September 9, 2013
In August 2013, Uber – a service that connects passengers in need of a ride to drivers with a few taps within their mobile phone app – was valued at $3.4B despite only $125M in projected revenue for 2013. They have raised $360M. Why is their valuation so high? Because they have transformed a customer experience through mobile and disrupted an industry ecosystem. Companies in Silicon Valley talk about “uber-izing” their customer experience. Uber has become an English verb.
Uber isn’t simply a mobile app. Their goal wasn’t to do something in mobile. Uber is a business that harnesses mobile technology and phones to deliver a phenomenal service. They used mobile to achieve a much bigger goal.
eBusiness and marketing professionals need to shift their thinking as well. Too many focus on mobile as a goal unto itself. They treat mobile as a project rather than an enabler of new services or, more broadly, new engagement models with customers.
Business professionals fund mobile as a project rather than as a product or core element of their infrastructure required to compete today and in the future. Sadly, among eBusiness professionals surveyed by Forrester, 56% spend $1M or less annually on mobile – barely enough for a mobile website and an entry-level mobile app.
The shift in thinking required begins with understanding the full impact that mobile can have on your business. mCommerce, for example, is not the big opportunity for most retailers. The big opportunity lies in influencing brick-and-mortar commerce by driving customers into your stores and getting them to buy more stuff.
For banks and insurance companies, it isn’t sales, but engagement and convenience. Convenience in banking in 1973 was defined by the branch being open Saturday mornings or drive-thru tellers with pneumatic tubes to deposit checks and get cash. Today, it’s using the camera on your mobile phone to take a video of multiple checks.
Mobile is no longer about shrinking or squeezing an experience designed for the PC onto a small screen. Companies can no longer afford to simply “check the box” with mobile. Mobile technology is disrupting every industry. To help shed insight into how business executives need to think differently about mobile and what Forrester is calling 'The Mobile Mind Shift', I recently sat down with Tom Pohlmann, Forrester’s Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer, and my colleague Ted Schadler to record a podcast. You can hear it in its entirety below (episode 1) or choose topic-sized cuts (episodes 2, 3, and 4).