The mobile world has fully arrived. You've probably noticed an increased use of mobile apps like Uber and SnapChat. Every business has to deal with the mobile scenario now and it's not just that people are carrying cell phones around 24/7. It's because those phones aren't just phones--they're cameras, super computers, and live streaming broadcast transmitters as well. And people have them in their hands every time they are making a buying decision.
Randy Gage suggests that mobile is disrupting marketing more than newspapers, radio, direct mail, television, and the Internet all did--combined. In his latest book, Mad Genius, a self-proclaimed "manifesto for entrepreneurs," Gage paints some frightening, but exhilarating scenarios on how mobile apps just might blow up every business plan in the world today, including yours.
Here are Gage's suggestions for getting ahead of the mobile tidal wave.
1. Start devising a mobile plan today.
Many companies are still behind the curve in understanding how mobile will affect them. Gage insists everyone to start putting some resources into developing a plan to deal with it. "It doesn't matter what industry or profession you are in--if you haven't done some serious critical thinking about how smart phones will disrupt everything in your space, you better start now," says Gage.
2. Be transparent.
Mobile technology allows people to get the information they want, when they want and wherever they want it. Because of this, it is harder for companies to hide information and any attempt to do so could prove problematic. Gage warns against doing this, noting that companies should "be prepared to deal with that transparency. Instead of trying to escape the reality, embrace it. Businesses that provide true value have nothing to fear from this. Make sure you're one of them."
3. Know what customers are saying.
In addition to getting whatever they want whenever and wherever, customers can also say whatever they want about whomever whenever they please. Gage notes that companies must know what is being said about their company online and be ready to deal with it appropriate. "A bad report goes viral a whole lot quicker than a positive one," he notes. "Make sure you are monitoring your online reputation at all times, and respond immediately to negative posts."
4. Develop a killer app.
Gage warns that "businesses are also going to lose control, because a large percentage of the most popular apps will be produced by third parties, not the actual businesses who want to promote through them." Because of this it is crucial for companies create a product that consumers can easily comprehend and utilize. "The app you offer better give prospects a reason to go to you. As an example, there are many apps from airlines for their frequent flyers. But there are also lots of third party apps to help flyers get lower fares. But if my Delta app allows me to get through TSA pre-check, change my seat, check my elite status, and receive alerts in the event of a gate change or flight delay--I may decide the service is better than the possible discount."
5. Don't ignore Facebook.
With so many social media apps and websites, it is easy to get lost in how to develop a mobile strategy. Gage notes that Facebook is still king and should not be ignored. "With more than 800 million people a month accessing their site--and a huge percentage on them doing it on mobile--Facebook is poised to impact mobile behavior more than any other player in the space," he notes. "Facebook is already partnering with app developers for restaurant reservations, TV listings, and movie tickets. This is just the beginning, and with their captive audience, they can drive a lot of trends."
Gage is a big fan of Joel Comm, author of , so he invited him to contribute the two critical points about social media on mobile.
6. Watch for trends so you don't miss the boat.
The younger generation has been using Snapchat for several years, but recently there has been a greater adoption by brands such as Netflix, American Airlines, Marriott and others. "With the arrival of big brands, adults are embracing Snapchat in droves," says Internet pioneer Comm. "The ability to both share and consume brief stories which personalize the social experience even further is an irresistible proposition for content creators wanting to reach a new audience."
7. Use live video applications.
While live video streaming has been available online since 2008, the advent of video on-demand broadcast apps such as Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab.im have opened up doors of opportunity. "It's the perfect storm of increased broadband, mobile adoption and easy-to-use apps," says Comm. "2016 will find us moving from pioneer to early-adopter phase of . Brands and businesses that get on board now may have a leg up when the masses arrive."