biggest challenges when thinking mobile.


However, on a bare minimum certain steps must be taken to ensure visibility and provide some semblance of measurement for brands looking to go mobile. Some questions that would guide your thinking are: Do you have a mobile presence?  Is your mobile property “discoverable”? What is the user experience like? Does it lead to repeat engagement? Does your touch point meet the purpose for which it was created? How is that interaction aligned to your larger strategy?


It will take the answering of the above and many other questions coupled with visible successes for businesses to deep dive into the mobile channel. There is no standard template that one can apply and each brand must know which questions to ask to guide their strategy process, which is why what worked for Brand X may not work for Brand Z.

That said; tinker and discover what works for your brand. As the channel matures, you will be glad you got a head start in understanding it.

An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.

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