Digital Directions: 3 Keys to an Effective Mobile Strategy
Is the mobile platform the manna from the digital heavens that the Tribe of Publishing has been awaiting since the dawn of the digital age more than 20 years ago? Does the mobile platform allow us to profitably recast our mission as publishers with value and relevance? I would like to add my voice to the chorus chanting, emphatically, "maybe."
So what is so special about the mobile platform?
● Mobile as Uber-Medium: The mob- ile platform contains features of a variety of media, all rolled together: the portability of print, the social and economic transaction capabilities of online, the rich media experience of the multimedia world and the location awareness of GPS devices. We are limited only by our creativity.
● Market Perception of Salability: Mobile is not free. For a variety of fortuitous reasons, consumers don't believe that mobile content is free content, as they often do in the traditional Web world. Perhaps this is due to years of being nickel-and-dimed by wireless carriers. Whatever the cause, it is indisputably clear that it is possible to set and hold prices in the digital marketplace and create true, incremental revenue sources.
In their excitement, many publishing organizations have rushed forward to create their initial mobile offerings with little strategic planning: A great impetus exists to get apps out to the market as soon as possible; the strategic thinking can come later.
In a previous column, I lambasted what I saw as a herd-like mentality of publishers rushing into mobile apps. This is not a lack of faith on my part in the medium, nor a wish to be a damper on product experimentation, which I think can be valuable. My concern is that rushing into delivering a mobile app without developing a strategy to deliver real value can have negative effects for the publisher and the industry at large.