Mobile First or People First ?

“Mobile First” is a hot topic nowadays in marketing. Apps like UBER or WAZE are showing the world the power of mobile, not just because of the underlining need they seek to attend, but also because of the platform they use to deliver their services. It is obvious that mobile is the present and future of marketing. As a matter of fact, as you are reading this lines, the trends suggest that it is 55% more probable that you are visiting this blog post from a mobile device rather than from your laptop or desktop. By the end of 2013, mobile apps usage exceeded the time we spent on our PC’s (desktop or laptop), that’s incredible! Considering that the modern “mobile device” is no more than 10 years old.  (Source: CNN Money)

In simple words, “Mobile First” means that when thinking of any digital effort -for example designing a website- we consider how it will look/work/feel on a mobile device first. This has significant implications under the scope of marketing for many reasons: a revolution in direct marketing, geo-targeting, infinite data, point of sale influence, more control over the touch points, a social brand, etc.

Another interesting perspective about mobile marketing, is the one presented by David Sable in his AdAge article titled: “The Real World Isn’t Mobile-First — It’s People-First /Marketers Need to Build Experiences for Life, Not for Machines”. Where he makes a call for caution when thinking about mobile marketing and the penetration of apps. He states that people are looking for real life experiences, not digital; and that the use of mobile should be focused on reinforcing real-life experiences, not imitating them. He uses examples like Warby Parker, an e-commerce that made the journey from a digital front-store to a brick and mortar one.

Sable leaves us with what he calls “truths about mobile” and encourages us to think about each one of them:

  • Big data is a buzzword. Primal data helps us understand human behavior.
  • Marketing to people can never be reduced to algorithms. Humanity always surprises.
  • Real life takes place offline. Purposeful connection must be the beacon for convergence.
  • Understand Generation World. Focus on insights that will lead you to actionable ideas, whether or not they are digital.
  • And, beware of being driven by only new things. Let’s use insight to learn from human behavior, so we can build a future that is worthy of us.

I agree with the vision of Sable, for me it’s not a matter of design or interface; it’s a matter of the overall experience, the experience in front the screen and off it. We should be thinking about leveraging on mobile to create unique real-life experiences, not to exchange these with digital ones.




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