Plot a strategy to reach mobile-device users

Posted on Written by Mary Elston
Mary Elston

BYOB has been around forever. Bring Your Own Beer or Bring Your Own Booze has long been a staple of potluck party planning. Now the “BYO” designation has a new cousin, and its primary focus goes far beyond drinking.

BYOD is here. What does the “D” stand for? If you have to ask, you know you’re behind. BYOD is “Bring Your Own Device” — mobile device, that is — the generic reference for the millions of mobile devices that allow everyone to do everything from anywhere through the use of smart phones or tablets.

Not interested? You’ll want to keep reading, anyway. Mobile devices are being used for split-second communication, anytime access to information, lightning-fast transactions and something else. They are the de facto standard for accessing knowledge and making purchasing decisions by a growing generation that includes the next big wave of boat buyers and water recreation enthusiasts. Now you’re interested!

As a manager who wants to grow your business and your bottom line, BYOD must be part of your revenue-building strategy. As Trade Only Today’s Bill Sisson said in a blog a few months ago, the baby boomer generation is graying and so is its long-term boat-buying impact. As this market segment ages and drifts away from the water, a younger generation of buyers and BYOD users must be courted.

According to CNET News columnist Don Reisinger (Feb. 14, 2012), Cisco Systems predicts that by 2016 there will be more than 8 billion handheld or “personal mobile-ready” devices operating globally. Also by 2016 60 percent of mobile users — 3 billion people worldwide — will belong to the “Gigabyte Club,” each generating more than 1 gigabyte of mobile data traffic a month, estimates Suraj Shetty, Cisco vice president of product and solutions marketing. “By contrast, in 2011, only one-half percent of mobile users qualified.”

With faster networks, nearly every transaction becomes portable (think browsing and buying boating stuff) and every experience can be instantly communicated (think sharing water recreation fun) through mobile device-based photos and videos.

As a marina, dealership or manufacturing manager, how do you attract younger boat buyers and approach mobile-device users as part of your growth strategy? While you’re at it, how do you turn BYOD enthusiasts into your newest surge of lifelong customers?

Learn preferences

Start building your strategy by asking them what they want. Approach your current customer base and friends and family of your young and more seasoned patrons. Look at what they like, what they want to know and how they want to shop and acquire information. Consider posting an online survey that comes with a drawing for discount coupons for service or water toys to encourage participation.

Take the data you gather and plot your course for using BYOD to bring youthful spending energy to your website and your storefront. Check your competition’s BYOD approach. Reach out to your trade association to see what data it has about this, as well. Don’t risk going it alone. Contact a Web consultant who has experience with online and mobile device marketing, as well as social networking (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) to ensure that your survey is anchored with the right questions and your mobile device approach is headed in the right direction.

What else do you need to consider and manage when putting your BYOD strategy into action? Once you’ve taken into account customer needs and preferences for using these devices, ponder how employee use of mobile devices can be buoyantly beneficial for whittling through workloads by enabling immediate access to business information.

The State of Mobility Survey 2012, conducted by Symantec, was shared In a Computerworld article on BYOD best practices by Thor Olavsrud (July 18, 2012). Fifty-nine percent of 6,275 respondents reported that their organizations are making line-of-business applications accessible from mobile devices and 71 percent said they’re looking into implementing a corporate “store” for mobile apps.

What’s more, companies that embrace mobile computing increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their work force. Symantec survey findings backed this result, with 73 percent of respondents expecting to increase efficiency with mobile computing and all of them realizing this outcome — not too shabby.

Make it easy

As you’re toggling together these mobile technology components, a crucial question to ask is: Are your mobile and Web-based options focused on ease of use by the consumer or by your employees?

You guessed it: If you said “employees,” that’s the wrong answer! Many companies large and small are finding that their Web interface for conducting business must be designed for easy customer use or else savvy, mobile-enabled consumers will quickly go elsewhere. Double-digit percentage losses in market share have been tied to not having this now essential, customer user-focused, Web-based business environment. This is particularly the case for competitive, high-volume, transaction-oriented companies whose product line and service options are accessible through the Web.

Now that you’ve welcomed mobile devices into your forward-thinking marine business approach, how should you start pushing your program out to customers? Start small and build in phases. Using the information gathered from your survey and other sources, tap into the recommendations of your Web and social networking consultant and begin with a pilot.

Your consultant will advise that your approach must be integrated. Website design, look and feel, plus Web store and related customer-service capabilities need to be unified. Layer on the mobile device play in your pilot program by pushing a new mobile app to your website and encouraging customers via email blast and other advertising to give it a try.

For grins, tack on a contest — such as offering a gift card or free service as a prize for the best smart phone boating video. At the same time, test the Web-surfing waters and the power of social networking. Blogging, tweeting and Facebook posting should be part of your ongoing integrated program for reaching your new younger market segment and keeping tech-oriented older customers likewise interested.

Begin making your mark on the cyber-airwaves with value-oriented blogs and fun YouTube videos of water skiing at the lake or paddle boarding on the river. Remember to continuously coordinate your social networking, blogging and Web presence for the best and biggest impact.

Knowing now what BYOD is all about, how will you pump up your BYOD muscle? An example of mobile app power plays includes a large grocery chain that enabled an app for customers to select online coupons before they go to the store and later apply those coupons from their smart phone or tablet when they check out.

Disney also did something super-cool with a mobile app that allows park visitors to plan their entire ride and attraction experience on their mobile device. The marketplace and your employees are in constant motion, and a strong mobile device approach will help you grab your share of the revenue moving with it.

Don’t miss out. As you design and manage your BYOD strategy, consider it to be a vital part of BYOS — Build Your Own Success.

Mary Elston has spent more than 20 years in management in the transportation, consulting and technology industries. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and author of the book, “Master Your Middle Management Universe, How to Succeed with Moga Moga Management Using 3 Easy Steps.” Contact her at mary@masteryoursuccess.com.

This article originally appeared in the December 2012 issue.

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