Today, scores of companies ranging from Apple to AT&T to Google are positioning themselves as mobile retailers and providing consumers with a seemingly bottomless well of plans and features. There’s no doubt that today’s mobile customers are enjoying the wide array of new options now available to them. After all, until now, consumers had somewhat limited choices when it came to making mobile buying decisions.
So, how can carriers rediscover the benefits of their former mobile monopoly and thrive in this new atmosphere? Let’s look at three steps:
Step No. 1: Embrace mobile’s inherent symbiotic nature
The first step is to embrace mobile’s inherent symbiotic nature. Though device manufacturers, carriers and publishers are all essentially competitors, no one player can truly deliver value or a complete mobile experience without enlisting the others.
For instance, publisher Google aims to offer handsets with its Android software stack but will be unable to successfully venture into this arena without the partnership of a carrier. Similarly, carrier AT&T seeks to move into the publisher space by developing mobile portals but cannot do so without a device OEM. And, in perhaps the most well-known example, device OEM Apple has positioned itself as a budding publisher thanks to its growing application store. But Apple cannot move forward without a carrier.
It is clear that until one player can clearly dominate all three of these key roles, the customer experience can only be delivered through cooperation and collaboration. Companies that understand and accept this reality are sure to be poised for success.
Step No. 2: Smart partnering
In light of the first step, the second step for success is smart partnering. While your company’s marketing messages should emphasize your unique strengths, your behind-the-scenes focus should be partnering to address your weaknesses. It all boils down to the “3 Fs”: Form, Functionality and Features-where does your company excel?
For Apple, their exterior focus has been on superior usability, aka form, while they have partnered with AT&T for network functionality. Meanwhile, the company’s strategy for growth has centered on creating an environment where anyone can create great content via its application store features.
Create a Consistent, Innovative Experience
Step No. 3: Create a consistent, innovative experience
Finally, the third success key is to create a consistent yet innovative experience. After all, consumer expectations are higher than ever; no longer is customer satisfaction based on simple factors such as network coverage, available handsets and price plans.
Instead, the customer experience is defined by device (features and functionality), network (speed and coverage) and content (format and richness). With this plethora of options literally at their fingertips, consumers seek reliability, convenience and innovation that meet their needs.
Consistency is also of vital importance-consumers have a notoriously short-term memory, and one bad experience can virtually wipe out a long record of great experiences. The good news is that by partnering to deliver the optimal customer experience, the combination of device-carrier-publisher can unlock a tremendous amount of data and information. Leveraging that data constructively is sure to open up a wealth of new experiences never previously imagined.
As we move toward this all-inclusive mind-set, it becomes clear that no single player can provide a singular experience that will win in the mind of the consumer. Instead, smart and savvy cooperation between the proper players is a sure conduit to delivery of a superior, holistic experience that will resonate in the mind and memory of the consumer. The ultimate end result? Increased loyalty to all players and a shared command of the customer experience.
Nahid Giga is VP of Sales and Business Development, Americas at mobilepeople. Nahid is responsible for mobilepeople’s sales, business development and strategic partnerships in North and South America. Nahid has extensive experience in mobile, advertising and local mobile search sectors including with global mobile operators, media companies and advertising publishers. Prior to joining mobilepeople, Nahid spent eight years with Amdocs in various senior roles including strategic development, marketing, sales and business development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.