There is a ton of discussion around having your digital strategy be “mobile first” or in emerging regions of the world, “mobile only”. In our view, neither term properly encapsulate what a traditional business should label its mobile or digital strategy.
A lot has changed since seven years ago when the first iPhone launched. While it certainly wasn’t the first smartphone phone, it was the first smartphone to redefine what a smartphone is (sorry Blackberry and Palm). When the first iPhone launched, mobile was a side project in a digital roadmap at best. The common strategy of the time was to have a mobile website (or “m-dot” nicknamed after the subdomain— many were standardizing around...e.g. “m.companydomain.com”). As the iPhone ushered in a new era of focus on mobile, to the point where Android and Windows platforms are tempting even this Apple/Jobs fanboy, traditional businesses seemed to be fascinated with making their strategy “mobile first”. Perhaps it's semantics but the term “mobile first” gives the impression that everything besides your mobile app, or responsive strategy, is a separate project, and begs the question, “What’s second?” (i.e. your website? smart TV?). It actually swings the pendulum in the other direction, and may mislead internal business partners to think that now the side project will be everything that isn’t a mobile app or mobile strategy, when in fact the intention was only to bring mobile into the center of the strategy.
Traditional businesses should continue to think of digital strategy as omni-channel, with a focus that is mobile centric... meaning that it is *likely* becoming the primary way that customers and users want to engage with your business (it’s still not the dominant channel yet, but we applaud that digital executives at traditional businesses are wanting to “skate where the puck will be, not where it is”). “Mobile centric” means you design an omni-channel experience that leverages mobile capabilities to enhance the entire experience, not just smartphone experience, through a mobile app or responsive website. While the traffic continues to shift to mobile devices, there will always be a place for devices that are less mobile (even tablets are more likely used in non-mobile situations, e.g. on your couch at night).We’d love your thoughts… please feel free to comment here or on any of our social media channels.